East St. Louis city clerk charged with misdemeanor election interference

The East St. Louis city clerk has been charged with misdemeanor election interference.

City Clerk Debra Hamilton-Tidwell, 67, is accused of using her official title and signature along with city letterhead during an ad campaign to promote her re-election, according to authorities.

She faces one count of election interference, a Class B misdemeanor, in St. Clair County court.

When reached by phone Friday, Hamilton-Tidwell referred questions to her lawyer, who could not immediately be reached for comment.

Hamilton-Tidwell previously spoke to a columnist for the St. Louis American newspaper this month about an allegation that she used official city clerk letterhead to solicit campaign donations in violation of state law.

The March 4 column stated that Hamilton-Tidwell told the columnist she was unaware of the violation and has ceased using the letterhead in her solicitations.

The Illinois State Police Division of Criminal Investigation Special Investigations Unit started investigating an election allegation against Hamilton-Tidwell on Feb. 6, the agency stated Friday in a news release.

The St. Clair County State’s Attorney’s office approved the charge on Wednesday, and Hamilton-Tidwell surrendered herself to the St. Clair County Sheriff’s office on Thursday.

She has been released from custody after posting bond. Her first court appearance is scheduled for June 1.

Illinois State Police said Friday the investigation was open and ongoing and no further information would be released.