KAYSVILLE -- A Kaysville resident has filed a formal complaint with the state Elections Office against Kaysville Citizens for Responsible Government, claiming the political action committee is violating state transparency laws as a result of not filing financial disclosure reports with the state.
Resident Mike Ostermiller filed the complaint with the state Oct. 22, said Director of Elections Mark Thomas with the Utah Lieutenant Governor's Office.
The state is trying to contact officers with the KCRG in hopes of having the issue resolved prior to the Nov. 5 municipal election, Thomas said. But Thomas stressed that, at this time, the complaint filed by Ostermiller contains only allegations and the state has yet to determine whether a violation has occurred.
"They may not have a requirement to file," Thomas said of the citizen's group.
"Up until this year (KCRG) have not met the threshold needed to file (a report)," said Richard Lenz, KCRG chairman. "We have always been under the limit."
But this fall the group exceeded the state threshold -- about $750 in contributions -- and as a result will be filing a report in November, he said.
"It is one of those things where (Ostermiller's) argument is falling on deaf ears," Lenz said.
He suggested the complaint may be politically motivated should Ostermiller be opposed to Proposition 5, which KCRG supports.
Proposition 5, if voter-approved, would restrict how city leaders spend city power plant fees.
Ostermiller said his complaint is based on KCRG's failure to file any required financial disclosures with the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, as required by law, and is not politically motivated or related to the Proposition 5 vote.
"I would just like the information," he said.
"It is extremely ironic, almost comical, that the very group of people who constantly criticize Kaysville city, are themselves violating state transparency laws," Ostermiller said. "I know no one is perfect and people make mistakes, but they should at least make an effort to comply with the same standard they seem to expect from everyone else."
Based on records obtained from the Utah Lieutenant Governor's website, the KCRG political action committee was created July 28, 2011.
According to the same website, KCRG has never filed a financial disclosure since its inception, Ostermiller said, despite it being clear the PAC has been raising and spending money since its inception, based on its support of some Kaysville city candidates during the 2011 and 2013 campaign cycles.
"Further, it is clear that the candidates or the PAC incurred significant campaign expenses," Ostermiller stated in his complaint.
Based on campaign disclosure reports filed with the state, those candidates who are either a member of KCRG, or supported by it, did not record receiving a single donation from KCRG in their expense reports.
But based on those same reports, very little campaign money exchanged hands during the 2011 or 2013 elections.
The single largest contribution any KCRG candidate received in either election cycle was $100, based on campaign disclosure reports filed with the state.
KCRG member Margaret Brough said the last-minute complaint by Ostermiller is out of "political desperation," and she expects things will only get nastier between now and the election.
"It is going to get worse," Brough said, referring to the political fallout she says KCRG has faced since the state released its independent audit of Kaysville city's finances.
The audit of the city's books reveals as a weakness or problem city leaders spending electric funds for economic development.
"Electrical enterprise fund revenues are generated from fees charged to rate payers for electrical service, while economic development is an activity unrelated to the purpose for which the fees were assessed," reads the Sept. 25 letter from the Utah State Auditor's Office to the city.
The state recommends city power rate fees be used for that purpose only, unless rate payers are properly notified.
Contact reporter Bryon Saxton at 801-625-4244 or email@example.com, or follow him on Twitter at @BryonSaxton.