[UPDATE: 3:45 PM 4-10-2014] The Foundation for Government Accountability has filed an elections complaint. Greene and Richardson have each issued statements condemning the letter. See below.
Even with the John Swallow scandal barely in our rear view mirror, deceptive campaign practices in Utah continue.
Utah county, where elections are decided at the Republican convention or primary, is already seeing dirty tricks.
A letter with Foundation for Government Accountability (“FGA”) letterhead received by Republican County Delegates this week has been found to be fraudulent. The letter purported to be from the Utah chapter of the FGA.
Tarren Bragdon, CEO of the government watchdog, has disavowed the letter to delegates in Legislative District 57, saying that someone was “fraudulently trying to present it as our information.”
A Utah County resident has filed a complaint regarding the letter with the Utah Elections office.
[UPDATE] The FGA has filed a complaint with the Utah Elections office. See below for the complaint.
The letter, sent only to Republican County Delegates, states that the FGA does not endorse candidates, but that representatives of the FGA have conducted interviews with individuals familiar with the candidates.
The letter paints a glowing portrait of one candidate–Representative Brian Greene, while it slams challengers Holly Richardson and John Glen Stevens.
In his email disavowing the letter, Bragdon reiterated that the letter had nothing to do with the Foundation for Government Accountability, nor does the FGA, a thinktank based out of Florida, have state chapters.
As the CEO of FGA, I can tell you that this is not a document that we produced and that someone is fraudulently trying to present it as our information. We never conduct candidate research, and we don’t have state chapters. Let me know if you need something more official from us to shut down this misinformation with our logo.
In a letter posted on their website, FGA General Counsel Jonathan Bechtle issued the following statement:
Representative Brian Greene also responded to the letter:
I was disappointed to learn of the controversy involving a recent deceptive letter received by some of the delegates in my district. I can assure you that neither I nor anyone working on my campaign are responsible for that letter. It’s upsetting to me that distractions like this continue to occur in and around the House District 57 race. Regardless of whether it is the fake Twitter account set up under my name that portrays me in a negative light, or an anonymous letter that portrays me in a favorable light, I categorically condemn all such tactics in political campaigns.
Holly Richardson also responded to the letter:
While I continue to be disappointed in shadowy campaign tactics, I am confident the delegates of District 57 will not fall for such nonsense.