Mia Love’s campaign threatens legal action to stop ‘misleading’ TV ads from Democratic super PAC

This article originally appeared in Utah Policy. Read it in its entirety here.

Mia Love’s campaign is threatening legal action against several local TV stations in an attempt to get them to stop airing an attack ad from a liberal super PAC slamming her for “illegally” raising campaign funds. Love’s campaign vehemently denies any wrongdoing.

The ad from Patriot Majority PAC hits Love for the controversy arising from her campaign raising more than $1 million in campaign funds for a primary election that never happened.

Lawyers for the Love campaign sent a letter to several local TV stations calling the ads “false and misleading” claiming the ad “attempts to deceive voters regarding Congresswoman Mia Love’s campaign fundraising practices.”

In August, the Federal Election Commission asked the Love campaign for more information about $1.3 million in campaign funds raised for a primary election that never took place. Love raised more than $300,000 of those funds after she had already secured the GOP nomination. The left-leaning group Alliance for a Better Utah filed a complaint with the FEC about the fundraising.

After being contacted by the FEC, Love’s campaign refunded about $10,000 of the money and redesignated another $370,000 of the funds for other campaign cycles – either the 2018 general election or a future cycle.

Before Monday’s debate, Love’s campaign issued a statement to reporters claiming an analyst with the FEC told them they were “legally allowed” to raise the money. However, reporters were unable to verify that claim with the FEC.

On Thursday, Love’s campaign released an email from the FEC that said the analyst “properly advised that Friends of Mia Love is not required to take any corrective action regarding the primary election contributions at issue.” The email does not address the complaint brought by ABU.

The letter to TV stations from Love’s lawyers says the outside groups are “not protected from legal liability for airing false and misleading advertisements sponsored by Patriot Majority.”

“Your station is hereby on notice that the advertisement is false. Patriot Majority intends only to deceive voters and defame Congresswoman Love’s reputation. Your station should not be complicit in this misconduct,” wrote legal counsel for Love’s campaign.

In response, lawyers for Patriot Majority says Love’s attorneys do not dispute the ad’s claim that she “illegally” raised campaign funds, just the amount of money raised. They also point out that Love’s campaign missed the 60-day deadline for redesignating or refunding the money raised for the non-existent primary election so “she is not legally permitted to keep those funds.”

“If the FEC has changed its position on candidates raising funds for nonexistent primary elections, we are happy to review any written legal authority the campaign can provide,” wrote the counsel for Patriot Majority USA.

In response, the station manager for KUTV, KMYU and KJZZ said they would continue to air the ads from Patriot Majority.

This article originally appeared in Utah Policy. Read it in its entirety here.

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