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Posse Gate

I’ve focused on financial questions about the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Cold Case Posse. They are a private non-profit,  tax-exempt corporation, and their finances remain shrouded in mystery with no reporting to the Sheriff’s Office, the State of Arizona or the IRS.

We’ve learned that there are 3,000 members of  Sheriff Joe’s various posses. Exactly what that association is remains murky, and it appears that they are either independent or closely associated depending on whatever is convenient in a particular situation. When it comes to emphasizing the authority of the Cold Case Posse, they are hand-in-glove with Sheriff Arpaio, but when it comes to financial oversight, they are totally independent.

I’m sure some of the MCSO posses do great work in search and rescue, and are a credit to their community. On the other hand, the financial shenanigans and lack of transparency I’ve found with the Cold Case Posse are not unique, nor are they new. For example:

Undie-Gate (1996-1998)

imageYou may have heard that Arpaio made inmates wear pink underwear, but did you know that his posses sold souvenir versions, the proceeds from which were hidden from the public? A Superior Court Judge said that because they were independent, Arizona’s open records law did not apply to them and they didn’t have to explain where the money went. Read the story at the Phoenix New Times: