My interest was piqued by something Jake Adams left as a comment on my article about a political advertisement for an opponent of Joe Arpaio. He said:
We can beat Joe and his $4 million raised from birthers across the country.
$4 million dollars is a hell of a lot of money for a county sheriff’s race. All along, I’ve thought that the Maricopa County Cold Case Posse faux investigation of Barack Obama’s documents was all about revenge for the US Justice Department’s investigation of him and I speculated about financial gain through WorldNetDaily. I thought the investigation was bad politics at home and I never considered what a fantastic fundraising opportunity it might be nationally.
So where is Arpaio’s money coming from? Thanks to finance campaign disclosure laws in Arizona, candidates must report contributions of $25 or more, and the details are available at the County Recorder’s website. The $6.8 million dollar figure is the total contributions to date to the Arpaio campaign as of May 31, 2012, more precisely $6,864,685.68; $4 million is what Arpaio has left to spend.
The bulk of the quarter million dollars spent on the campaign in January – May went to the Phoenix-based Summit Consulting Group for, of all things, fundraising! Well done, Summit, well done!
Unfortunately for a researcher, the two campaign finance contributor reports total over 1,000 pages of scans of mixed computer-printed and hand-written documentation, not a data file. It is easy to see, however, that a large number of the contributions come from persons who describe their occupation as “retired” (the next largest category is “housewife”) and a large number come from out of state. $430 is the maximum amount an individual can contribute to a local election in Arizona. It’s hard to summarize numbers by scanning 1000 pages visually.
I quickly skimmed the most recent report (562) pages, but didn’t see any names I recognized; however, I didn’t see the vast majority of the names, and I don’t keep up with folks’ real names anyway.