Utah Advocacy Group Files Complaint Against Lee

The left-leaning group Alliance for a Better Utah has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, alleging Sen. Mike Lee accepted “straw donations” in his 2010 race for U.S. Senate.

The complaint says Lee and others, including former Attorney General John Swallow and accused fraudster Jeremy Johnson, conspired to to circumvent federal laws limiting campaign donations. The group also accuses Lee of taking improper campaign donations in the short sale of his home in Alpine.

The complaint says Swallow facilitated $50,000 in “straw donations” to Lee’s campaign from Jeremy Johnson by giving that money to others who then donated to Lee.

ABU also claims Ron McMillan, a donor to Lee’s campaign, bought Lee’s home in Alpine in a short sale, then turned around and rented another home to Lee, which is a “contribution of value” to Lee. ABU also claims JP Morgan Chase, who held the mortgage on Lee’s home, took a significant loss on the short sale, which may have been an unreported campaign contribution to Lee.

In a press release, ABU’s Maryann Martindale said:

“Campaign finance violations are an abuse of the public’s trust. This sort of behavior, on the heels of serious corruption in the Utah Attorney General’s Office, does immeasurable harm to Utah’s already low civic engagement rates. Whether Lee knew of these potential violations or not, he owes it to his constituents, the citizens of the State of Utah, to call for a full, complete and independent investigation into these allegations, to immediately return any illegal donations that are discovered, and to fully cooperate with the FEC and any other investigations into these matters.”