(WMC-TV) - The Shelby County Sheriff's Office spokesperson may have said too much when he sent a mass email Thursday announcing a kick-off event for his boss's re-election campaign.
Within minutes Washington sent a second email recalling the first email, but former political candidates say the damage is done.
"You want to keep the playing field level, and when it's uneven it gives the incumbent an edge using the office that's a no no," said 2013 sheriff's candidate Randy Wade.
Former Sheriff candidate Randy Wade says campaigning on government company time and resources is a violation of the federal Hatch Act.
"So you can't use the uniform or your position or any of your equipment under that Hatch Act," said Wade.
It is a familiar story for Wade who ran for sheriff against Oldham and lost in 2010, back then Oldham was deputy chief.
Washington's initial email also violated county policy which clearly states the electronic communication system is not to be used to solicit others for personal, commercial, religious or political causes.
Washington's recall email was quickly followed up by an apology which he reiterated Friday saying:
"It was pulled immediately by request of the Sheriff. We spoke about it, it was my error, not directed by him and I apologized to him. That is all I have to say on the matter. We all error from time to time."
Wade believes Washington's oversight was an honest mistake but a matter that should be taken seriously.
"You just can't unring the bell. Unfortunately that's just the way it is," said Wade.
It was a serious matter in 2011 when Shelby County general sessions court clerk Otis Jackson was indicted for pressuring his employees to raise money for his campaign. There were more egregious and intentional circumstances, but it is based on the same rule that prohibits that political conflict on the job.
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