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SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah banking lobby, adept at using the local media for credit union attacks, has picked on a Washington agency, the Federal Election Commission, to rehash charges of campaign finance irregularities in the 2002 successful election bid of U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop, R. Utah. In a complaint brought by an opponent of the CU-backed Bishop, the Utah League of Credit Union was accused of violating spending limits, a charge refuted by League officials as “totally without merit.” The complaint filed before the FEC last August but aired in the Salt Lake newspapers two weeks ago, was brought by Seldon Young, an ally of Kevin Garn, the Utah banker and former House Majority Leader defeated by Bishop. The Young complaint was contained in a letter sent to the FEC which the League had responded to in September and hence the matter was basically considered “put to bed” barring enforcement action by the FEC. None has been forthcoming or expected, said the League. Young had charged Utah CUs spent thousands more in helping Bishop and his campaign than the $120,000 that was reported. Scott Simpson, senior vice president of government affairs for the League, said the complaint comes from the belief that the League sent every credit union member in the First Congressional District an election mailing. In actuality, the only credit union members who received the mailing were those who had been identified as likely voters, Simpson said. In the Salt Lake Tribune article which labeled the FEC complaint an “investigation,” Young also alleged Bishop received a $40,000 signature loan from America First CU in Ogden, one week before the primary. America First said the loan was legal and met all statutory requirements. “I guess you could say this is the start of the political season” noted an America First spokesman citing the state legislature resuming business in January. -

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