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Herbert Regrets Tone of Comments At Alta Club Fundraiser

Whittney Evans

Utah Governor Gary Herbert said Monday he regrets comments he made at a closed door breakfast at the Alta Club, where he told supporters he would go anywhere and meet with anyone to raise money for his campaign.

All three gubernatorial candidates were gathered Monday at a Utah Taxpayer’s event at the Grand America Hotel.

Herbert told reporters there he regrets the tone he used in the tape, but not the fundraising efforts which he said were legal and transparent.

“The money doesn’t just come in,” Herbert said. “You go visit people. You talk to businesses. You have fundraisers, whether it be a gala, whether it’s a golf tournament and you ask people for support. Look, I’m not a wealthy person.’

Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Jonathan Johnson called the audio sickening, and even compared it to hearing that NFL running back Ray Rice had been suspended for domestic violence.

“But when we saw the video of him, slugging his wife in the elevator, he’s out of the NFL. To me this tape is the same thing. It’s offensive to listen to,” Johnson said.

Johnson’s campaign is funded largely by CEO Patrick Byrne. Reporters asked Johnson if he’d considered Herbert to be at a disadvantage because he doesn’t have the help of a major donor.  

“He holds the governor’s gala last year and on one night raises $1.4 million. He has a significant advantage,” Johnson said.

Herbert’s Democratic Challenger Mike Weinholtz, who is largely funding his own campaign said trading face time for a check is not the ethical way to raise money.  

“It’s why we need campaign finance reform,” Weinholtz said. “It’s why we need ethics reform. And those are things that I would push for as governor.”

The tape was recorded without Herbert’s knowledge. It was obtained by the Salt Lake Tribune. In it he tells supporters he’ll give clients the results they want and refers to himself as Available Jones, a character in a Li’l Abner comic who is always available for a price.  

Whittney Evans grew up southern Ohio and has worked in public radio since 2005. She has a communications degree from Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky, where she learned the ropes of reporting, producing and hosting. Whittney moved to Utah in 2009 where she became a reporter, producer and morning host at KCPW. Her reporting ranges from the hyper-local issues affecting Salt Lake City residents, to state-wide issues of national interest. Outside of work, she enjoys playing the guitar and getting to know the breathtaking landscape of the Mountain West.
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