Republican Party leaders had better watch out because their attack on Rep. Wayne Owens, D-Utah, could come back to harm them and their party, Democratic State Chairman Randy Horiuchi warned Friday.
On Thursday, GOP State Chairman Craig Moody said the state party will file a complaint before the U.S. House Ethics Committee against Owens, Utah's only Democratic member of Congress.Moody said Owens violated House ethics in his relationship with a UP&L lobbyist and Owens' work on the Central Utah Project reauthorization bill. Owens vigorously denies any wrongdoing.
Horiuchi said, "There is no basis for such a complaint, there is no substance for it, the press has already looked into this matter and found nothing and, finally, this (omplaint) is just a cheap retaliation for the FEC's investigation of the Utah State Republican Party and Wayne has nothing to do with that."
The Federal Election Commission is winding down its investigation, started at the request of Owens in 1986, over whether the state GOP inappropriately provided financial aid to Tom Shimizu, who was running against Owens, in the 2nd Congressional District race. Moody says the party did nothing wrong and that the FEC investigation will soon end. He also denies that the ethics complaint has anything to do with the FEC investigation.
"We've heard rumors that the Republicans would pull something like this against Wayne. We're just glad they tipped their hand now, so it can be dismissed, as it will be, before the election," said Horiuchi.
"I'm astounded and amused that they couldn't get one, not one, U.S. congressman to file this complaint for them. Moody has to do it himself. Well, I warn Mr. Moody, he'd better watch out. He just might get his little fanny burned on this one," Horiuchi said.