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Utah GOP debt gets deeper, new chairman asks for donations at upcoming convention

SALT LAKE CITY — The financial problems at the Utah Republican Party continue to get worse.

Newly-elected Utah GOP chairman Rob Anderson announced Thursday that the party still owed $30,000 for the state convention it hosted at the South Towne Expo Center a couple of weeks ago.

“Conversely, the amount of money raised at that same convention was only $1,200; less than 50 cents per delegate,” he wrote in an emailed statement.

Rob Anderson, the newly elected chairman of the Utah GOP, speaks to delegates at the state convention on May 20, 2017. (Photo by Ben Winslow, FOX 13 News)

The state GOP convention almost didn’t happen because money was owed to Salt Lake County for rental of the expo center. Then-GOP chairman James Evans arranged for a certified check to be paid to the county.

The Utah Republican Party is already at least $400,000 in debt for operations and legal bills. The GOP is in the midst of a highly-contentious legal battle with the governor and state lawmakers over how candidates are picked to get on the ballot in Utah.

That lawsuit is currently pending before Denver’s 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Anderson previously told FOX 13 he is looking to end the lawsuit.

To help raise funds, the Utah GOP said it would ask for a $20 to $25 registration fee at the nominating convention to replace Congressman Jason Chaffetz on June 17.

“This is not a mandatory fee, but rather, a highly encouraged donation,” Anderson wrote. “The deadline for on-line preregistration will be noon on Friday, June 16th. We do not want this to distract from the important business of selecting a ballot nominee. Thank you for your understanding at this difficult time. By working together, we will Right our Party. I appreciate your concerns as well as your support.”