Just days before Saturday’s Utah County Republican Convention, a two page letter has been sent to Republican Delegates of House District 57 from the Florida based Foundation for Government Accountability (FGC), praising incumbent Representative Brian Greene (Republican – Pleasant Grove), and attacking Greene’s Republican opponents, Holly Richardson and John Glen Stevens.
However, the FGC has formally denied sending the letter to delegates, noting that as a 501c3 nonprofit entity, it would violate election law and threaten the organization’s tax exempt status for them to send out such a mailer.
Jonathan Bechtle, General Council for the FGC, penned a letter to Lieutenant Governor Spencer Cox (Republican) on Thursday, calling for an investigation into the matter. In that the letter Bechtle called the campaign mailer a “blatantly false representation…[which] likely also damages the reputations of one or more of the candidates mentioned in the letter.”
“Anyone who would steal an organization’s identity is also likely to be less than truthful in their statements about candidates,” the letter concluded.
The mysterious mailer was first reported by Utah Politico Hub, and promoted Representative Greene’s “extensive resume,” and heaped lavish praise on his job performance during his first two legislative sessions. The mailer also quoted praise from Greene’s “employees, coworkers and business partners,” claiming that they said Greene is a “great mentor, hardworking, [and that] they almost all used the word ‘trustworthy’ when describing [Greene].”
Greene’s opponents, however, do not fare as well.
The mailer hit former state lawmaker Holly Richardson, who is challenging Greene for the seat, with a “potential red flag” after Richardson chose to vacate her seat to assist in an ultimately unsuccessful bid by former state senator, Dan Liljenquist (Republican) to run for United States Senate. The mailer also claims that the FGC “contacted several legislators who served with her on committees and others who serve in the House. Most responded with disbelief [to these actions].” The mailer also stated that Richardson “scored surprisingly moderate on legislative scoring groups we studied,” an obvious play to the ultra-conservative bent common among Utah County Republican delegates.
And not to leave anyone out, the mailer also took shots at Greene’s other GOP challenger, John Stevens, claiming FGC is “disappointed in the inaccuracies…found in [Stevens’] resume.” It goes on in length about what it claims is a stretching of the truth in regards to Stevens ’employment with The Bank of England, accusing him of participating in a “pay for play” program while at the financial institution. It also questions the status Stevens’ mortgage licence and educational history.
The mailer concludes that Greene is the best option for delegates, and encourages their support of him.
This is not the first time highly questionable campaign activities have struck House District 57, which encompasses the Pleasant Grove area of Utah County. In 2012, both Greene and Stevens were accused of illegally removing their opponents’ campaign signs prior to the primary election, which Greene would ultimately win. According to a 2012 article in The Daily Herald, Stevens’ campaign manager said that over 400 of their campaign signs had been stolen in six weeks, while Greene’s camp accused city workers up removing his campaign signs.
As Utah Political Capitol noted yesterday, Richardson is currently winning the fundraising battle, raising $15,000 to Stevens’ $6,000 and Greene’s $5,000. With just hours remaining in the intraparty battle, it is unclear what, if any, effect the questionable mailer will have on delegates.