This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Washington • The Federal Election Commission has found that the Utah Democratic Party misstated its financial holdings, exceeded a contribution limit in two cases and failed to maintain records separating state from federal efforts in 2011 and 2012.
The violations were found during a routine audit and the party has not been fined so far.
The FEC says the Utah Democratic Party:
• Misstated its opening and closing cash amounts in 2011 and 2012, and also overstated its receipts in 2011;
• Failed to maintain monthly logs for some of its payroll showing how much staff spent on federal election issues in 2011 and 2012;
• Mixed federal and non-federal funds in the same bank account against FEC guidelines, though no non-federal money was used in federal races;
• And accepted contributions exceeding the federal limit from two political action committees and didn't refund those donations quickly enough.
Lauren Littlefield, the party's executive director, said the party has been "100 percent compliant since 2012" and said some of the confusion from the audit stems from the fact the party's previous top staffer, Todd Taylor, died in 2012 and wasn't able to explain how and why he had taken certain actions with the bank accounts or payroll records.
"The one person that we couldn't talk to was Todd Taylor," Littlefield said, noting she wasn't with the party in 2011 or 2012. "If Todd was here and able to explain what his thinking was it may be a different story here."
The FEC noted in the audit file that it had raised similar concerns about payroll records with the Vermont Democratic Party, the Dallas Comity Republican Party, the Democratic Party of South Carolina and the Republican Party of Iowa.
Littlefield says the audit shows mistakes were made in those two years but there was nothing nefarious and donors and supporters shouldn't be worried.
"There wasn't anything fraudulent going on," she said. "There was no misuse of funds in any way."