In an ongoing public quarrel between Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones and California State Auditor Elaine Howle, Jones fired back at the state’s top auditor on Tuesday for seeking the Sacramento County District Attorney’s help in filing misdemeanor charges against him.
“As the elected Sheriff charged with enforcing the laws, these accusations continue to defame my professional and personal reputation and adversely affect my family, and your continued course of attempted prosecution is clearly misguided and motivated by malice,” Jones wrote in the public statement to Howle.
Their dispute stems from a Dec. 11 letter from Jones to Howle in which he criticized a state audit examining the county’s process for issuing concealed carry weapon permits ahead of its finished publication. His critique of the audit was posted onto the sheriff’s website, as well as accompanying social media pages like Facebook and Nextdoor.
Howle wrote back to Jones, saying the state’s auditors repeatedly told him and his staff, both verbally and in writing, that information about the audit was to remain confidential until it was publicly released, per state code.
But Jones rejected that claim, saying that in his interpretation, the California law applied only to employees working for the State Auditor’s Office and not the entities being audited. In Tuesday’s letter, Jones reaffirmed that position and additionally asked the State Auditor’s Office to acknowledge Jones committed no wrongdoing.
Jones also took aim at Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento, claiming that the politician shared information about the audit with news outlets in order to generate press coverage of the allegations against Jones.
McCarty asked the Legislature’s Joint Legislative Audit Committee to pursue an investigation into Jones’ office and the concealed carry weapon permitting process. His request was granted in March 2017, resulting in the state audit.
A spokesman for McCarty did not immediately return a request for comment Tuesday afternoon. The State Auditor’s Office did not reply to a request as well.
Sacramento District Attorney Ann Marie Schubert continues to review Howle’s allegations against Jones, said spokeswoman Shelly Orio.
Noah Phillips, the Democratic candidate trying to unseat Schubert in this year’s election, called for her to “put aside politics” and charge Jones in a statement sent out Tuesday.
“At best, the current District Attorney is an absent leader more adept at currying political favor than administering justice,” he wrote. “At worst, she is responsible for unequal application of criminal law based on whether or not a person has the money or political power.”