A sheriff in New York received a warning after a federal investigation into a complaint that his department flew a Trump flag from a government-owned boat in August.
Oswego County Sheriff Don Hilton received the warning from the U.S. Office of Special Counsel in response to a complaint alleging that he violated the Hatch Act (which forbids the use of taxpayer time and money going toward advocacy for a political candidate) on an on-duty patrol boat during an Oneida Lake pro-Trump flotilla on Aug. 2, Syracuse.com reported.
“Please be advised that if you engage in any future prohibited political activity while employed in a Hatch Act-covered position, OSC would consider such activity to be a willful and knowing violation of the law that could result in disciplinary action,” Erica Hamrick, the deputy chief of the Hatch Act Unit, wrote in the letter.
Oswego County sheriff gets warning from U.S. investigators for flying Trump flag on patrol boat https://t.co/87qxd5h5fy
— Geoff Herbert (@deafgeoff) March 12, 2021
Oswego County Legislature Chairman Jim Weatherup, who revealed the letter in a news release on Thursday, said the OSC “decided to close the matter without further action.”
Hilton said the flag, which flew atop of the patrol boat with the words “Making America Great Again,” had been given to him by participants at a nearby boat rally for Trump.
The flag controversy became the subject of a spirited debate during a county legislature public hearing in mid-August. Taking responsibility for the situation, the sheriff acknowledged both the criticism and the support he was receiving in a letter.
Hilton said he put up the flag to show support for the event and Trump, “who has supported law enforcement at a time when many groups are unjustly vilifying our profession.”
“While I stand by my personal beliefs, I do regret that some people, veterans in particular, were uncomfortable with the display of an altered American flag. There was no disrespect intended,” he said.
CORRECTION: In a previous version of this story, the Washington Examiner indicated in the headline that the event took place in Florida when it occurred in New York state. The Washington Examiner regrets the error.
Author: Kaelan Deese
Source: Washington Examiner: Sheriff warned by US investigators after flying Trump flag on patrol boat