Upon receipt of verification from Hawaii that President Obama was born there, Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett said that it satisfies his state’s requirement for placing the President’s name on the ballot for the November election.
After a delay of eight weeks, Bennett finally received verification that allowed him to get out from under national attention he received when he first made the request to Hawaii’s Department of Health. Bennett had responded to a constituent’s request that he verify Obama’s place of birth before allowing his name to be placed on the ballot. When the pressure from an ongoing investigation into Obama’s origins continued to build and Hawaii delayed in responding, Bennett was apparently looking for a way out.
Bennett agreed to see Mike Zullo, Maricopa County (Arizona) Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s lead investigator in the matter, to review the evidence already uncovered that appeared to question the President’s place of birth. Following that interview, Zullo said that Bennett was clearly uncomfortable, remained unconvinced, but was troubled by Hawaii’s delay in responding to his request. Said Zullo:
I knew when I met with Mr. Bennett last week in Phoenix, before we left for Hawaii, that he was desperately trying to get out of the political corner he had painted himself into.
Bennett obviously believed Obama was telling the truth. He was shocked when Hawaii didn’t immediately issue the verification. As it dragged on into weeks, Bennett became desperate to do whatever Hawaii asked to get what amounts to even this meaningless letter.
Zullo had a chance to examine the letter Bennett received from Hawaii’s Department of Health Registrar Alvin Onaka, and noted at least two deficiencies that, in his opinion, rendered it meaningless. The letter didn’t include Obama’s date of birth, and the Registrar’s stamp on the letter was initialed “gk,” which indicated that someone other than Onaka had applied the stamp. Said Zullo: “I suspect these defects are not accidental. My suspicion is that top officials in the Hawaii DOH [Department of Health] and the Hawaii Attorney General’s office created a defective document that could be disclaimed [later] rather than take the time to produce a thoroughly proofread and officially certified legally binding state document.” Zullo added:
Either Onaka refused to initial his registrar’s stamp or the Hawaii DOH is not sufficiently competent to produce a legally valid document.
But either way, the cover-up appears alive and well in Hawaii…
The Hawaii DOH letter is nothing more than a highly-lawyered, cleverly crafted document that we can now prove does not verify what it appears to verify.
Zullo also pointed out that the letter was released only after members of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office investigation team tried unsuccessfully to meet with Onaka during their trip to Honolulu last week.
Bennett, a Mormon and co-chairman of Arizona’s presidential campaign supporting Mitt Romney, also a Mormon, has just launched his own committee to explore a run for Arizona Governor in 2014. And so his commitment to “prove” Obama’s eligibility became an embarrassment, according to Zullo:
My impression was that Bennett wanted to appear sympathetic to the tea party group to win their political favor, but that he guessed wrong, calculating that Hawaii was telling the truth about Obama’s birth and had nothing to hide. Bennett was dumbfounded when Hawaii hesitated.
Bennett denied any such effort to pander to members of the tea party, saying that it was his duty to request verification from Hawaii. Said Bennett:
I was just trying to put this thing to bed and agreed to a constituent’s request, which I’m allowed to do. This is a constituent from Arizona, whom I work for. I am the chief elections official, and I am responsible for elections, and I make the list that these people qualify for the ballot.
Zullo said the investigation into Obama’s origins is continuing, including efforts to show that his Selective Service registration forms are also forgeries. Sheriff Arpaio is expected to hold a press conference on the matter in early June.