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Herbert, Johnson Spar Over Campaign Donors

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With the Republican Party gubernatorial primary approaching on June 28, incumbent Gov. Gary Herbert and challenger Jonathan Johnson have taken aim at each other’s campaign donation sources.

Herbert has come under criticism after a leaked recording featured the incumbent making promises to lobbyists who gave to his campaign, calling himself ‘Available Jones.’ 

At an event last week in Logan, Herbert said that his campaign team has been completely transparent in disclosing donations.

“We have been open and transparent, we’ve been very willing to as soon as we get donations say who they’ve come from. For all the criticism I receive from my opponent, he’s doing the same thing,” Herbert said. “He, in fact, has said, ‘I’ve talked to the same business people that the Governor’s talked to.’ So, evidently, going and meeting with them, being available to talk with them, is okay. The only difference is, he says he’s not receiving any donations and has found some way to blame me for that.”

Johnson’s campaign has been greatly helped by contributions from Overstock.com founder Patrick Byrne who gave $250,000 in both May and June. Johnson said that Herbert has not been fully up front about promises made to campaign donors.

“Frankly, I never looked at his financial disclosures until this ‘Available Jones’ comment. Then, I’ve seen that his request to the moneyed elite was that he needed a million dollars in a six-week period. He was able to raise that and I think it’s because he promised access and he promised favors,” Johnson said. “I don’t think he’s been transparent in saying what he’ll do for that money. I think you don’t get caught the first time you do something. To me, I think this is probably been part and parcel of his administration for quite some time.”

Herbert’s campaign raised over $1,267,000 since April.