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Arpaio pays fine over attack mailers

Maricopa, Ariz.  Sheriff Joe Arpaio prepares to speak to a crowd in the East Room on the grounds of the Nixon Presidential Library & Museum in Yorba Linda, Calif. on Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2011.  (AP Photo/The Orange County Register , Kevin Sullivan)

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio (AP Photo/The Orange County Register , Kevin Sullivan)

Sheriff Joe Arpaio has agreed to pay a $76,000 settlement over allegations he violated campaign finance laws in 2010 by running illegal ads that may have influenced the race for Maricopa County Attorney.

The Arizona Republic reports the sheriff is settling a claim with the Maricopa County Elections Department, but does not admit any wrongdoing for his campaign’s role in paying for material that targeted Interim County Attorney Rick Romley.

Romley lost a special election to Bill Montgomery.

The controversy in the county attorney’s race centered on mailers blasting Romley that the Arpaio campaign sent out last year before the August Republican primary. Attorneys for Romley argued the mailer and a television ad were “in-kind contributions” to Montgomery.

An administrative law judge sided with Romley and fined the Arpaio campaign.

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