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Challenger files ethics complaint against Sheriff Randy Smith

Challenger files ethics complaint against Sheriff Randy Smith

Author: Action News 17/Tuesday, April 23, 2019/Categories: Front Page, Politics


From the Nick Tranchina for Sheriff Campaign

St. Tammany Parish Candidate for Sheriff Files Ethics Violation Complaint Against Incumbent Randy Smith for use of Public Resources for Political Purposes

Nick Tranchina, a candidate for St.Tammany Parish Sheriff, has filed an ethics complaint with the Louisiana Governmental Ethics Committee alleging the misuse of parish resources to promote the re-election campaign of incumbent Sheriff Randy Smith. Tranchina outlines three specific ethics violations covered under the ethics code in his complaint.

The first of a four-part video series produced by the Sheriff’s Office on its “Crisis Intervention Team,” was uploaded February 5th to the St. Tammany Sheriff’s Office YouTube Page, and also posted on the “Re-Elect Smith Sheriff 2019” Facebook and Twitter pages the same day. Sheriff Smith announced his bid for re-election February 11th and two of the videos were subsequently posted on the www.sheriffrandysmith.com re-election website and the remaining three videos were posted on the campaign Facebook page shortly afterwards.

“It is highly improper and inappropriate to use videos made and paid for by the Sheriff’s Office to promote the sheriff’s own re-election,” according to Tranchina who is a first-time candidate for elected office. “Further, the timing of the production and release of the videos to coincide with Smith’s campaign announcement is highly suspect.”

He notes that the Sheriff’s Office during Smith’s tenure has not produced any other videos on department-wide programs or initiatives such as the four-part “Crisis Intervention Team” video which, coincidentally, was one of Smith’s campaign promises. The sheriff even references the issue in the second video, saying: “During my campaign for sheriff I realized that mental health was a very important issue and a hot topic not only here in St. Tammany but throughout our country and I wanted to create this crisis intervention team.”

Elected officials cannot use resources paid for by taxpayers for political purposes, explains Tranchina. “Other states and indeed Congress forbids lawmakers from using resources like House videos for political purposes.”

With campaign finance reports showing the vast campaign war chest of Sheriff Smith, Tranchina questions why he would attempt to circumvent the law by taking advantage of his own staff and resources.and allowing St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office-produced videos to be displayed on his personal and political social media outlets.

 
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