I swear I didn’t know the scandal surrounding Sheriff Paul Babeu was going to break when I named my last post “Hot Arizona Politics.” Call it bad headline timing.
In all seriousness, Babeu should resign as Sheriff of Pinal County. Not because he is gay (that’s immaterial) but because it appears that he abused his office and demonstrated one of the most egregious acts of hypocrisy possible.
The Phoenix New Times reports that Babeu was in a relationship with an individual and when that relationship ended, Babeu and his attorney threatened deportation of the individual if the relationship was exposed. Babeu and his attorney denied that charge when asked by the Arizona Republic.
If, in fact, Babeu knew that his boyfriend was in the country illegally (the New Times story alludes to an expired visa) he had an obligation as a law enforcement officer to report that to the Feds. That he didn’t, but then threatened to do so when the relationship ended, is an abuse of power. It is hypocrisy because of his public pronouncements about illegal immigration and border security.
There is no question that his budding Congressional campaign is over. Because it is a Republican primary in a conservative district, it’s likely that the thing that hurts him the most is that he was in a gay relationship.
However, that is not the scandal. Let’s try this hypothetical. He was in a relationship with a young lady from England who was here on a student or work visa and it expired. The relationship sours, and he threatens her with deportation if she talks about the relationship. It doesn’t sound as scandalous, but the abuse and hypocrisy remain.
I don’t give a rip about him being in a relationship with a man from Mexico. I care that as a Republican, and someone who has repeatedly preached “the rule of law,” he abused his power and is a hypocrite.
For the sake of the party and for the sake of just doing the right thing, he should resign as Sheriff.