Utah Republican Mia Love Says She’ll Return Some Of The Money

Written by Ann Brown

U.S. Rep. Mia Love (R-UT) is in hot water. Her campaign collected funds for a primary that was not going to take place. In all, Love, who has been serving as the U.S. Representative for Utah’s 4th congressional district since 2015, raised $1,153,624.

“In April, Love secured the nomination to seek a third term for her seat in Utah’s 4th congressional district at Utah’s nominating convention. In Utah, if a candidate receives such a nomination at a convention, like Love did, then no primary is held,” CNN reported.

Despite having already secured the nomination, her campaign continued to raise funds after the convention to the tune of $372,468 specifically designated for the primary that her campaign knew would not take place.

So the Federal Election Commission informed Love’s campaign that it has to refund the money. It sent Love a letter in August saying her campaign had violated federal guidelines about money for primaries. “In Utah, candidates are not allowed to raise such funds if they have no primary, according to the FEC and experts specializing in election law,” CNN reported.

Love, the first Black female Republican elected to Congress and the first Haitian American elected to Congress from the state of Utah, told regulators, the campaign would refund or redesignate some, but not all, of that money.

Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah, center, cries sitting next to Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., in the Oval Office of the White House during a meeting with President Donald Trump and Joshua Holt, who was recently released from a prison in Venezuela, Saturday, May 26, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Love also contends she is entitled to the money, much like what happened with Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) in 2016, who raised and spent money for a primary in which he never had to run.

“Because he had no way of knowing that he would win the nomination at the convention, the Federal Election Commission agreed to let him keep some of the money that was raised but not spent. The determination was made, without much explanation, over the recommendation of the career staff at the agency,” ThinkProgress reported.

According to Love’s campaign, they will redesignate about $370,000 and may refund less than $10,000 of the donations.

“Love’s campaign will have to notify donors their money is being moved to be used in the general election and those donors will be able to request refunds. If primary contributions received exceeded the maximum $2,700 donation allowed for a general election, then that money would need to be refunded,” CNN reported.

Many people are unhappy with this response.

“It’s a big deal, it is a big deal,” said Ann Ravel, who served as FEC Commissioner under President Barack Obama. “If you’re raising primary funds and you have no primary, on its face, it does seem to be inappropriate and it’s a lot of money.”