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Turning the tables: Investigating the Cold Case Posse

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Morgan Loew and the CBS 5 TV investigation team in Phoenix have been digging into the Cold Case Posse and the money trail. Tonight their story aired and it opens with a shocker:

After two years of denying he personally profited from the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office investigation into the validity of President Barack Obama’s birth certificate, the head of the sheriff’s Cold Case Posse [Mike Zullo] admitted to CBS 5 Investigates that he accepted a large monetary gift from one of the sources in the investigation.

If Zullo had been a real law enforcement officer and someone related to an investigation gave him $10,000 for his personal use, I think most people would call it a bribe. But then Mike Zullo is not a real law enforcement officer and he is not bound by any legal or ethical rules in his attempts to get some dirt on President Obama. The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office declined comment on whether they thought such a gift was proper.

The $10,000 came from someone whose name I didn’t immediately recognize, Bill Wolf, but it turns out that Wolf supplied not only money to Zullo, but was also a major source for investigative material. (Wolf was also a plaintiff in a 2011 lawsuit against Loretta Fuddy and the Hawaii Department of Health.) Zullo finally came clean about the money in a series of emails, linked from their story. Wolf is deceased, so we can’t ask him about any of this.

I thought the Morgan Loew story was very effective. Footage from the Joe Show corroborates Reilly’s claim on camera that this the birther investigation was all about getting campaign donations. It shows Zullo denying accepting money one day, and admitting it the next. It brings in the IRS loophole (what Reilly calls a “black hole’) that keeps their money off the books. It points out that even after Secretary of State Bennett authenticated the birth certificate, WorldNetDaily and the Cold Case Posse are still soliciting donations. For someone like me, the story had almost nothing new, but the report makes a strong case and this package on a major local news outlet must have appeared shocking to some folks in Phoenix.

Here’s the video:

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Arpaio’s millions

I now have a direct quote from Randy Murray, director and executive producer of the new feature documentary, The Joe Show, explaining the cryptic hint I made in my recent article, “’The Joe Show’ reaches the theater.” So here it is:

In the third act of our feature documentary, "The Joe Show," we show a series of events in the lead-up to the 2012 election, including a very entertaining sequence on the Birther issue and its impact on the Sheriff’s reelection efforts.  Without giving away too much, it is clear that the Sheriff’s decision to publicly pursue the legitimacy of President Obama’s birth certificate was designed to generate a major windfall for the campaign.  The Sheriff says, "You’ll get more money than you will know what to do with."  His campaign manager later says, "It has literally meant millions of dollars to his campaign."  While shooting portions of these segments, dollar amounts were casually talked about in my presence, giving me the impression that up to seven million dollars could have been attributed to the fundraising campaign tied to the Birther issue. These scenes add to the powerful "behind the curtain" experience of this film.

Randy Murray, Director, The Joe Show

This estimate is larger than the one from Jake Adams, campaign manager for Arpaio’s opponent in the 2012 election, Paul Penzone. Adams said in a comment here at Obama Conspiracy Theories:

We can beat Joe and his $4 million raised from birthers across the country.

That comment was made in July of 2012 when Arpaio’s reported total fundraising as of May 31 stood at $6.8 million. By the time the general election was over, total receipts by the Arpaio campaign had topped $8.4 million, according to official campaign disclosures.

It would seem to me that for any of these estimates to be possible, there must be some way to tie a particular donation to the birther issue. My question is whether there were any fundraising activities specifically targeting birthers, or promotional material mentioning the birther issue? How would someone go about targeting birthers (beyond advertising on birther web sites)? Are there birther email lists floating around?

“The Joe Show” reaches the theater

There will be several showings of The Joe Show, a documentary about Joe Arpaio, 10 years in the making, at the Harkins Arrowhead Fountains 18 Theater, 16046 N. Arrow Head Fountains Ctr. Dr, Peoria, AZ 85382, the week of October 3.

In the film, Arpaio is caught on tape justifying his birth certificate investigation by saying, “You’ll get more money [in campaign contributions] than you’ll know what to do with.”

Here is a brief clip from Randy Murray, the creator of The Joe Show.

This is one of those stories where I have an ethical dilemma. I have a 2nd hand report of how much money the film’s producer Randy Murray says “more than you’ll know what to do with” is. While the source is solid, it is devoid of context, and most importantly, I don’t know what Murray bases the number on. So for now, I will just leave a hint. [NSFW]

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Sheriff Joe’s universe may be shattering

It sucks to be Joe Arpaio this week.

imageFirst there is the Phoenix New Times story today (BANG!) by award-wining journalist Stephen Lemons, that opens up a big can of worms. It begins with some behind-the-scenes comments from Joe Arpaio suggesting that the birther investigation was motivated by fundraising, citing footage from a new film about Arpaio, The Joe Show, The New Times writes:

The most revealing part of Phoenix filmmaker Randy Murray’s recent documentary The Joe Show was a strategy meeting during Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s 2012 re-election campaign that included Arpaio, his top flack, Lisa Allen, Chief Deputy Jerry Sheridan, and campaign manager Chad Willems.

The group huddled in the back of a Fountain Hills restaurant to discuss how to spin Joe’s negatives — the misspending of more than $100 million, the deaths in the jails, the scores of millions in lawsuit payouts — for the public.

