Babeu may have deleted public files, violated campaign laws

March 30, 2012

State and federal investigators are looking at Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu in regard to possible destruction of public records and violations of federal campaign laws. KJZZ's Al Macias reports.

State authorities are trying to find out if more than 6,000 electronic files, mostly emails, were deleted. Following a public records request by the Arizona Republic, the newspaper reports that thousands of emails were apparently deleted from county files.

Tampering with public records is a felony under Arizona law. The sheriff's office denies deleting any files.

In the meantime, the newspaper is also reporting that federal investigators are searching records and emails in the sheriff's department for possible violation of the Hatch Act. That federal law makes it illegal for certain government workers to take part in partisan political activities. A sheriff's spokesman says the office is cooperating with investigators.