Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva is under investigation Thursday after video surfaced of him asking for donations to his reelection campaign.
The video obtained by the Los Angeles Times shows Villanueva asking for sheriff’s deputies to support him by donating to his reelection efforts.
“This message is for deputies,” Villanueva says in the video.
“We’re gonna win this thing, and Lord willing, and if you want to help, anything will help us get our message out there, get our ads online and on TV and our texting going on.”
“So, I’ll leave it up to you. Any donation is great, 20 bucks all the way up to 1,500 bucks. Your choice and I look forward to your support,” Villanueva goes on to say in a portion of the nearly minute-long video.
The video was sent to members of the department last week but it was unclear who disseminated it, according to the LA Times.
State law and sheriff’s department policy both prohibit an agency employee from soliciting political contributions from other employees, the newspaper reported.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office has opened a criminal investigation into the incident.
The controversy comes as votes are still being counted from Tuesday’s midterm election for sheriff between Villanueva and Robert Luna.
Luna opened up a significant lead over Villanueva on election night. The challenger holds an advantage of more than 150,000 votes with 44% of the precincts reporting.