Cannon Blasted for Aide's Comments on Spanish-language Radio

Cannon Blasted for Aide's Comments on Spanish-language Radio

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PROVO, Utah (AP) -- Opponents of Rep. Chris Cannon claim he sat by while an aide solicited illegal campaign contributions from illegal immigrants.

Russell Sias, a Provo resident opposed to Cannon's immigration policies, told the Daily Herald on Monday that he has filed a complaint against Cannon with the Federal Election Commission.

"I'm sick and tired of the dishonesty floating around this man," said Sias, who was ousted from an immigration reform group last year for statements regarding the position of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on immigration.

Cannon aide Marco Diaz told Radio Unica in Spanish on May 22, "If you are undocumented you must find, we welcome this money, but you have to find someone who is legal in order to donate money."

Cannon aides and the host of the talk show told the Deseret Morning News that Cannon later in the program tried to clarify that illegal immigrants could not legally donate directly or indirectly to him.

Cannon is being challenged for the Republican nomination in the 3rd U.S. House District by Matt Throckmorton, a vocal opponent of illegal immigration.

A program listener gave a partial tape and transcript of the program to Throckmorton's campaign.

Throckmorton told the News that the apparent plea for donations from illegal aliens "really bothers me. It was pretty brazen."

The partial transcript indicates talk show host Jose Libardo Rivera brought up the idea of illegal immigrants donating to Cannon, and Diaz said that wasn't allowed but talked about funneling it through citizens.

Joe Hunter, Cannon's chief of staff, said that later in the program, Cannon clarified that illegal immigrants could not legally funnel money to him.

"The notion that he would advocate for donations from foreign nationals is absurd. He's not going to do that. He knows the law," Hunter said.

Rivera told the News that he did not tape the program, but he remembers Cannon making such clarifications.

Steve Staker, a former federal prosecutor who provided the tape and transcript to the Throckmorton campaign, said that he remembers no such clarification.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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