This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2015, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
With the recent news that Sen. Mike Lee appears to have scared off potential Republican opponents with his ability to raise a boatload of money from special-interest groups, here's one for the be-careful-who-your-friends-are department.
Lee has been actively engaged in fundraising for his 2016 re-election bid ever since he won his first term in 2010.
He is prolific in sending out fundraising letters urgently asking like-minded patriots to donate to him right away so he can stop President Barack Obama from doing whatever the last bad thing he did.
The onslaught of mailers began shortly after Lee unsuccessfully sought the Federal Election Commission's authority to set up his own super political-action committee (PAC) to raise money for fellow conservative candidates.
But aggressive money-chasing tactics can attract, shall we say, colorful characters.
The Justice Department announced recently that Tyler Harber, principal of the consulting firm Harden Global, of Alexandria, Va., pleaded guilty to breaking a federal law that bars candidates and super PACs which can raise unlimited sums from individuals, corporations and labor unions from sharing staff or strategy.
He acknowledged coordinating $325,000 in contributions by a PAC to a congressional campaign committee. It was the first criminal prosecution in the U.S. for campaign-finance coordination between a super PAC and a campaign committee.
The Sunlight Foundation, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing transparency in government and politics, did some digging into Harber's other fundraising activities and guess what they found?
During the 2014 midterm election cycle, Harber's firm worked for six Republican Senate campaigns, including Lee's fundraising efforts.
The other Senate campaigns that hired Harber were for Republicans David Clements of New Mexico, Sid Dinsdale of Nebraska, Shak Hill of Virginia, James Lankford of Oklahoma and David Perdue of Georgia.
For Lee, according to Harden Global's financial disclosures, Harden coordinated fundraising efforts and was paid $77,781.53 between Dec. 31, 2013, and June 30, 2014, Sunlight found.
There is no evidence or accusation of anything amiss in the fundraising for Lee or the other five mentioned in Sunlight's report.
The charge against Harber arose from his work as campaign manager for Chris Perkins, a Virginia Republican who ran unsuccessfully in 2012 against Democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly, while at the same time directing a super PAC that supported Perkins by running so-called "independent ads" criticizing Perkins' rival.
Snowy sprinklers • I wrote in Friday's column that the Salt Lake City IRS office at 50 S. 200 East was seen watering the snow in front of the building on tax day, April 15, when folks have taxes on their mind and wonder about government waste.
I since have learned that the building is owned by the LDS Church, which would have control of the sprinkling system.
So, a waste of tithing money perhaps?