Winnebago Co. sheriff’s appearance in political ad questioned

Published: Oct. 20, 2022 at 5:07 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - A Winnebago County board member says Sheriff Gary Caruana’s appearance in a campaign advertisement for a Republican congressional candidate is an ethics violation.

Angela Fellars, a Democrat who represents the county’s 19th District, filed a complaint with Winnebago County Administrator Patrick Thompson, Board Chairperson Joe Chiarelli and State’s Attorney J. Hanley.

The controversy surrounds a campaign ad for Esther Joy King. In it, Caruana is wearing his uniform and standing in front of a Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department vehicle. Caruana says, “We need leaders in Washington that are going to support, not disparage, police officers. And I know that Esther Joy King will do a great job for us.”

Fellars and some local leaders say this goes against campaign ethics, citing that no government or municipal entity is allowed to use its logos to promote any candidate.

Caruana says his decision to promote King in commercials is solely based on public safety, pointing to her support of law enforcement. He added that while he supports Hanley’s decision to review the matter, he stands by his choice.

Hanley says his office is reviewing the information.

23 News reached out to the Esther Joy King campaign for comment but have not received a response.