Ethics Watchdog Calls for Probe of U.S. House Candidate in Utah
Updated: May 21, 2020
Evidence Shows Mary Burkett Illegally Coordinated with 501(c)(4) Group to Campaign on Her Behalf
Washington, D.C.—April 22, 2020—Today, the non-partisan ethics watchdog, the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) seeking an investigation into Mary Burkett (candidate for U.S. House in Utah), Burkett for Utah (her campaign committee), and Stronger America Fund Inc. (a 501(c)(4) non-profit) for an illegal in-kind contribution in the form of a coordinated communication.
According to the complaint, in April 2020, Stronger America Fund distributed a text message in opposition of Burkett’s competitor. The disclosure said the message was paid for by Stronger America Fund Inc., which lists Patrick Krason as Incorporator and Governor.
In response to the text message, Mary Burkett took to Facebook to claim that she has no connection to Stronger America Fund and the negative messages it was broadcasting about her competitor. Yet, she explained that Patrick Krason worked for her campaign in 2019 doing “campaign manager” tasks and also continued to work for her campaign as a “volunteer.”
In the month before the text message was sent, Krason was listed as the campaign’s media contact on a press release, and after the text message was sent, Krason was identified as the campaign’s Treasurer in FEC filings. Thus, the two entities were affiliated with the same individual, Patrick Krason, during the time Stronger America Fund disseminated and paid for the text message beneficial to Burkett.
“The law applicable here has three criteria for coordination, and it appears all have clearly been met. (1) The text message was paid for by an outside group; (2) it was beneficial to the campaign, and; (3) the campaign and outside group shared a common vendor, independent contractor, or employee-- in this case, Patrick Krason,” said Kendra Arnold, Executive Director of FACT. “As such, we request that the FEC investigate immediately and impose any necessary penalties,” added Arnold.
A full copy of the complaint, including an image of the Stronger America Fund text communication, can be found here.
FACT is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting accountability, ethics, and transparency in government and civic arenas. For more on FACT, visit: www.factdc.org