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Candidate for sheriff Haney alleges ethical breach by Sheriff Mahoney
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Candidate for sheriff Haney alleges ethical breach by Sheriff Mahoney

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Republican Dane County sheriff candidate Shawn Haney has filed an ethics complaint against Sheriff Dave Mahoney accusing the Democrat of using county resources for campaign purposes.

Haney's ethics complaint of Aug. 30 alleges Mahoney used a Dane County Sheriff's Office squad car in the Mount Horeb parade June 6.

Mahoney's campaign manager Melissa Mulliken said Mahoney was appearing in the parade as sheriff, not as a candidate.

"He was not handing out campaign literature. He was not handing out buttons," Mulliken said. "He's allowed to appear places as the Dane County sheriff."

But parade organizer Lawrence Hefty said Mulliken was listed as the contact person on Mahoney's entry form. The form also included a message to be read by the parade emcee that said: "Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney is a crime fighter as your sheriff. He puts public safety first. He's concerned with traffic patrols and eliminating overcrowding in the jail. Sheriff Mahoney is honored to serve you and thanks for your support."

Mulliken, who is also County Executive Kathleen Falk's campaign manager, acknowledged submitting Mahoney's entry form but said that didn't mean his participation in the parade was campaign-related.

Haney said Mahoney did not fill out a Sheriff's Office form for off-duty use of a county vehicle. He also did not list use of the car in his campaign finance reports.

The county's ethics ordinance, which was updated in December, prohibits elected officials from using county-owned vehicles for political activity. Mahoney has until Sept. 24 to respond in writing, after which a hearing will be scheduled, said Mary Kasparek, assistant corporation counsel for Dane County. 

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