Press Release: FEC Confirms That Mia Love Has Not Been Cleared of Wrongdoing

PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 30, 2018

FEC CONFIRMS THAT MIA LOVE HAS NOT BEEN CLEARED OF WRONGDOING

Salt Lake City, UT – Responding to misleading statements from Mia Love, Alliance for a Better Utah released an email this morning from the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) clarifying that Better Utah’s complaint remains under review. Two weeks ago, the Love campaign had used an email from an attorney at the FEC to claim she was cleared of any wrongdoing because she did not have to take any “corrective action at this time.”

The email released today by Better Utah from Jeff Jordan, an Assistant General Counsel in the Complaints and Legal Administration division of the FEC, clarifies that “[t]he communications between the Commission staff and the Friends of Mia Love Committee […] were in connection with a Request for Additional Information sent to the Committee.” Jordan continued to say that the email released by the Love campaign was not connected to Better Utah’s complaint.

“As we have said and will continue to say, our complaint with the FEC is still under review and we will be notified once the commissioners make a decision,” said Chase Thomas, Better Utah’s executive director. “Mia Love has not been cleared of wrongdoing. Her claims suggesting otherwise are misleading.”

At issue is over $1.1 million that Mia Love’s campaign raised for a primary election that never took place. In their complaint, Better Utah alleges that all the money should have been returned to donors–a position the organization believes could still be adopted by FEC commissioners.

“We have every reason to believe that the $530,000 raised prior to the April 24th convention could still be determined to have been improperly raised,” Thomas continued. “The attorney who spoke with the Love campaign was not discussing our complaint at all.  Nor did that exchange determine that the different set of circumstances presented in Senator Lee’s case somehow exonerated the Love campaign.  The FEC commissioners will determine the fate of our complaint, not an email from an FEC attorney about a different matter. We remain confident that the commissioners should find that the Love campaign violated federal law when she raised funds for a primary election contest that she knew would not occur.

Scott Thomas, a former FEC chairman, informed us: “In my opinion, the Love campaign cannot rely on the precedent of the Mike Lee campaign in 2016.  Representative Love simply did not have any primary opponent or potential primary opponent as of the filing deadline on March 15th. No one else filed to run against her, and no one else could have tried to get on the primary ballot via petition signatures.  She should not have treated any contributions coming in the door after that March 15 date as ‘primary’ contributions.”

Better Utah also points to a separate issue raised in its complaint that has not been addressed by the Love campaign — that all the funds in question had to be redesignated or refunded within sixty days of knowing there would be no primary, as required by FEC precedent. The organization claims she did not begin this process until she was questioned by the FEC in its September “Request for Additional Information.”

“As of March 15th, Representative Love should have set about trying to get donors to redesignate any contributions that were designated as primary contributions to the extent the donors had room under their general election contribution limits,” continued Scott Thomas. “Under my reading of the law, she had sixty days from that date to redesignate or return all contributions she had already received, and should have ceased raising funds for a primary election on that date. If these procedures were not followed, the FEC will have to decide what should be done about it.”

The email from Jeff Jordan can be found here.

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Alliance for a Better Utah is a good government advocacy and watchdog organization based in Salt Lake City. The organization works to improve the lives of all Utahns by ensuring balance, transparency, and accountability in Utah politics, policy, and government. More information at www.betterutah.org.

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