Responding to accusations by his opponent, a spokesman for Rep. Wayne Owens, D-Utah, said state and federal payroll taxes owed by the congressman's campaign were paid late.

In a press conference held outside Owens' downtown campaign headquarters, Republican challenger Richard Snelgrove criticized the congressman for carrying a debt since January to both the Internal Revenue Service and to the Utah State Tax Commission.But the late payments owed on campaign worker salaries paid through July were made by Sept. 30, according to a quarterly report on campaign finances filed with the Federal Elections Commission.

The Owens campaign had only one employee, a Washington, D.C., fund-raising consultant for all of the FEC's first-quarter reporting period, which ended April 15, and part of the second, which ended July 15, spokesman Art Kingdom said.

"Because there was only one person on the staff, it sort of fell through the cracks," Kingdom said of the taxes owed. The taxes were paid during the FEC's third-quarter reporting period, which ended Oct. 15.

The third-quarter FEC report shows that the Owens campaign paid the IRS a total of $6,050 and paid the state Tax Commission, more than $1,000 as of Sept. 30.

Kingdom said the amounts owed to both the federal government and the state for third-quarter taxes that were due on Monday had been paid. Unlike the quarterly FEC reports, which are due mid-month, both state and federal quarterly tax payments are due at the end of the month.

Because of the two-week lag, the taxes paid on Monday appeared on the most recent FEC report, which was due 12 days before the Nov. 8 general election, as campaign "debts and obligations" that were outstanding at the beginning of the reporting period.