Sheriff Joe Arpaio said taxpayers are not footing the bill for his Cold Case Posse and a deputy to travel to Hawaii to investigate President Obama's birth certificate.
"The lone deputy that I sent there is going to be reimbursed by the posse," said Arpaio. He said the two posse members who made the trip are paying for it out of the posse's funds, which come strictly from donations.
"We are developing a criminal investigation on possible fraud and forgery of a birth certificate," said Arpaio. "I said from the beginning we are not dropping this. We are going to take it to the bitter end, one way or the other, we would like to prove whether that is a fraudulent document."
Many people question Arpaio's motives for not letting the issue go, while nearly every other entity has, including the Republican Party. CBS 5 News learned that the sheriff's posse has spent about $40,000 in posse donations since its investigation into Obama's birth began in August 2011.
The Cold Case Posse is its own nonprofit organization entitled to tax-exempt status.
Valley attorney, Ellis Carter, who specializes in nonprofit law, said there's a fine line for nonprofits when it comes to being involved in partisan politics.
"Any amount of activity that would be in opposition to or support of a candidate risks your tax-exempt status," said Carter.
She said she believes it's possible the IRS would have the ability to look into the matter as it relates to the posse because this close to an election, Arpaio's investigation has a political flavor that she deems could be inappropriate.
Arpaio denies his actions are politically motivated.
"I don't care whether he's on the ballot or not. It has no bearing on our investigation of fraudulent documents," said Arpaio.
Copyright 2012 KPHO(Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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