York County Sheriff fined after appearing in campaign ad
LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - The York County Sheriff was fined $1,000 for violating a Nebraska Statute by appearing in a televised campaign ad while wearing his uniform.
Sheriff Paul Vrbka appeared in a campaign ad for Charles Herbster during his run for the Republican nomination for governor in February and March of 2022. He appeared in uniform with two other sheriffs and a captain. A complaint was filed in March 2022, saying Vrbka violated the Nebraska Political Accountability and Disclosure Act.
“A public official or public employee shall not use or authorize the use of public resources for the purpose of campaigning for or against the nomination or election of a candidate or the qualification, passage, or defeat of a ballot question.”
Once he was notified there was an investigation, Sheriff Vrbka did not appear in additional campaign ads.
The maximum penalty for the violation is $5,000. The Accountability and Disclosure Commission reviewed the complaint and limited the fine against Sheriff Vrbka to $1,000 because of his willingness to work with the NADC to resolve the matter.
Sheriff Vrbka did not contest the matter and said “had he known this would constitute a possible violation of the NPADA, he would not have agreed to appear in the campaign advertisement.”
In the ad, Vrbka appeared together with Seward County Sheriff Michael Vance, Lincoln County Sheriff Jerome Kramer and York County Capt. Josh Gillespie. Frank Daley, the executive director of the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission told 10/11 he couldn’t comment on whether similar complaints have been made about the other law enforcement officers who appeared in the ad because of a confidentiality provision in the Accountability and Disclosure Act. He said complaints to the Commission are confidential unless a violation is found or the individual agrees to have the matter made public.
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