The Cannon campaign quietly settled the matter with the Federal Elections Commission last month. As part of the agreement, Cannon's treasurer, state Sen. Curt Bramble, and staffer Marco Diaz agreed to attend an FEC-sponsored seminar on campaign finance law.
That doesn't qualify as a slap on the wrist, said Cannon's chief of staff, Joe Hunter. It turned out to be much ado about nothing. The fact that there even was a settlement was simply the desire to put it behind us.
During an interview on May 22, 2004, on the Spanish-language radio program We The People, host Jose Libardo Rivera made an appeal for listeners, including those in the country illegally, to contribute to Cannon's campaign, which would violate federal election law.
We welcome this money, Diaz said in a translation accompanying the complaint, but you have to find someone who is legal in order to donate the money.
In his statement to the FEC, Cannon said he and Diaz, who was with him during the interview, tried to correct Rivera's misstatements, but the attempts were hijacked by the host. Diaz said he did not knowingly try to encourage people to break the law. Both also disputed the accuracy of the translation of the program.
The radio interview became fodder for attacks against Cannon from anti-immigration groups.
Russell Sias of Provo filed the complaint with the FEC. Sias was co-chairman of a group called Utahns for Immigration Reform and Enforcement, which supports strict enforcement of immigration laws, and has been part of the Utah Minuteman Project, which has staged citizen border patrols.
Cannon has been the sponsor of legislation authorizing a guest worker program, which would allow undocumented immigrants working in agriculture to earn citizenship. It has the backing of immigrant groups, but drew scathing criticism from opponents.
Bramble was required to attend the FEC seminar because he was Cannon's treasurer. He was not directly involved in the incident.
The FEC also has an ongoing audit of possible reporting irregularities in Cannon's 2004 campaign.