Arpaio raises, spends big money

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By John Moore By John Moore

MARICOPA COUNTY, Ariz. -- Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has raised a lot of money for his re-election this year. But then again, he spent a lot of money to do it.

The county's top law man announced late Thursday that he's raked in more than $1 million over the past five months as he runs for an unprecedented sixth-term in office.

But campaign finance records also show Arpaio doled out about $264,000 on fundraising, with most of the money going to his campaign consultants.

In total, Arpaio spent about $290,000 from the beginning of January to the end of May. Some of the money went towards other campaign costs like rent for his office and $15,000 to commission a poll.

The figures are unprecedented for an Arizona politician running in what is essentially a local race. Since he started amassing money for his re-election in the spring of 2009, Arpaio has raised about $6.8 million while spending about $2.7 million, according to campaign finance reports.

When asked why a sheriff who has held office for 20 years needs to raise and spend millions of dollars, his campaign consultant, Chad Willems said, "it takes money to make money."  

Willems added that he's not sure whether Arpaio, who will likely face two challengers in the general election, will spend all the money. The goal, according to Willems, is to raise $10 million by the November election.

The donations come in small amounts from states across the country, according to a nearly 600 page financial statement. The money blows away what Arpaio raised for his 2008 re-election when he hauled in an impressive $600,000.

Arpaio has been able to raise the money despite being targeted by a criminal investigation. The U.S. Department of Justice opened an investigation into Arpaio's office about four years ago. The feds are looking into potential civil rights violations.