Virginia Sheriff EW Viar Could be Violating Federal Guidelines by Campaigning in Uniform

According to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, candidates for Sheriff who are currently employed by the Sheriff’s office and are responsible for maintaining the Federal Highway Safety Program are bound by the Hatch Act, even if they are not federal employees.

Sheriff E.W. Viar of Amherst County, according to the News & Advance, is responsible for maintaining a Federal Highway Safety Program. Since the program is funded by federal tax dollars, Viar, like Bedford Sheriff candidate Mike Miller, could be bound by the Hatch Act and unable to appear in campaign advertisements, media, or campaign events in his uniform, according to a recent ruling by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel.

Newsadvance.com reported on a circumstance with a Sheriff in another county, Bedford, Virginia, where Captain Mike Miller got himself into some hot water:

Would-be sheriffs be warned: if your job involves federal money, campaigning in a government-issued uniform is strictly off-limits.

Though Miller is an employee of a local government, watchdog officials determined he must abide by the federal law because he manages a highway safety program which is, in part, funded by federal dollars.

Under these circumstances, Viar could also be barred from using county and government equipment in making advertisements, as well as barred from filming on county property. It seems E.W. Viar is in the same boat as Miller and could potentially be in violation of the Hatch Act and should remedy all violations immediately if so.

See EW Viar Campaign video below:

Newsadvance.com also reported that this violation is not a criminal issue but could put one’s job in Jeopardy. Bedford’s Miller was able to come into compliance and satisfy the accusations from a watchdog group.

Viar’s campaign has not commented on the matter.