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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.

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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“I’m not a cop”

That’s what one Sun City posse member says in this video clip from “The Joe Show.” One of the most important jobs of the Sun City Posse is to check on peoples’ houses while they are on vacation.

I check the front door to make sure it’s locked. I rig the doorbell to make sure nobody’s home. I try the garage doors. If I find anything wrong, if I find a door open, if I find a broken window, anything that looks suspicious, I’m out of there. I’m not a cop.

Arpaio had no evidence, former Deputy Chief says

In an interview, former Deputy Chief of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, Brian Sands, told CBS 5 in Phoenix:

… the investigation never uncovered any evidence that the president’s birth certificate was a fake, despite what the sheriff said in front of the cameras.

Oh, the birthers! Oh, the weeping and gnashing of teeth!

Sands also said that Arpaio felt the investigation was “politically powerful for him,” in line with Arpaio’s remarks caught on camera and appearing in the new documentary, The Joe Show, that the birther investigation would bring in large campaign contributions.

Former Deputy Chief Sands also has an eBook about his experiences with Joe Arpaio and the MCSO. Lisa Allen, the director of media relations for the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, criticized Sands’ book for its numerous spelling errors.

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?