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FEC email stirs more controversy in 4th District race

By Lisa Riley Roche, KSL | Updated - Oct 18th, 2018 @ 10:35pm | Posted - Oct 18th, 2018 @ 12:13pm

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SALT LAKE CITY — Rep. Mia Love's campaign released a copy of an email Thursday from the Federal Election Commission stating contributions received for a primary election before the GOP's April convention could be kept.

The email comes after the FEC declined to comment on the issue after Love directed reporters to contact the agency to confirm details of a call with an analyst and members of her campaign.

Love had said in a statement just before Monday's debate with her Democratic challenger, Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams, that her campaign had been informed by an unnamed analyst they were "legally allowed" to raise the money.

"Ben McAdams will apparently say and do anything to get elected," Love said in a statement, a reference to her opponent using the issue in his campaign advertising. "He should apologize to the voters for his misleading tactics."

Love's primary fundraising is the subject of a complaint filed with the FEC by the progressive Alliance for a Better Utah.

Judith Ingram, a press officer with the FEC, told the Deseret News earlier this week any discussion about Love's fundraising by an analyst would have no effect on the complaint.

The email released Thursday states that the analyst, Mike Dobi, "correctly informed you of our analysis and conclusion and properly advised that Friends of Mia Love is not required to take any corrective action regarding the primary election contributions at issue."

The email was written by Danita Aberico, a compliance advice attorney in the FEC's policy division general counsel's office.

At issue is some $1 million raised by Love for a June primary election because no Republicans ran against her. Love's campaign has contended she should be able to keep money raised through the convention where she was formally nominated.

After receiving a letter from the FEC questioning the fundraising, Love's campaign said $370,000 in contributions collected after the convention would be redesignated for the general election and just over $10,000 would be refunded to donors.

The email released Thursday does not refer to the redesignations or refunds. A spokeswoman for Love's campaign, Sasha Clark, said earlier this week that previous FEC filings were amended to reflect the changes but she did not provide details.

The Washington, D.C.-based lawyer hired by Love's campaign to deal with the FEC issue, Matt Sanderson, said in a news release it would be "unprecedented" for the agency to pursue the alliance's complaint.

He called the complaint "a zombie filing. It technically exists, but it's dead."

Lisa Riley Roche

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