HONOLULU (The Blaze/AP) — The state of Hawaii has verified President Barack Obama’s birth records to Arizona’s elections chief after a nearly three-month back and forth that Arizona officials said could have ended without the incumbent’s name on its November ballot.
Joshua Wisch, special assistant to Hawaii Attorney General David Louie, told The Associated Press in an email late Tuesday that the matter is resolved after Hawaii gave Arizona the verification it was looking for.
Hawaii – which has vouched for Obama’s birth in the state several times as early as October 2008 – didn’t bow to the request easily. The Aloha State told Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett he had to prove he needed the records as part of normal business.
Wisch says Hawaii got what it needed, so it gave Bennett’s office the verification.
It’s not immediately clear whether the information will satisfy Bennett. Bennett spokesman Matthew Roberts said the office received the verification and planned to comment Wednesday.
Roberts did not say whether the information would end the flap with Obama’s name on the ballot. It seems likely, though, considering on Tuesday Bennett seemed to soften his threat, and even apologized if he had embarrassed his state.
“If I embarrassed the state, I apologize, but that certainly wasn’t my intent,” he told radio station KTAR. “He’ll be on the ballot as long as he fills out the same paperwork and does the same things that everybody else has.”
The development came the same day Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio defended sending one of his deputies to Hawaii to accompany an official in his volunteer group that is investigating Obama’s birth certificate, despite earlier saying no taxpayer money was being spent on the probe.
The sheriff said Tuesday that taxpayers won’t ultimately foot the bill because the group, which so far has used $40,000 in donations to pay for the probe, will reimburse his office for the deputy’s trip to Hawaii this week.
Arpaio said the deputy who was sent to Hawaii was there for security reasons, which the sheriff declined to discuss.
“Even if it was costing the taxpayers money, we are talking about a criminal investigation into possible fraud and forgery on government documents,” the sheriff said.
The sheriff launched the investigation last summer and said in March that there was probable cause to believe Obama’s long-form birth certificate, released by the White House more than a year ago, is a computer-generated forgery and that the president’s Selective Service card was most likely a forgery.
But Hawaii officials have repeatedly confirmed Obama’s citizenship, and Obama released a copy of his long-form birth certificate more than a year ago in an attempt to quell citizenship questions. Courts also have rebuffed lawsuits over the issue.
Arpaio said health officials in Hawaii refused to talk to his deputy and group investigator on Monday, though an assistant attorney general came out to talk to the investigators.
“They won’t have anything to do with us,” Arpaio said.
Janice Okubo, spokeswoman for the Hawaii State Department of Health, said two men dressed in business suits from Arpaio’s department sat down with deputies from the health department and attorney general’s office in a conference room Monday.
The men identified themselves as being from the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office and provided their badges and business cards when asked, Okubo said.
“They said they were conducting an investigation,” Okubo said.
Okubo said the Hawaii officials told the men they had to show why they needed the information as part of ordinary business – a response similar to that given to Bennett last week when he publicly pushed his request.
Bennett has officially responded to Reuters and seems satisfied with the information he received.
“We never requested a birth certificate. What we requested was a verification from Hawaii that the information on the president’s birth certificate was accurate,” Bennett’s spokesman Matthew Roberts told Reuters.
“As far as we are concerned, the matter is closed,” he added.
Associated Press writers Paul Davenport and Jacques Billeaud in Phoenix contributed to this report.