It's a real head-scratcher as to why Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu remains in the congressional race for Arizona's district 4. Until recently, he was the New Star in the Republican Party -- a friendlier and handsomer Joe Arpaio. Babeu was the law official, you'll recall, who strolled along the Mexican border near Nogales with John McCain in the Senator's "complete the dang fence" ad, even though Babeu's Pinal County is nowhere near the border.
Afterwards and throughout the 2010 election season, he became the darling of anti-immigration on Fox News and pro-white radio shows like "The Political Cesspool" -- championing SB 1070, campaigning for Brewer and her anti-Obama border screech, and supporting any policy nativist wackjob Senator Russell Pearce pulled out of his backside. For his hardline stance, new-found notoriety, and media savvy, the National Sheriff's Association named Babeu "Sheriff of the Year" in 2011.
Then in mid-February New Times broke the story that the bullet-headed Sheriff is not only gay, but he threatened his Mexican boyfriend with deportation. Following this bombshell, Babeu held a news conference to say he is gay, but denied threatening his lover, Jose Orozco (who has since filed a $1 million lawsuit). At the time, many political observers declared Babeu's congressional candidacy DOA, especially since district 4 is the most conservative region in the state, and because Babeu is running against Paul Gosar, an incumbent, in the GOP primary.
It didn't help the Sheriff's odds that the New Times exposé and further investigations turned up photos and discussions that he had posted on gay websites. Nor would voters in district 4 probably cotton to the finding that Sheriff Paul Babeu, one of the state's shrillest immigration hawks, was dating an undocumented Mexican. Then, as journalists kept digging, another story turned up about a school where he had previously served as headmaster:
Before moving to Arizona nearly a decade ago, Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu led a controversial private school for troubled youths that Massachusetts investigators sought to shut down over reports of abuse, neglect and concerns about students' safety. Arizona RepublicAllegations of an inappropriate relationship with a 17-year-old at the school also dogged Babeu. Next, four of the Sheriff's key deputies came under fire for participating in Babeu's political campaign, a violation of the Hatch Act. And if that weren't enough, a Pima County Attorney's probe of the Jose Orozco deportation claim discovered that the Sheriff's office had destroyed more than 6,000 emails, another no-no:
Investigators in Arizona are looking into whether embattled Sheriff Paul Babeu’s office destroyed records that may have shed light on whether he threatened to deport his immigrant ex-boyfriend after their breakup. TPMYou need a scorecard to keep all of the legal investigations and maneuvers straight. Today Rebekah Sanders at the Arizona Republic spotlighted the challenges facing the Sheriff in the middle of a congressional campaign:
Babeu or his office are the subject of investigations by federal, state and local officials:Like I said, it's a head-scratcher. So, in this environment, today Paul Babeu chose to release his first 30-second TV ad. He begins by saying, "A lot has been said about me lately, but I want you to hear it from me." He even titles the spot "Hear it from me." Take a look:
-- The U.S. Office of Special Counsel is investigating possible violations of the Hatch Act, which makes it illegal for certain government workers to particpate in political activities. Babeu and four of his top aides are targets.
-- Arizona Solicitor General David Cole is investigating abuse-of-power allegations against Babeu, who is accused of allegedly threatening his Mexican ex-boyfriend to keep their relationship private...
-- The Pima County Attorney's Office is investigating whether Babeu's office unlawfully destroyed thousands of electronic records, most of them emails. Arizona Republic
That certainly clears it up, doesn't it? It's now crystal clear that all those things that have "been said about me lately" are nonsense, especially since he does not mention a single one.