State Democratic Chairman Randy Horiuchi accused Republican Chairman Craig Moody of "irresponsibility beyond belief and recklessness that is truly frightening," during a press conference Friday afternoon.
Horiuchi verbally flayed Moody for filing an ethics complaint against Rep. Wayne Owens, D-Utah Thursday.Horiuchi said the complaint - which accuses Owens of illegally using "outside money" in preparing his CUP bill - is a frivolous charge intended to damage Owens' chance for re-election.
Why did the Republicans file the complaint now instead of several months ago when the press first revealed the problem? Horiuchi asked. "Wayne and I will expect a public, face-to-face apology of tremendous proportions."
Moody was unperturbed by Horiuchi's criticisms."I have had three sets of attorneys look at this complaint," he said in a later interview. "They tell us there is clearly a violation. There is no question. I believe Wayne Owens knows that what he did was wrong. Now he is trying to find a way, with Randy's help, to shift the focus from the ethics issue we filed complaint on."
Horiuchi has known for months the complaint would be filed, Moody said. The Republicans announced in June they would file the complaint as soon as the CUP funding was secured.
"Had we filed it sooner and the CUP funding failed in any way, Randy Horiuchi would point the finger at the Republicans, saying we cost Utah the funding," Moody said. "We held off until the CUP funding issue was out of the way and addressed the complaint as soon as the funding was no longer in question."
The complaint against Owens said his friend, former law partner and campaign manager, Kenley W. Brunsdale, participated in the drafting of Owens' CUP bill. Brunsdale, according to the complaint, had assigned office space and, in effect, functioned as Owens' staff member. But Brunsdale is a part-time lobbyist for Utah Power and Light, which has a strong interest in how electricity from CUP is distributed.
Horiuchi had a large, filthy kitchen sink sitting on the table in front of him during his press conference at State Democratic Headquarters Friday afternoon.
The sink was there, he said, because after everything else the Republicans have thrown at the Democrats, they have finally thrown the kitchen sink.
Horiuchi said this year's political races were the dirtiest he has seen in his 14 years in politics. He blamed the Republicans for the mudslinging.
Moody laughed when he heard Horiuchi's claim. "Ask him if this year's races are worse than the one he was talking about in the last election. He said that race was the ugliest race in the entire universe. Randy is good at painting pictures of ugly. When Gunn McKay makes charges, that's good Democratic strategy, but when Republicans ask Democrats to be accountable, that is mudslinging."
Horiuchi cited two incidents in Cache County that he claimed were proof of organized Republican mudslinging.
When the wife of Frank Prante, D-Logan, had a miscarriage, rumors circulated that she had had an abortion, he said. Under queries from the press, Horiuchi emphatically insisted those rumors were circulated by Republicans.
Horiuchi also said he was compared to Nazi War Criminal Joseph Goebbels in a letter printed in the Herald Journal newspaper. The letter, he said, had been written by a Republican.
When a reporter reminded him that he had referred to Attorney General David L. Wilkinson's tenure in office as "an evil reign of terror," Horiuchi acknowledged that Democrats had slung mud, too.
"It's time for us to stop. Let's get back to the issues."