sidener

Sidener, left, in 2010 at a Madison labor event.

The former head of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin is under police scrutiny after the drug overdose death of a woman at his Fitchburg home, according to a news report. 

Jason Sidener, 42, has not been arrested or charged with a crime. His home and car were searched in connection with the death last month of 30-year-old Monique E. Allen of Madison, the Wisconsin State Journal reported on Wednesday.

According to a search warrant filed this week, Sidener told police he took Allen to the St. Mary's Hospital emergency room on Sept. 12 after waking up and noticing she was breathing abnormally, suspecting she had used heroin. According to the report, she was already dead when he brought her to the hospital early that morning. Allen is survived by three children, according to her obituary.

Police found crack cocaine, needles, digital scales and documents with names and dollar amounts in their search of Sidener's home and vehicle, according to the State Journal report.

DPW spokeswoman Melanie Conklin said in a statement the party is "cooperating fully with police" and asked reporters to defer to their investigation.

"Here at the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, our employees are family and the news today has been heartbreaking," Conklin said. "Legal obligations keep us from commenting on personnel matters, but it was previously shared that our former Executive Director Jason Sidener, who started in the position in January of this year, took Family and Medical Leave in August. Last month, he returned to work only briefly before departing, citing that it would be the best thing for his health and that ‘the road to full recovery would be longer than expected.'"

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Sidener joined DPW as executive director on Jan. 1, after 13 years at AFSCME Council 32. His most recent position at the union was director of political action and member mobilization.

"Jason Sidener is an incredible addition to our team," DPW chairwoman Martha Laning said in a statement announcing his hiring. "He brings nearly two decades of political organizing, grassroots engagement, and progressive movement leadership to the Democratic Party of Wisconsin."

Sidener took a leave from the party in August. WisPolitics reported on Sept. 11 that he had returned to the job, then reported on Sept. 14 that he had resigned. The party is looking for two directors to fill the executive role. George Gillis currently serves as interim director.

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Jessie Opoien covers state government and politics for the Capital Times. She joined the Cap Times in 2013 and has also covered Madison life, race relations, culture and music. She has also covered education and politics for the Oshkosh Northwestern.