Republican Salt Lake County mayoral candidates dismiss financial disclosure allegations

Published: Tuesday, May 22 2012 7:47 p.m. MDT

Mike Winder reacts to getting 32 percent of the votes in the first round of balloting for Salt Lake County mayor at the Salt Lake County GOP convention at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, April 14, 2012. A complaint has been filed accusing him of violating campaign finance laws. Winder's campaign manager denies the allegation.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake County's Republican mayoral candidates say they'd prefer discussing issues over accusations.

Mike Winder and Mark Crockett have both been accused of problems with their financial disclosure. Last week, Crockett supporters have accused Winder of violating county campaign finance regulations and Winder's backers fired back with a formal complaint claiming Crockett's financial disclosure was "vague."

Crockett dismissed the allegations about his financial disclosure.

"It doesn't actually specify that we did anything wrong or that we violated any campaign rules," he said. "I would much rather be talking about more important things like how we fix the budget and the important improvements we can make in human services, but at least it's getting attention on the race, so I suppose that's something to be grateful for. "

Winder said the allegations against him were a "desperate" move by his opponent. Salt Lake County requires candidates to set up an account for their campaign donations, and prohibits them from transferring that money to a different account if they run for a different race.

Winder, who had an account set up in the event he ran for reelection for West Valley City mayor, said when he decided to run for Salt Lake County mayor, his campaign asked the county clerk about rules regarding donations.

"Last year, I didn't know what my 2012 plans were for sure, so of course I raised money and didn't set up a county account until we decided this January to run for county mayor," he said. "We talked to the county clerk's office for sure when we decided to run for county mayor."

Winder said he would address the allegations, but did not think they were substantive.

"These political hijinks going back and forth aren't of substance," he said. "This is just a desperate campaign on the Crockett side starting to throw out what they can to try to trip us up and it's not going to work."

He said his campaign has begun refunding donors who contributed to his West Valley City account and told them they could donate to his Salt Lake County account.

E-mail: hschwarz@desnews.com

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