AZ Maricopa County Sherriff Joe Arpaio Also Misuses State Funds To Pay His D.C Based Lawyer In DOJ Suit

Maricopa Country Sherriff Joe Arpaio, is known best known as anti-immigrant crusader, however increasingly he is being known as an elected official who misappropriated state funds for his own personal use.

A report from KPHO Phoenix Television Sarah Buduson shows that  Sheriff Arpaio's may be using state funds to pay his Washington D.C. based Lawyer:

Maricopa County officials say it is unclear how much Maricopa County taxpayers have spent on Washington, D.C., based lawyer representing Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Robert Driscoll is representing the sheriff in the U.S. Department of Justice's civil rights investigation.

What is clear is that this Washington D.C. based lawyer is expensive:

Invoices obtained by CBS 5 show MCSO has paid Ogletree Deakins hundreds of thousands of dollars for work related to DOJ investigation. CBS 5 obtained more than a dozen bills from June 2009 to May 2010.

In September 2009, one bill came to $156,570.18.In May 2010, MCSO paid the law firm $109,857.86.

Much like with the Maricopa County Sherriff's Office budget, it appears that there has been little oversight in how much the Arpaio has been able to utilize state funds:

CBS 5 asked L. Eric Dowell, ,a managing shareholder at Ogletree Deakins how much taxpayer money has been paid to Driscoll. Dowell said he didn't know.

The firm has bill Maricopa taxpayers $3.2 million during the last fiscal year.

This is in addition to the other $80 Million in state funds that the Sherriff's office blew on lavish vacations.

Yvonne Wingett of the Arizona Republic has more in her article Joe Arpaio's office misused up to $80 million, Maricopa County says:

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday was placed under budget restrictions by the Board of Supervisors after a new report detailed misspending that county budget officials said could be between $60 million and $80 million over five years.

Maricopa County is passing their information off to the federal government, who incidentally is already investigating Sherriff Arpaio for civil rights violations:

Supervisors will forward the county's research to the U.S. Attorney's Office for review. That office is conducting a separate abuse-of-power grand-jury probe of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, his employees and others. The U.S. Attorney's Office declined comment.

While some local politician's tried to defend Sherriff Arpaio, it has been difficult because while it is certain that money was misused, it is not clear exactly how much was misappropriated:

Sheriff's interim Chief Deputy Jerry Sheridan blamed many of the problems on an antiquated personnel system, but acknowledged the Sheriff's Office was not sure how much money from a restricted jail-tax fund was improperly used to pay for deputies to work in other areas of the agency. Misspending from that fund was one of the key complaints against the agency, because money from the fund may be used only for specific purposes. 

Many local political officers are also feeling the heat, as they had not provided the proper oversight for the dissemination of state funds:

County Manager David Smith acknowledged top county administrators were partly to blame because of a lack of strict oversight. Deputy County Manager Sandi Wilson, who oversees the county's $2.2 billion budget, said administrators for years have run the county on a "trust policy."

"We trust departments to do the right thing, to follow countywide policies, and then we verify that, to the extent we can, through audits," she said. "But even if we had audits, some of this wouldn't have been caught."