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Elections office rejects request to disqualify Herbert

Published March 22, 2012 6:18 pm

Politics • Utahn claims PAC used to finance campaign.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Lt. Gov. Greg Bell's office rejected a request Thursday to disqualify Bell and his boss, Gov. Gary Herbert, from the 2012 ballot because of alleged campaign finance violations.

Steve Maxfield, a Kanosh resident, has pressed the lieutenant governor for years to declare that the Herbert campaign broke the law by financing his 2010 bid for governor largely from his political action committee, rather than an official campaign committee.

"The argument is: He's statutorily not qualified because he's been continuing to use the PAC," Maxfield said. "At the end of the day, I've asked [Bell] to rule whether he can use a PAC to avoid the campaign filings."

Maxfield filed his objections to Herbert's candidacy on Tuesday, alleging the governor's conflict of interest form that accompanies the filing was misleading, that his campaign had skirted campaign finance laws and submitted an incomplete filing in 2011.

But Mark Thomas, director of elections, rejected the complaint, stating that the conflict of interest form cannot be contested under the law. And, Bell said, the report the governor submitted last week only applies to upcoming disclosures, not those from past elections.

"It's good they made a decision because we'll be able to review that and move forward on it," Maxfield said. "I think it is progress, at least."

Maxfield said that after reviewing the opinion he will decide whether to appeal the ruling to state district court.