Republican Madison County Councilman David McCartney said during an interview on Friday that his exchange of sexually explicit emails with a female county assessor was designed to uncover corruption here and was definitely not part of an affair.

McCartney is accused of conducting election campaign activities on county time and sending sexually explicit emails using his county account.

In one email dated Feb. 21, McCartney wrote, “You are too sweet, just so happens you taste sweet as well.”

In another email sent to an employee in the prosecutor’s office talking about a recent conference, McCartney referred to $50 steaks and free beer, “not to mention all the hot (pieces) of (expletive).”

An investigation into McCartney’s emails has been launched by attorney Jim Wilson, hired by the Madison County human resources office.

McCartney is challenging incumbent North District County Commissioner John Richwine in the May primary.

Sending explicit emails violates the county’s personnel policy. Conducting campaign activities using county equipment and on county time is also a violation of county personnel policies.

McCartney said he still hasn’t read those policies.

The councilman could not say exactly when he devised his plan and enlisted the help of the assessor in another county, but he called it “a risk I was willing to take for the taxpayers.”

The woman could not be reached at her office Friday to verify McCartney’s account.

McCartney characterized himself as the victim of a political vendetta being waged against him and other county officials such as Councilmen Mike Gaskill, Mike Phipps and Rick Gardner and County Recorder Angela Shelton, who want to drastically reduce the size of county government.

McCartney, who is married, said he is not involved in an improper relationship with the assessor from another county.

“In order to catch a traitor, you have to be a traitor,” he said.

While some may question his tactics, McCartney said he was motivated by concern for the taxpayers.

“We are trying to make a difference in the little pond of Madison County,” he said. “You can get rid of us. You can question the way I did this.” But more people who share his small-government views will emerge, he said. “People are just tired.”

As for the apparent violations of county rules on campaigning, McCartney pleaded ignorance and apologized.

McCartney’s boss, County Assessor Larry Davis, said he was disappointed and somewhat shocked by McCartney’s actions. Davis also said he was not notified of the investigation.

“I’m a direct supervisor and I think I should have been included, and I was not,” Davis said.

“I’m sure there will be some disciplinary action,” Davis said. He has also requested copies of the emails.

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