The head of the Democratic National Committee on Thursday blasted Fresno Republicans for inviting controversial former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona to headline a party fundraiser.
“It is shameful that the Fresno County Republican Party is fundraising off one of the nation’s most notorious agents of racism and bigotry,” said DNC chairman Tom Perez, who oversaw federal prosecution of Arpaio when he led the U.S. Department of Justice’s civil rights division.
Arpaio was convicted in July of criminal contempt for violating a federal court order to stop racially profiling Latinos and had been scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 5. But in late August, President Trump pardoned Arpaio, who was an early supporter of the candidate during the 2016 presidential campaign.
“President Trump and the Republican Party may not believe justice is blind, but the American people still do and they want to see Arpaio held accountable, not pardoned for his prejudice and paraded around at a fundraiser,” Perez said.
Arpaio is scheduled to be the guest speaker at a "2nd Amendment Barbecue" at a Fresno restaurant on Sept. 29. Tickets cost $70 to $1,500.
"Sheriff Joe is a no-nonsense law and order leader, a veteran and a patriotic American. Although he has been maligned by the left, he still stands strong, and FCRP is excited to welcome him to this event," reads an invitation for the event.
The controversy over the event is prompting police to prepare for protesters and causing some elected Republicans to stay away, the Fresno Bee reported on Wednesday.