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FEC Complaint Names Senator Mike Lee for Alleged Campaign Violations

Brian Grimmett

Alliance for a Better UTAH has filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission, asking the FEC to investigate allegations that Utah Senator Mike Lee violated election laws.

The complaint stems from a search warrant request unsealed earlier this month, in which businessman Jeremy Johnson says he and former Utah Attorney General John Swallow helped launder about $50,000 for Mike Lee’s 2010 Senate Campaign. The complaint asks for an investigation into the alleged straw donations. It also highlights the short sale of Lee’s home in Alpine to Rob McMillan, a campaign donor. The allegation is that the home was sold at less than fair market value, resulting in a significant loss to Lee’s mortgage lender J.P. Morgan Chase.

Maryanne Martindale of the Alliance for a Better UTAH is the lead filer of the complaint. She says the public deserves a thorough investigation into whether these transactions constitute unreported campaign donations.

“Mike Lee has had sufficient time to research this himself, to come up with answers,” Martindale says. “We haven’t really gotten those. There may be legitimate answers, there may not be, but it’s time to really ask him to take responsibility for this.”

The complaint calls for an immediate investigation and enforcement action against Lee, as well as John Swallow and Jeremy Johnson for violations of the Federal Election Campaign Act. 

Senator Lee’s office declined an interview, but Press Secretary Emily Long sent a written statement to KUER saying, “At no time during or since the 2010 campaign, was Senator Lee or anyone associated with the Lee campaign aware of any unlawful contributions to the Lee campaign.”

In addition to the complaint, Martindale says she plans to request that Salt Lake and Davis County prosecutors refer the findings of their ongoing investigation to the FEC.

Andrea Smardon is new at KUER, but she has worked in public broadcasting for more than a decade. Most recently, she worked as a reporter and news announcer for WGBH radio. While in Boston, she produced stories for Morning Edition, Marketplace Money, and The World. Her print work was published in The Boston Globe and Prior to that, she worked at Seattleââ
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