At some point, Arpaio’s “birther” investigation came up.  …

At the mere mention of the birther investigation and the future press event, Allen and Willems practically rolled their eyes.

Willems called the birther probe “nuts.”

Allen said the sheriff might as well go the press conference “in big ol’ clown shoes.”
Arpaio shrugged, literally.

“There ain’t gonna be no damage control,” Arpaio promised Willems. “You’ll get more money [in campaign contributions] than you’ll know what to do with.”

imageIt gets worse on that topic (read the New Times article), but we then are given some idea what the Universe-shattering investigation is all about. The Sheriff’s Office confirmed some kind of investigation was in the works, but not about the birth certificate. Informants tell the New Times that the investigation is about Eric Holder and federal judge G. Murray Snow, the one who is overseeing enforcement as a result of a lawsuit proving pervasive racial profiling within Arpaio’s Department. And then there is the Seattle scammer. Sources say that $100,000 has been paid to notorious con man Dennis Montgomery. When asked, both Arpaio and Montgomery declined to deny that they were working together.  You just have to read the thing to believe it.

Next there is the sad story of Maricopa County deputy Ramon Armendariz who appeared to be shaking down undocumented aliens.  He apparently committed suicide by hanging and cannot be questioned as to how widespread the misconduct was within the department, but perhaps these facts have a very different interpretation. Further, 900 hours of videos of traffic stops that were supposed to be turned over to the Court were found in his house. This story was widely reported by the national press. It certainly leaves a lot of questions and I’ll be interested to see how the story plays out.

And if that weren’t enough, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals released its decision on Monday, awarding $975,000 to former Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox in a lawsuit against Arpaio and other county officials for false arrest and prosecution, bringing the total to over $12 million for those cases.

Finally an investigation has uncovered evidence suggesting that Maricopa County Sheriffs Office personnel and equipment were involved in the production of Jerome Corsi and Mike Zullo’s for-profit eBook, A Question of Law Eligibility: A Law Enforcement Investigation into Barack Obama’s Birth Certificate and his Eligibility to be President. The book, copyrighted by Jerome Corsi and Mike Zullo drew initial criticism as some dollars rolled in to Mike Zullo for what many think should have been the property of the non-profit Cold Case Posse not for Zullo’s personal use. Zullo sidestepped that issue by claiming he gave the money to his church. Now the question is more difficult with County resources involved. This topic led me to review that book, and in the light of what we know now about the Obama birth certificate PDF file, it looks pretty bad. For details on this investigation, check out “MCSO Public Information Officer Brian Lee Helped Write ‘A Question of Eligibility’ eBook” at the RC Radio Blog.

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Sibley/Vogt revive old crock about Fuddy taking a bribe

Birther memes are immortal

imageButterdezillion, the fervent viewer of Hawaii state documents, went off on a tizzy last Spring over Loretta Fuddy’s state ethics financial disclosure forms, questioning a $50,000 amount of money that mysteriously appeared (according to her). Actually, the money just moved from one place on the balance sheet into another. There was a thread at the Free Republic, and I had a wonderfully alliterative article: “Fault found with Fuddy’s financial facts–fraud?” debunking the whole nonsense (thanks to the expert analysis of Butterfly Bilderberg).

An article of the Birther Creed is the immortality of the meme, and that well-debunked misreading of financial statements has come back under the auspices of Sibley/Vogt and their formerly sealed affidavit in the Washington State case, In re: Douglas Vogt (aka Vogt v. Obama) now before the Supreme Court (for a few more days). Sibley is reported to have disclosed to talk radio host Erik Rush, and that up and coming smear merchant Nathan Bickel gives us the transcript of what Sibley said.

Sibley gives further evidence that “forensic” does not mean what birthers think it does, saying:

additionally there’s some forensic accounting investigation of Loretta Fuddy’s personal finances which resulted in a disclosure that she received a substantial – I believe she received a $50,000.00 dollars in cash shortly after she verified the Obama’s birth certificate as being legitimate.

Birther forensic accounting is no better than their forensic document analysis, i.e., abysmally inept.

Taitz highlights Cold Case Posse inaction

In a new title on the Orly Taitz web site:

March 6, 2014, still no “Universe shattering” evidence which was promissed (sic) to be released in March of 2014 by Sheriff Arpaio and CCP director Mike Zullo after two and a half years of heavy fundraising for investigation. Demand from Arpaio and Zullo immediate release of evidence, if any, so Attorney Orly Taitz can submit it to judges in ongoing cases in MD, MS, DC and CA

Taitz published a comment [link to Taitz web site] from Brian Reilly who was instrumental in the original dealings between the Surprise Arizona Tea Party and Sheriff Joe Arpaio. According to WorldNetDaily, Reilly was the one who came up with the idea of approaching Arpaio after being impressed by a presentation to the Tea Party group by Jerome Corsi. In this comment Reilly says that the Posse is “using Internet radio talk show hosts to tease the public with the childish approach, ‘I know something you don’t know.’” Reilly also questioned the withholding of the Reed Hayes report.

Taitz and Zullo are natural enemies since they fight for the same birther PayPal dollars. Taitz highlights this (well I highlighted it, but …), and Reilly mentions in passing, “all of the financial donations that we have given to the non-profit Cold Case Posse.”

I characterize both Taitz and Reilly as saying to Zullo and his posse, “put up or shut up.” My own view is that they should just shut up because they are wrong, and no amount of additional time can change that.