CONCORD, NH - Yesterday, embattled Arizona Sherriff and Tea Party icon Joe Arpaio was accused of misspending as much as $80 million in taxpayer money, including tens of thousands of dollars on hotel and entertainment costs for top officials in his office. Earlier this month, GOP candidate Kelly Ayotte appeared at a rally in Nashua by Sheriff Arpaio's side, calling him "a really dynamic person and a true leader in the fight against illegal immigration." [Nashua Telegraph, 9/10/10]
"Calling someone who misspent $80 million in taxpayer money a 'true leader' is an interesting definition of leadership," said Emily Browne, Press Secretary for the New Hampshire Democratic Party. "Then again, Ms. Ayotte's idea of leadership has always been questionable - from latching on to Sarah Palin, to refusing to differentiate herself from the Washington GOP on a single issue, to failing to take responsibility for her office's mishandling of the largest Ponzi scheme in New Hampshire history. She's yet to demonstrate the kind of tough and principled leadership that the Granite State deserves."
According to news reports, Sheriff Arpaio's mishandling of tax dollars could amount to as much as $80 million for a range of unauthorized expenditures including: lavish travel expenses for top officials, questionable transactions on county credit cards, and "secret outside bank accounts that prevented county officials from monitoring the department's transactions." [New America Media, 9/23/10]
Sheriff Arpaio is already under investigation by the US Department of Justice over allegations that his office engaged in serious discrimination and racial profiling. [NYT, 9/2/10]
"If racial profiling and bilking tax dollars are on Kelly Ayotte's list of leadership qualities, we've got to wonder exactly what kind of leader she'd be in the US Senate," added Browne.