- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 24, 2018

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - A Sioux Falls mayoral candidate said she’s been the target of several hacking attempts on her campaign and personal email, bank accounts and social media.

Jolene Loetscher filed a formal complaint with the city’s law enforcement last week. Her opponent, Paul TenHaken, denied any wrongdoing.

Loetscher said the attempted tampering started about two months after announcing her bid for mayor in South Dakota’s largest city.

The hacking began with her Twitter and Instagram accounts, followed by her secured Wi-Fi accessed by someone without authorization. Loetscher was later locked out of her campaign bank account after the login was changed.

Loetscher said during a mayoral debate Monday that TenHaken once left her a voicemail alleging he had the tools to hack her campaign. TenHaken acknowledged he has the skills, but said he’s against using a negative campaigning approach.

“When I talk about tools in the toolbox, what I mean is negative campaign tools,” he said. “I had dirt on every single candidate, all seven candidates. I don’t do that.”

TenHaken said the state Division of Criminal Investigation cleared him of any wrongdoing.

An investigation is underway, according to Minnehaha County Sheriff Mike Milstead.

He said the complaint was first brought to the attention of the Sioux Falls Police Department, and then passed on to the county sheriff’s office and the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation.

The investigation could take weeks or longer, Milstead said.

The two candidates are in the final days of the mayoral race, and will face each other in a runoff election next week.

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