Now Winder backer fires back at Crockett camp
Politics • Former county commissioner questions rival’s expenditures and even a cookie giveaway.
Published: May 22, 2012 08:33AM
Updated: May 22, 2012 01:10PM
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Kim Raff | The Salt Lake Tribune Salt Lake County mayoral candidate Mark Crockett insists his campaign finance disclosures are as detailed as required by law — despite questions being raised by a supporter of his GOP rival, Mike Winder.

It’s payback time in the Republican runoff for Salt Lake County mayor.

Former County Commissioner Brent Overson, a supporter of GOP candidate Mike Winder, filed a formal complaint Friday with the County Clerk’s Office, alleging that the campaign financial-disclosure forms of Republican primary opponent Mark Crockett were too vague, lacking descriptions of specific expenditures.

Overson said it was in retribution for a complaint a Crockett backer filed last week against Winder, accusing the West Valley City mayor of mixing funds between his city and county campaigns and raising and spending money before he declared his candidacy for county mayor.

“Fair is fair. [Crockett’s] not completely disclosing everything, either. … If we’re going to be sniping at each candidate’s heals, let’s put it all on the table,” said Overson, a county commissioner from 1993 to 2001, when the current mayor-council form of government took effect.

“At the county, sometimes I think we get tied up in things that don’t matter a lot,” he added. “When I saw that Mark Crockett was raising questions about Mike Winder’s campaign, I thought, ‘Let’s focus on the issues, not financial disclosure.’ ”

Crockett, a former county councilman, said Monday afternoon that he had not seen Overson’s complaint, which County Clerk Sherrie Swensen had forwarded Friday to the Crockett campaign, giving it up to 14 days to respond.

Winder, whose form was challenged first, also has up to 14 days to respond.

Crockett said his latest report, filed as required a week before the April 14 Salt Lake County Republican Convention, was as detailed as the law requires.

“If there’s anything that needs to be changed, we will,” he said. “I’ve had an accountant look over it. I’m not aware of anything wrong with it.”

Overson’s complaint centered on the fact that almost 90 percent of the expenditures disclosed by Crockett went to O’Hara & Associates, a firm run by Crockett campaign manager Randy O’Hara.

Six expenditures totaling $27,150 went to O’Hara & Associates as reimbursement for campaign expenses and personnel, Crockett’s campaign form showed.

Overson also questioned Crockett’s handouts of Great Harvest cookies to delegates at the county convention. “This was a nice gesture and something I had not seen before,” Overson said. “Since then, I have been wondering how much money he spent on purchasing these cookies.”

Crockett said the expenditures were made to O’Hara & Associates because O’Hara did all of the campaign work.

“Buying signs, buying radio ads, buying mailers — and cookies,” he said. “Those four things are just about all the money we’ve spent. Plus there’s some for his time.”

The Republican primary is June 26. The winner will face Democrat Ben McAdams, a state senator, in November.

mikeg@sltrib.comTwitter: @sltribmikeg