Democrat Jacquelyn Orton failed to report campaign donations

Jacqueline Orton’s nascent legislative campaign has run afoul of Utah’s notoriously lax financial reporting laws even before she has officially filed to be a candidate.

Orton held a fundraiser on September 27 according to her campaign’s Facebook page but had not reported the donations from that event until the issue was brought to the campaign’s attention by on Wednesday.

State law requires a legislative candidate to report all donations within 30 days. 

When first asked about the missing financial reporting on Tuesday evening, Orton’s campaign initially claimed there was an issue with the state’s reporting system, which prevented them from detailing the financial contributions promptly.

20171102 Orton Fundraiser

That explanation was not exactly accurate.

According to the Utah Elections’ office, Orton’s campaign had registered an account with the state disclosure system in April but had not contacted the office to activate that account until Wednesday morning.

Orton’s campaign is facing possible fines for failing to report the donations. Campaigns are usually fined 10% of any donations not reported within 30 days of receipt. If those donations are not reported within 60 days, the fine goes up to 20% of the total.

Orton has already generated some controversy with her run to replace retiring Rep. Rebecca Chavez-Houck. Chavez-Houck told delegates at the Salt Lake County Convention in April that she was retiring, but had hoped to announce her own terms. Orton wasted no time in organizing a campaign to replace her, registering the Twitter handle @OrtonforHouse just nine days after learning Chavez-Houck was not running again. According to Orton’s campaign manager, Jorge Robles, Orton registered her financial disclosure account with the state elections office on April 13, five days after the county convention.

In an April story, Chavez-Houck seemed to be irked by Orton’s early campaign organizing efforts, saying she found her public announcement to be “not only unconventional but premature.”

Robles took responsibility for the late donations.

“I was out of town and missed the deadline. I am in the process of rectifying it. Jacquelyn is aware of the situation, and if there are any changes she’d like to make within the campaign she will make the appropriate adjustments,” said Robles.