L.A. County sheriff admits to breaking state law with political ad

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Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca at a news conference, October 6, 2010 in Washington, DC.

County Sheriff Lee Baca has admitted to breaking state laws by appearing in an online campaign ad for L.A. City Attorney Carmen Trutanich while in uniform.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Baca wore his badge and his department-issued uniform in the nearly 13-minute long video as he praised Trutanich as being "not afraid to sacrifice."

"No job is too big," he allegedly said in the video, which has since been removed. "No responsibility is too small. Carmen Trutanich is about those values."

Trutanich is currently running for district attorney.

According to state law, public safety officers are allowed to make political endorsements except "whenever on duty or in uniform."

Baca told the Times on Friday that he mistakenly thought it was only a violation if he asked for campaign contributions while in uniform.

"There's no excuse," Baca said. "I should've known."

The paper reportedly confronted him about the ad's legality once before, and was told by Baca that elected sheriffs were exempt from the rule.

"I wouldn't do this, gentlemen, if I didn't know that," Baca allegedly told Times reporters.

He then called back Friday to correct himself and apologize.

The sheriff says he plans to take no administrative action against himself because his violation is not related to department business.

He tells the Times he is unaware what sort of action might come against him by other enforcement agencies.

Before its removal, the video had garnered more than 727,000 YouTube views. Baca is still listed on Trutanich's website as one of his endorsements.

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