'Beach House Sheriff' used pistol permit fees to pay for TV commercials during campaign


Last Halloween, Etowah County Sheriff Todd Entrekin paid Venture Marketing Group, a Gadsden-based marketing and advertising firm, $2,800 to create a TV commercial.

It was the first of several payments the sheriff would make to the company in the run-up to the June primary election, which Entrekin ultimately lost in a landslide to Rainbow City Police Chief Jonathon Horton.

Between Oct. 31, 2017, and July, Entrekin would pay Venture more than $29,000 for work related to TV ads. Over that period, Venture created multiple commercials for Entrekin that only aired during the eight months prior to the election.

But even though the ads feature Entrekin speaking about the sheriff's office and promoting programs he oversees as sheriff, his campaign committee did not pay Venture for the work. He instead paid the company out of an official sheriff's office account he alone controls called the Sheriff's Law Enforcement Fund.

Corey Goldstone, a spokesman for the Campaign Legal Center, a nonpartisan electoral rights advocacy nonprofit in Washington, D.C., said that the spending and the commercials - which he has watched - pose serious ethical concerns.

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