ELECTIONS

Utah AG charges Bruce Hough campaigner with incorrectly paying for signatures

Dec 21, 2023, 7:00 PM

Generic image of signature counting. The man hired by Bruce Hough's campaign to gather signatures f...

There could be a significant shift in signature gathering by candidates in order to get on the Primary Election ballot in Utah under a new bill. A pair of hands counting piles of ballot papers during an election. (Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY — A campaigner that Bruce Hough hired to gather signatures has been charged by the Utah Attorney General for incorrectly paying signature gatherers.

Bruce Hough ran in the primaries for Utah Congressional District 2 to replace Chris Stewart. Hough qualified to be on the primary ballot after gathering more than the 7,000 signatures necessary to qualify.

Bruce Hough campaigner Timothy Mooney alleged to have incorrectly gathered signatures

The AG’s office alleges that Timothy Mooney paid signature gatherers for the gross amount of signatures.

Utah state code stipulates that signature gatherers can be paid by the hour or for each verified signature.

Hough’s campaign submitted 11,000 signatures in July. Mooney allegedly paid two signature-gatherers for nearly 13,000 signatures before the Utah Lt. Governor’s Office verified if they were valid.

Russ Walker was Hugh’s campaign manager. Walker said the campaign was pleased with the product they got from Mooney.

“They charged him for paying for signatures by gross signature, instead of valid signature, which, to me is odd, because not every signature you turn in is going to be valid, there’s no such thing as 100% validity rates,” Walker said.

He also said the staff had to work quickly at the end of the campaign to get signatures.

“When you get to the last few days, when you’re crunching to get your numbers and to get all those signatures in, you don’t have the ability to do that scrub, you just don’t because scrub takes time,” Walker said. “There’s a lag in it.”

Mooney is a longtime campaign worker

The Utah AG has charged Mooney with two class A misdemeanors. According to Mooney’s entry on the Ballotpedia webpage, he’s worked in some capacity on more than 250 candidates and ballot campaigns. Walker says Mooney was hired by Hough’s campaign to hire the people who gathered the signatures.

The Utah Lt. Governor’s office requested the investigation. In a statement, they said this is a good opportunity to remind candidates about the laws regarding signature gathering.

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Utah AG charges Bruce Hough campaigner with incorrectly paying for signatures