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Wilmot Hatch Act probe ends - officially
The retirement of Yuma County sheriff candidate Leon Wilmot made the federal investigation into his alleged election violations a moot point.
Wilmot's candidacy had been called into question by opponent Rick Sandoval as a possible violation of the Hatch Act, a law that forbids people whose salary is tied to government grant funding from running for partisan office, because Wilmot was employed as the chief deputy at the Yuma County Sheriff's Office during much of his campaign. Wilmot, a 27-year veteran of the YCSO, retired at the end of September and has maintained that he planned to anyhow.
The U.S. Office of Special Counsel, which looks into potential Hatch Act violations, closed the file, “making no conclusion as to the merits of the allegations,” according to a letter informing Wilmot of the action.
As a matter of policy, the Office of Special Counsel does not publicly acknowledge when a case is cleared and will only acknowledge findings of violations as an exception to their privacy laws. Wilmot shared the letter with the Yuma Sun.
The letter gave a description of the Hatch Act and the types of people it covers.
“We note, however, that you resigned from your employment with YSCO [sic] effective September 28, 2012,” reads the letter signed by Ana Galindo-Marrone, OSC Hatch Act Unit Chief. “Therefore, even if we were to conclude that your activities violated the Hatch Act, we would be unable to obtain any meaningful disciplinary action in this matter.”
Wilmot is a Republican who spent his entire law enforcement career at the Yuma County Sheriff's Office. He remains a volunteer reserve deputy. Sandoval, a Democrat who spent 37 years in law enforcement, retired this spring from the Department of Homeland Security in El Centro.