To say that President Barack Obama and Arizona’s Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio don’t see eye to eye when it comes to immigration is a grave understatement.
Arpaio has made efforts to enforce laws already on the books, but they have been met with resistance and countered by Obama’s Department of Justice at practically every turn, and now, with two weeks before Election Day, the feds have moved in for the killing blow on Arpaio’s political career.
According to KNXV, the 84-year-old six-term sheriff was charged Tuesday with a federal misdemeanor count of criminal contempt of court for actions deemed to be in violation of a court order stemming from a 2011 racial profiling case.
That case accused him of using unconstitutional methods to crack down on illegal immigrants in and around the Phoenix area, and he had been ordered to cease and desist from those activities by a federal judge.
If convicted, Arpaio could spend six months in jail, though the conviction wouldn’t necessarily bar him from holding a political office. A trial date for the contempt charge is scheduled for Dec. 6.
Arpaio’s lawyer, Mel McDonald, stated that the charge would be contested, saying, “We believe that when the final chapter is written, he will be vindicated.”
McDonald added that it was unlikely that Arpaio would actually be arrested and compelled to have mugshots taken, and said the sheriff intended to plead not guilty.
This isn’t the first time that Arpaio has run afoul of the Obama administration, and should Democrat presidential nominee Hillary Clinton be elected, it is almost a certainty that her administration wold place the sheriff close to the top of their target list to be taken out one way or another as well.
Arpaio’s campaign released a statement on the matter, noting specifically that the timing and political nature of the charge coming so close to the election is suspect.
“The Obama Justice Department continues its efforts to influence the election for sheriff of Maricopa County. The department’s actions in the last 30 days before the election are further attempts to sabotage Sheriff Arpaio in his bid for a seventh unprecedented term as Maricopa County Sheriff,” read the campaign’s statement.
“It is clear from the timing that the Department of Justice is merely a political tool of a corrupt administration. Justice plays no part in this department’s actions and clear political motivations,” the campaign added.
While Sheriff Joe may have been “in contempt” of a federal judge’s order to stop enforcing immigration laws already on the books, this has been an ongoing battle between the sheriff and Obama’s DOJ that could have been settled well before the election.
It smells of corrupt political interference for a federal agency to press charges against a political candidate two weeks before an election, and comes across as a spiteful slap in the face than an effort at upholding the Constitution and the rule of law.