News & Politics

"America's Toughest Dictator"? FBI Investigating Joe Arpaio for Using Office to Bully Opponents

The feds are reportedly looking at a pattern of law enforcement being used to intimidate political opponents.

Fox News' show-boating Sheriff Joe Arpaio is a thuggish right-wing clown with aspirations to higher office and a police force of his own (he's reportedly weighing a run to become Arizona governor next year). His use of the latter to advance the former may just prove to be his undoing.

According to local CBS affiliate KBHO (via TPM):

The FBI is looking into accusations that Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is using his position to settle political vendettas.

Over the past year, 5 Investigates examined more than two dozen complaints against the sheriff from business owners, government workers, mayors and law-enforcement officials.

They claim they spoke out against Arpaio, and shortly after, deputies paid them unwelcome visits.

Arpaio has gotten into hot water before as a result of his harsh, publicity-grabbing campaign against undocumented immigrants. There was a very public fracas with then-Governor Janet Napolitano in 2007, and his office lost a chunk of funding as a result. Earlier this year, in a high-profile spat with the DHS, he lost some of his federal immigration enforcement powers.

But this is different -- here he's charged not only with abusing the powers of his office to go after marginal groups like unauthorized immigrants, but citizens who dare criticize his actions, including political opponents and the media -- influential members of the community. As such, this might not end as well for the sheriff as his earlier controversies.

Consider a few of the people on whom he's reportedly sicced his deputies ...

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