Demos accuse Crockett of campaign misconduct
Party alleges that the GOP candidate took too much money from donors three times.
Published: September 19, 2012 07:44AM
Updated: January 7, 2013 11:31PM
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Chris Detrick | The Salt Lake Tribune Former Salt Lake County Councilman Mark Crockett talks with his supporters at his home in Salt Lake City on Tuesday June 26, 2012. Crockett is clinging to a 239-vote lead over West Valley City Mayor Mike Winder in the race for the Republican nomination for county mayor. The winner with face Democrat Ben McAdams in the fall for county mayor’s seat.

The Salt Lake County Democratic Party filed a complaint Tuesday accusing Mark Crockett, the Republican candidate for Salt Lake County mayor, with violating campaign finance laws.

Crockett will face Democrat Ben McAdams on Nov. 6 in what is likely to be one of Utah’s closer elections.

In the complaint submitted to the County Clerk’s Office, the Democrats cited three instances in which Crockett collected more than $6,000 from a single donor in alleged violation of the county’s campaign finance law.

Those contributions, based on the Democrats’ reviews of Crockett’s finance disclosure forms from Monday, June 19 and April 5, included $8,000 each from Barbara Allen and Diana Peterson and $7,500 from C.R. England Trucking Co.

“We have campaign finance laws for a reason — to prevent a wealthy few from buying an election,” said county Democratic Party Chairman Richard Jaramillo. “Crockett touts his experience at managing complex, billion-dollar deals, but voters should doubt that expertise if he can’t follow basic campaign finance rules.”

Crockett campaign chairman Randy O’Hara declined late Tuesday to address the complaint, which he had not seen.

But earlier in the day, before the complaint was filed, Crockett responded to questions from The Salt Lake Tribune about two C.R. England contributions listed in Monday’s disclosure report.

He said county campaign finance rules divide a campaign into three cycles — before county conventions, before the primary election and before the general election — and allow candidates “to raise [money] three cycles in advance on a rolling basis.”

C.R. England’s donations were made during different cycles, Crockett said, allowing the excess $1,500 to be applied to the cycle after the general election.

Jaramillo said questions previously were raised about Crockett’s campaign finances before his June primary against West Valley City Mayor Mike Winder and in county races in 2004 and 2006.

“These repeated violations show that either Mr. Crockett can’t manage his campaign’s finances or he simply doesn’t think the rules apply to him,” he added, “both of which are concerning to see from a candidate for county mayor.”

mikeg@sltrib.comTwitter: @sltribmikeg