State Capitol News
4:00 pm
Thu May 31, 2012

AZ Secretary of State Won't Check Romney's Birth Certificate

Secretary of State Ken Bennett said today he will not verify the birth records of Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, at least not now -- and possibly not ever -- despite an earlier public commitment to do so. 

Bennett asked Hawaii to verify it has a birth certificate for Barack Obama. He said that followed constituent requests that, as the state's chief election official, he determine the president is a natural born citizen. And Bennett said he would make the same inquiry to Michigan on Romney, whose candidacy he backs, if he got similar requests. But Bennett now says he needs something else: An allegation by a law enforcement agency that it questions the veracity of a candidate's birth certificate. He said that was always a precondition of looking into Romney or anyone else, just one he never disclosed.

"I'm going to use the same policy that I did on the president's," Bennett said. "If there's a law enforcement finding or entity that says that there's some question about Romney's certificate, we'll act on that one, too."

That's not likely to happen. Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who conducted the inquiry into Obama's birth certificate -- and concluded it may be forged -- say he has no intent to take a similar look at the birth certificate Romney released Wednesday.

"The reason we did this one is it's been a controversial situation for a long, long time and people came to me and we looked at it and we were a little suspect over that," Arpaio said. "I'm not suspect over this one."

Bennett said the only reason people want him to check Romney is they're mad about his request on Obama.