Arizona Republicans are screaming about taxpayers having to pay county officials for their “pain and suffering” that resulted from the trumped-up racketeering charges levied against them by Sheriff Joe Arpaio and now-disbarred former County Attorney Andrew Thomas. Maricopa County Supervisors Mary Rose Wilcox and Don Stapley are seeking hundreds of thousands of dollars to settle their lawsuits. Wilcox is seeking $975,000, and Stapley, over $500 thousand.
As a reader of my blog you know that I have ranted and raved about how ludicrous the Wilcox and Stapley claims are, and how much all this was costing taxpayers. After all, who is going to pay for all our pain and suffering? But that was before I ran for the legislature in 2010, where I had a front row seat on the state’s political stage, and figured out what was going on in this state.
Cruel and unusual punishment, by our elected officials, is not what Arizona taxpayers signed up for.
Or is it?
Last week it was found “beyond a reasonable doubt” that Andrew Thomas, conspired with Sheriff Joe Arpaio to commit crimes. A court has found that Thomas and Arpaio and their deputies abused their power, and found clear and convincing evidence of ethical misconduct — even criminal acts.
Rabid partisans, and immigration hawks are the ones who voted, and continue to vote for Arpaio and his enablers, so I no longer have sympathy for Maricopa County taxpayers (that coming from someone who considers herself to be a watchdog over taxpayer money).
I now believe that the pain and suffering that Arpaio and Thomas has caused Mary Rose and Don may have to be compensated for. After all, they have had their lives turned up-side down. And even though some of the charges made against Wilcox and Stapley may have merit, nothing can explain away the behavior that ensued from Arpaio and Thomas — nothing.
But before we cut them a check — like Andy Thomas, Wilcox and Stapley should have their day in court. Let’s get it all on the table for all to see. Put me in the group that agrees that settling sooner, as opposed to later, would cost taxpayers less, but we need to know if their claims do, in fact, have merit — before they collect a dime of taxpayer money.
Perhaps hitting taxpayers where it hurts is the only way to get them to vote these people out of office. So far we are out over $10.6 million for the targeting of political enemies by Arpaio and Thomas. Republicans voted for, and continue to support Joe Arpaio, so they deserve to pay any, and all costs, related to Arpaio’s behavior and his collusion with Thomas.
First Andrew Thomas and his top-aide Lisa Aubuchon get disbarred.
Let’s hope Arpaio’s day of reckoning is coming soon. That will be a huge victory for good government advocates in Arizona. And as one Democratic friend said to me the other day, Wilcox and Stapley also need to go. “We need to get rid if the entire toxic bunch!”
Amen sister Diane!