Utah House Democrats accused of soliciting $$ from Capitol Hill offices

A file photo of the Utah State Capitol in Salt Lake City.

A file photo of the Utah State Capitol in Salt Lake City.

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Republican Party has accused the legislature’s House Minority Caucus of soliciting money for candidates from its Capitol Hill offices, a violation of ethics rules.

The Utah GOP accused the House Democrats of raising $87,558 and giving $51,900 to candidates for legislative office. Utah Republican Party Chairman James Evans said the Capitol Hill address was used to solicit funds and some of the candidates reported it on their disclosure forms as the source of funds.

He attached copies of fundraiser emails showing the Capitol Hill address in a message to FOX 13:

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In a statement, House Minority Leader Brian King, D-Salt Lake City, insisted they had not violated ethics rules.

“These are very significant allegations that all members of our caucus take extremely seriously. After reviewing the emails in question and JR6-1-103 with staff and legal counsel, we have determined that we are not and have never been in violation of Utah legislative ethics rules,” he said.

 “We do not accept and have never accepted campaign contributions for the Utah House Dems Leadership Council while on Capitol hill. It is unfortunate that the incorrect address was on several emails from the PAC, but at no time were funds collected on Capitol grounds. The Utah House Democratic Caucus Leadership has not breached any ethical rules.”

Evans called on the Democrats to return the money.

“We are calling on the Utah House Democratic leadership and its candidates to return all monies received in violation of Legislative Joint Rule 6 (JR6) and to stop abusing their positions by using public government offices for campaign purposes,” he said in a statement.

A spokeswoman for the Utah House Majority Caucus said Tuesday it was unaware of any Republicans calling for a legislative ethics investigation into the fundraising.