Love denies wrongdoing amid campaign finance complaint

SALT LAKE CITY — There are questions about a statement made by Utah congresswoman Mia Love during her debate with challenger Ben McAdams Monday night.

“I believe that Mayor McAdams owes me an apology,” Love said.

During her closing statement, following Monday night's debate, Love said McAdams purposely misled voters by claiming that her campaign illegally raised and then used funds meant for a primary election. She said the Federal Elections Commission agrees she did nothing wrong.

“The Federal Election Commission called us and said here's the advice that we're giving you. One is that you are able to keep all the primary funds that you raised in this election,” Love said.

However, Executive Director of the left-leaning Alliance for Better Utah, Chase Thomas, which filed the complaint with the FEC, said Love is the one misleading Utahns.

“While Love's demand for an apology points to her belief that this conveniently timed phone call with a staffer at the FEC means this controversy is over, there could be nothing further from the truth,” Thomas said.

Alliance for a Better Utah said their complaint is still under review by the FEC and the organization confirms that any official and final position would come in the form of a letter.

In a statement released Tuesday, Mayor McAdams said in part, "Unfortunately, representative Mia Love continues to have a difficult relationship with the truth. She lied to Utahns and to the press last night. In fact, the Federal Election Commission has not cleared her for raising over a million dollars in violation of federal law."

“There isn't one thing that we've done that's been illegal,” Love said.

Love is holding her ground Tuesday, saying the Alliance for a Better Utah is part of a national Democratic effort to elect one of their own.

“They’re completely a liberal group that had a coordinated effort with Mayor McAdams and the national Democrat party to put together a false smear campaign against us,” Love said.

Love said her campaign has re-designated the money raised for the primary election to the general election fund.

“If they donate too much to the primary, we send it to the general, which is what every single member of Congress legally is able to do,” Love said.

Senator Mike Lee faced a similar complaint in 2016, when he raised $450,000 for a potential primary. The FEC said he could keep that money, but the Alliance for a Better Utah says the difference here is that Lee faced a primary opponent up until a day before the convention, whereas Love never did.