- Associated Press - Thursday, April 17, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Utah elections officials say they don’t know who in recent weeks mailed legislative endorsements and attacks purporting to represent a nonprofit group.

The mailers went to Republican delegates in advance of the Utah County Republican Convention, said Mark Thomas, elections director at the lieutenant governor’s office.

“We are doing what we can” to find the letter’s creator, Thomas told the Daily Herald, adding that his office doesn’t have many leads but will work with the attorney general’s office. “There’s not much to go off of.”

Anonymous apology notes later reached the office and candidates, Thomas said.

The original mailers said they represented views of the Foundation for Government Accountability, a nonprofit that advocates for health and welfare reforms nationwide.

They praised Rep. Brian Greene, R-Pleasant Grove, and criticized one of his challengers, Holly Richardson.

Foundation leaders said they hadn’t crafted such a mailing and asked the lieutenant governor’s office to find out who did.

Such false claims could bring misdemeanor charges if investigators find the letter’s creator, the Daily Herald reports (https://bit.ly/1hORazo).

An unsigned fax apologizing for sending the fraudulent letter came in to the lieutenant governor’s office Friday. It arrived from a FedEx Office store in Orem, but Thomas said he didn’t know if that would help determine who sent it.

A similar apology showed up in delegate mailboxes earlier this week, including Richardson’s.

Richardson said she isn’t sure whether the mailers affected convention delegates before Saturday, when she was eliminated in the first round of balloting.

“It’s disappointing that people feel like this is a way to win a campaign, through these negative hit pieces,” she said.

Richardson has found evidence she plans to turn in to the lieutenant governor’s office this week, she added.

Greene says his campaign staffers said they didn’t craft or transmit the letters. None of his supporters, he added, indicated to him that they would, either.

Greene says he was the target of another hoax prior to the convention: A fake Twitter account in his name sent out false statements on issues, he contends.

Thomas, the elections director, didn’t say when he expects the investigation to wrap up. He noted the office may need more evidence or stronger leads.

___

Information from: The Daily Herald, https://www.heraldextra.com

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide