Republican presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., answers questions regarding illegal immigration issues plaguing Arizona during a news conference with Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, right, at his office Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2011, in Phoenix.
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Arizona has constituted a special law enforcement posse to investigate allegations brought by members of the Surprise, Ariz., Tea Party that the birth certificate Barack Obama released to the public April 27 might be a forgery, WND has learned.
The posse, under the authority of Arpaio's office, will consist of two former law enforcement officers and two retired attorneys, headed by Michael Zullo, a retired police detective originally from Bergen County, N.J
WND confirmed with Zullo and with Arpaio's office that the investigation
into the Obama birth certificate has been sanctioned fully by Arpaio's office. The investigation, they said, will be conducted with "utmost diligence," and the investigators will be authorized to utilize subpoena power.
Arpaio spokesman Lt. Justin Griffin told WND that Arpaio's posse will consist entirely of volunteers and will avoid incurring any cost
to the taxpayers of Maricopa County.
"I am very grateful that Sheriff Joe Arpaio is a sincere man of his word and a fearless, patriotic American," Brian Reilly, a spokesman for the Surprise Tea Party
, told WND.
The document in question, which has been described as a fraud by numerous analysts and experts in imaging, documents and computers
Reilly had less kind words for his representatives in Washington, D.C.
"Congress should be ashamed," he said. "They didn't even have the backbone to uphold their constitutional oaths of office to initiate this investigation."
Arpaio's move is unprecedented in that WND research can find no other instance in United States history in which a county sheriff's
office has undertaken an investigation of a document pertaining to a sitting United States president.
Arpaio's decision follows a meeting held in his office Aug. 17
with a group of Surprise Tea Party representatives, including Reilly. Four days later, the group presented a formal letter to Arpaio expressing concern that should Obama use a forged birth certificate to prove his eligibility for the 2012 presidential ballot in Arizona, the voting rights of the residents of Maricopa County could be irreparably compromised.
Aug. 21 that the letter formally stated the following charge: "The Surprise Tea Party is concerned that no law enforcement agency or other duly constituted government agency has conducted an investigation into the Obama birth certificate to determine if it is in fact an authentic copy of 1961 birth records on file for Barack Obama at the Hawaii Department of Health in Honolulu, or whether it, or they are forgeries." CONTINUE