A sheriff in upstate New York violated a law restricting political activity by federal officers when he flew a pro-Trump flag during a boat parade last summer, according to a new report. 

Oswego County Sheriff Donald Hilton was seen at a pro-Trump boat parade on a nearby lake flying a “Make America Great Again” flag while riding an on-duty police boat. Local media photographed Hilton with the flag at the parade. 

A U.S. Office of Special Counsel said Hilton told them he had been given the flag and admitted to flying it. Federal investigators wrote to Hilton and told him he had been found in violation of the HATCH Act, an anti-corruption law barring federal officials from participating in partisan political activities. 

Because you used an official agency resource to promote a presidential candidate, thus giving the impression that the Oswego County Sheriffs Office endorsed that candidate, OSC determined that you violated the Hatch Acts prohibition against using your official authority to affect an election, the special counsels office said in a letter to Hilton, according to the Washington Post. 

Investigators said no disciplinary action would be taken against Hilton but warned him against any future political displays. 

In a statement issued two weeks after the media accounts of his pro-Trump display sparked backlash, Hilton said the incident inspired him to be “even more vocal” about his political beliefs. 

“I respect the right of people to have a critical opinion of what I did this is America after all, and freedom of speech is part of what the flag stands for,” he said. “But lets keep a clear-headed perspective here:  I flew a political flag on taxpayers property, yet many of the people criticizing me for that also defend rioters who destroy taxpayers property! Is it a sign of people thinking reasonably when they support policies that excuse and set free those who commit criminal acts of violence and assault, while at the same time call for the termination of me and my deputies simply for flying a flag?  It is not.”