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Utah GOP files campaign complaints against 3rd District challenger Soren Simonsen

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 16 2012 5:19 p.m. MDT

Soren Simonsen talks about his political ideas during his nomination speech at the state Democratic convention in Salt Lake City April 21, 2012. He is running for Congress in Utah's 3rd District.

Brian Nicholson, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Republican Party has filed complaints against Democratic congressional candidate Soren Simonsen, contending he hasn't complied with federal financial disclosure laws.

After filing a statement of candidacy on June 10, Simonsen should have filed a statement of organization by June 30, Utah GOP Vice Chairman Lowell Nelson wrote in a letter to the Federal Election Commission. Simonsen submitted the organizational statement on July 6, according to the FEC website.

Simonsen also did not file a July quarterly financial disclosure report.

The FEC acknowledged receipt of the complaint and said it would notify Nelson when it takes final action.

In a second letter to the House Ethics Committee, Nelson wrote that Simonsen did not file a personal financial disclosure form as required by federal law. Nelson also asked the committee to investigate the matter.

Simonsen, who currently serves as chairman of the Salt Lake City Council, is challenging two-term Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz in Utah's 3rd District. Simonsen blamed the missed deadlines and failure to file reports on an inexperienced campaign staff.

"There wasn't any ill intent," he said. "Those who were advising me were a little green at this."

Simonsen said he didn't submit a July quarterly campaign finance report because he hadn't reached the $5,000 threshold and was still getting his campaign committee registered.

He said he has now filed the required reports and believes he's compliant with election laws.

Simonsen did file the October quarterly report, which covers July, August and September. It shows he has raised $20,175, half of which came from the American Institute of Architects PAC. He has spent $14,282 and had $5,892 on hand.

"We've had a tough time raising money," he said, attributing that to a lack of interest in the race.

Chaffetz has raised more than $750,000 in the current election cycle and has about $145,000 in the bank.

E-mail: romboy@desnews.com Twitter: dennisromboy

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