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Politics: Rep. Wimmer's campaign reconsiders its cheeseburger donations.

By Eric S. Peterson
Posted // March 18,2009 -

In the same vein as a tree that falls in the forest that nobody hears, does a politician’s in-kind donation exist if it’s never reported? With Utah’s infamously loose campaign laws, it’s no surprise that confusion arises around what constitutes a donation. Local blog Utah Education Issues (UtahEdu.blogspot.com) was the first to ask why Rep. Carl Wimmer, R-Herriman, didn’t report a potential in-kind contribution from Utah County "Free Capitalist" Rick Koerber.

Koerber, who has been the subject of a Utah Division of Securities investigation for fraud as well as an IRS audit, recently told a KUTV 2 news reporter he was also facing federal charges and that his company at one time held liabilities that exceeded $100 million.

Wimmer, a former student of Koerber’s investment school, told City Weekly in July his relationship with Koerber was as a friend and acquaintance only, when City Weekly reported Wimmer´s co-sponsorship of an audit of the Utah Division of Securities.

The March 2008 audit faulted the division for its heavy-handed investigation tactics. Wimmer pushed for the audit of the division on behalf of Koerber, one of the agency’s most vocal critics.

“I’ve never received any contribution from Rick,” Wimmer says, when asked about a possible donation. “That was his own thing he organized with his people.”

Koerber’s contribution involved spearheading an event that took place on Nov. 1, 2008, when Koerber used his Free Capitalist e-mail list to encourage volunteers to walk Wimmer’s district and pass out fliers for the candidate. For their support, Koerber promised in the e-mail that volunteers would receive a free lunch at his Iceberg Drive Inn restaurant.

“In fact, any time I’ve ever taken Rick around to meet other representatives or anyone, in all situations, I always would make sure to pay for my meals,” Wimmer says, “because I want to make sure everything is aboveboard.”

Koerber describes, at length, his support of Wimmer in his Oct. 31 e-mail sent to Free Capitalists. He wrote about Wimmer’s discovery of state fraud allegations against Koerber’s companies: “When Carl first heard of this, he asked me point blank, ‘Rick do you believe you’ve done anything wrong?’ I answered him candidly and directly. I spent several hours taking him through some of the most egregious actions taken by the State. This was several years ago. From that evening, after being on my radio show, Carl has been an example of what all free citizens could hope for in an elected Representative.”

When asked about it, Koerber says he had no obligation to report anything to the lieutenant governor’s office from the event.

While the lunches were provided by a company Koerber has professional interests in, he says they were on his personal dime. “I paid cash for the meals out of my pocket,” Koerber says. “It didn’t have anything to do with Iceberg.”

Joe Demma, chief of staff for the lieutenant governor’s office, agrees that individual citizens are not required to file campaign finance reports. However, that doesn’t mean a political candidate isn’t required to list the donation. But since no official complaint has been filed, Demma couldn’t speak to the issue. In filing a report, Demma says, there are a number of factors to consider, such as whether or not the candidate was aware that another party was making a contribution.

While Koerber used his mailing list to orchestrate the event, the e-mail also noted volunteers would be meeting with “Carl’s supporters.” The e-mail requested that those planning to attend RSVP on Wimmer’s Facebook page. And on Koerber’s Facebook event page advertising the “Walk with Wimmer” event, two days prior to the event, 23 individuals were confirmed for the walk. Several users even commented on the walk, including Wimmer himself.

Demma says the clear majority of unfiled reports aren’t sinister cover-ups but, rather, honest mistakes. “In all the cases I’ve been involved with,” Demma says, “if we notify a candidate, PAC, PIC or a corporation that they may need to comply with the law—they always do. That’s assuming they needed to do it in the first place.”

At press time, Wimmer contacted City Weekly saying he planned to amend his report. “Even though everyone I have checked with said they don’t think it qualifies as [an in-kind contribution], I insist on everything I do being aboveboard.”

 
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REPLY TO THIS COMMENT
Posted // May 27,2009 at 14:48

Open mouth, insert foot, eh, Utah73?

It always amuses me when idiots let their stupidity pour from their brain, and then reality creeps up to smack their dumbasses down a peg.

City Weekly has been reporting on Koerber The Scumbag for two years, and now that charges have been filed, your comments are pure comedy gold.

 

Posted // March 6,2010 at 12:08 - utah73 is definitely Rick. He talks like him, he makes the same arguments he does, and who else would be throwing around Abel Keogh's name??

 

REPLY TO THIS COMMENT
Posted // March 25,2009 at 09:12 Yeah, Utah73 is definitely Koerber, Wimmer, or one of the many folks that Koerber has under the Imperius Curse; long live Koerber, the true Dark Lord!

 

Posted // March 27,2009 at 21:09 - Sorry, not so. I do know Mr. Koerber however, and have spent a lot of time doing my own research on several business dealings of his. My comments speak for themselves. This story is not a "reporting" of facts, it is a continuation of Eric's personal crusade. FYI - Abel Keogh is no authority Eric.

 

REPLY TO THIS COMMENT
Posted // March 18,2009 at 15:54 Eric, this is a big story about nothing. Also, a little fact checking for you. 1. Koerber is not currently, and to date has not been (nor did he say in the Interview that he was) facing federal charges. 2. The Utah Securities Division investigation went no where, and reportedly ended and/or was suspended in January '08 (over one year ago.) 3. Koerber has never been the subject of an IRS audit. 4. Koerber does not own the Iceberg in Riverton, UT, nor did he claim to in the Wimmer invite. 5. The State of Utah has never made any formal allegations of any kind against Koerber. 6. The Lieutenant governor's office explained, upon my inquiry, that they had not concluded that this "lunch" was a disclosable contribution as defined by the Statute and that for anyone to suggest otherwise would be premature and problematic. Whatever your axe is against Koerber, you're not helping your case by failing to meet even high school journalistic standards.

 

Posted // March 27,2009 at 21:16 - Writing editorially, in a news / opinion publication (online or otherwise)is a longstanding American tradition. I'm not certain of Mr. Koerber's position on the subject, but that is irrelevant. That you would post without revealing your identity and then try to use sarcasm as a witty tool against me, is flat on its face. I don't care much for discussing Mr. Keorber's private business dealings, but what I was pointing out in my earlier comment is highly relevant. City Weekly is a substandard publication with amateur journalists who publish material like this piece by Eric. It is not journalistic, nor is it even good personal blogging. It's just sloppy, pretend, pseudo-muckraking.

 

Posted // March 19,2009 at 11:50 - Is it just me or does Utah73 know an awful lot about Koerber’s situation. Could he be Koerber himself? Who else could know all this personal -- including what was or was not said in the interview with the author of this article? No, it couldn’t be Mr. Koerber. After all, he always talks about the cowards who hide behind the anonymity of the Internet. If Utah73 was Rick, then that would make Rick a hypocrite. And we all know that Rick would NEVER tell people to do one thing and then do the opposite himself. Come on Utah73! Tell us who you really are so Eric Petersen can interview you and set the record straight. Be a man and follow the council of the leader who you follow blindly! Don’t be an anonymous coward. Be a man! Be a PRODUCER!

 

 
 
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