It turns out that Tim Bridgewater — the Utah Republican running for U.S. Senate against conservative Mike Lee — tried to bribe another candidate for her endorsement at the Utah State Nominating Convention.According to Cherilyn Eagar, Bridgewater offered to pay off her campaign debt IF she would endorse him before the final ballots were cast at the convention. Eagar is going out of her way to try to smooth this over to keep Bridgewater out of trouble, but the fact is it was a very sleazy move.Here’s the back-and-forth between Eagar and radio talk show host Bob Lonsberry this past Wednesday:
Bob: Did the campaigns approach you?
Cherilyn: Yeah, absolutely. Senator Bennett was first, and then Tim Bridgewater, and I dealt with them.
Bob: When they made these requests, did they offer you anything?
Cherilyn: Well, Senator Bennett, no. Mr. Bridgewater was very, very complimentary of me, and certainly he would have loved to have had me be a spokesperson, and so.. but, you know what…
Bob: Did anybody offer to cover any campaign expenses or debts?
Cherilyn: You know, that’s kind of typical, and it’s very cordial for them to offer to do that… and yes, Tim would have been willing to do that, and in an appropriate way, to.. down the road, have me be participating in such a way that that could have happened.
Bob: Did he offer.. just so I’m understanding.. but did he offer to pay your campaign’s debts?
Cherilyn: Yes, but again, in an appropriate way. It was in no way sort of a bribe or anything. It was just very cordial, very kind thing for him to be concerned about.
Here is the audio.I’ve been telling folks to beware of Bridgewater for a while now. See here, here, and here. There’s nothing “appropriate” about offering a candidate money for a political endorsement. If Bridgewater is willing to engage in this kind of backroom pay-to-play stuff now, imagine what he’ll do if he is elected to the Senate. And don’t forget that he made his money gaming federal programs for his businesses. If you don’t think he will support greater efforts to inject the federal government into the private marketplace when he’s in the Senate, then you’re not paying attention.We need to get behind Mike Lee, a true constitutional conservative, and help raise him some money. The primary is just 5 weeks away and Bridgewater is going spend a lot of your tax money on campaign ads. Let’s not let him get away with it.