- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 18, 2016

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - The Latest on the race for Utah governor (all times local):

3 p.m.

Gov. Gary Herbert’s campaign is dismissing criticism from Democratic challenger Michael Weinholtz that the Republican governor is selling access to the office by offering to meet with lobbyists in exchange for campaign donations.

Weinholtz on Wednesday pledged that he would not accept campaign donations from lobbyists or corporations as he runs for governor this year.

When asked to respond to the criticism, Herbert campaign manager Marty Carpenter said in a statement that the governor is focused on issues such as preparing students to succeed and strengthening the economy.

Herbert on Monday said he was disappointed in himself and his campaign for making the offer to lobbyists.

The Salt Lake Tribune published a recording of the governor making the offer.

___

12:05 p.m.

A supporter of a Republican challenger to Utah Gov. Gary Herbert wants an investigation into the incumbent’s campaign fundraising.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports (https://bit.ly/1ssjOhS) that Joshua Mills filed the complaint Monday, asking state officials to determine whether Herbert broke the law by expressing an eagerness to hold private meetings with lobbyists’ clients in exchange for donations.

Mills supports Overstock.com chairman Jonathan Johnson, who is challenging Herbert’s re-election bid. Both candidates are Republican.

Mills, a former Herriman mayor, says he shared the complaint with the Johnson campaign and they provided him with additional information about Utah law.

The governor said Monday he doesn’t believe his campaign has done anything unethical.

Marty Carpenter, Herbert’s campaign manager, described the complaint as an underhanded tactic.

___

11:35 a.m.

Democrat Michael Weinholtz says he won’t accept campaign donations from lobbyists or corporations as he runs for governor this year.

Weinholtz made the pledge Wednesday at a press conference where he criticized Gov. Gary Herbert for offering to meet with lobbyists in exchange for campaign donations as he faces a battle for the GOP nomination this summer.

After The Salt Lake Tribune published a recording of the Republican governor making the offer, Herbert said this week that he was disappointed in himself and his campaign.

Weinholtz says Herbert is selling access to the governor’s office.

Herbert’s campaign did not return a message seeking comment Wednesday. The governor says his offer wasn’t illegal or unethical and he has to raise money for his campaign because he’s not wealthy.

Weinholtz is a wealthy businessman who loaned his campaign $1 million.


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