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Cannon fails to file reports on finances

Published: Thursday, May 1 2008 12:15 a.m. MDT

PROVO — U. S. Rep. Chris Cannon, R-Utah, failed to file campaign financial reports to the Federal Election Commission by the April 28 deadline.

Cannon's campaign manager, Ryan Frandsen, said there was confusion about the date the reports were due and that the reports will be filed today.

"It's just an oversight on our part," he said.

Jason Chaffetz, one of two fellow Republicans challenging the incumbent's bid for renomination and a chance to seek a seventh term, said the failure to file on time shows an inability to get things done in the Cannon office.

"It demonstrates my point that they are unable to do the most basic things," Chaffetz said.

He added: "The rest of us are playing by the rules. You would think a six-term incumbent would understand how this is supposed to work."

Although Chaffetz is perturbed that Cannon didn't file on time, David Leavitt, the other Republican challenger, said it doesn't matter that much.

"We probably — we certainly need to be more tolerant in politics," Leavitt said. "It's nothing malicious, everyone's running hard and working hard, and I just don't think it's a big deal."

Frandsen said the late filing will come with a fee, an amount they don't know yet but won't have further consequences for the campaign.

At the last state campaign finance filing date, April 15, Cannon reported he had raised $528,732, had spent $105,358 and had $127,580 cash on hand with $199,264 in outstanding debt thus far in the campaign.

Leavitt, the brother of former Utah governor Mike Leavitt and former Juab County attorney, had raised $185,438 as of April 15 and had about $85,000 cash on hand. According to Leavitt's latest federal filing — submitted on April 20, a week before the deadline — he's raised a total of $386,492 and has $44,212 cash on hand. He has $131,824 in outstanding debt.

Chaffetz, a former chief of staff for Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr., had raised $90,609 as of the state's April 15 reporting date and had $42,859 cash on hand. His latest federal filing — also submitted a week early on April 20 — reported a total of $92,523 raised and $33,536 cash on hand. Chaffetz is the only candidate with no outstanding debt.

Chaffetz said he's proud to disclose his financial report.

"How you run your campaign is very indicative of how you're going to be in office," he said.

Leavitt, however, said mistakes happen in campaigns.

"We knew he (Cannon) hadn't filed it, but we take him at his word that they miscalculated the time," Leavitt said.

The federal filing deadline came just over a week before the next state filing deadline of May 5. The state Republican Party Convention is scheduled for May 10.

Cannon needs to garner 60 percent of the delegate vote at the convention to win renomination outright. Leavitt or Chaffetz could also win the nomination outright by reaching the 60 percent threshold. Cannon could be forced out of office if he comes in third in the delegate balloting, since only the top two delegate vote-getters advance to the primary election if an outright nominee is not selected.


Contributing: Tad Walch and Suzanne Struglinski

E-mail: csmith@desnews.com

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