An e-mail to Lt. Gov. Gary Herbert corroborates a political candidate's charge that he was offered a raise to drop out of the race for state treasurer.
The Salt Lake Tribune reported Thursday that Zions Bank executive Carl Empey sent an e-mail to Herbert on June 2. In the e-mail, Empey says deputy treasurer Richard Ellis' accusations against Rep. Mark Walker, a Sandy Republican, are true. The newspaper obtained the e-mail through a public records request.
Walker's campaign manager contends that the e-mail proves nothing involving his candidate. Walker also accuses Ellis of soliciting the job offer.
Empey had been the go-between in a series of March exchanges between the two Republican candidates, who face a Tuesday primary. Whoever wins the Republican nomination will likely win in the general election.
Walker had worked at the same bank as Empey until he resigned at the end of March to campaign full-time. Empey advises the state on financial matters and has known Ellis for more than a decade
Ellis has alleged that Walker offered to let Ellis keep his deputy treasurer job and give him a raise if he dropped out of the race. The current state treasurer, Ed Alter, makes $104,000 a year. Ellis and Empey say Walker offered Ellis $160,000.
"Mr. Walker came up and visited with me on many occasions and discussed the idea, the salary amount and asked me to pass it along to Mr. Ellis for his consideration," Empey wrote in his e-mail.
"It wasn't until March 17 that Mr. Ellis and myself became aware that this activity was improper under state statute," Empey wrote. "At that point, Mr. Ellis stopped the consideration and discussions and decided to run and not withdraw from the election."
Ellis contends that Walker told him he could secure the raise because of his connections in the Legislature.
The e-mail was sent to Herbert so he could determine if an investigation by the attorney general's office is warranted. Herbert has declined to decide on the matter until after the primary, saying he doesn't want to influence the outcome of the election. The state Supreme Court refused to order Herbert to make a decision before the primary.
While Walker has said he told Ellis he would be able to keep his job if elected, he denies offering him a raise.
Walker's campaign manager, Steve Hunter, says the only thing the e-mail proves is that Ellis and Empey violated the law.
"These guys are toast. What it does is incriminate Richard Ellis and Carl Empey," Hunter said. "They were complicit in a job offer and soliciting a job offer both are illegal under state law."