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Utah group complains Mia Love should face criminal penalties for improper fundraising

Utah group complains Mia Love should face criminal penalties for improper fundraising
© Greg Nash

A progressive nonprofit group in Utah has filed a federal complaint against Rep. Mia Love (R-Utah) over what the group says are campaign finance violations, according to The New York Times.

Alliance for a Better Utah, which advocates for transparency and accountability in government, filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission and wrote a letter to the commission’s general counsel and the chief of the public integrity section in the Department of Justice’s criminal division, the Times reported. 

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The Times reported that the group's allegation against Love stems from more than $1 million she raised during the primary period despite not facing a primary challenger.

The group wrote in its letter that Love's “actions are a betrayal of the public trust and of Utah voters,” and “should be subject to criminal penalties," according to the Times.

Love's campaign said in a statement to the newspaper that the allegations are "completely false."

“It is no surprise that an extremely liberal-leaning organization such as ‘Alliance for a Better Utah’ is filing a complaint on completely false and desperate charges,” said Sasha Clark, Love’s campaign communications director.

Love also denied the group's allegations in a response letter and pointed to Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeSenate edges closer to rebuking Trump on Saudi Arabia Overnight Defense: GOP senators rip Saudi prince after CIA briefing | Top general says Afghan war at a stalemate | Mattis extends border mission through January | Pompeo gives Russia deadline on nuclear arms treaty Trump-GOP rift grows over Saudis MORE’s (R-Utah) 2016 reelection campaign in which he kept funds that he raised over the prospect of a primary race that never occurred, according to the Times.

Chase Thomas, the executive director of Alliance for a Better Utah, told the Times that Love should pay back the money she raised and called her response "completely inadequate."

Mia LoveLudmya (Mia) LoveWHIP LIST: Pelosi seeks path to 218 Ousted Rep. Mia Love knocks Trump, GOP for making women and minorities feel unwelcome GOP governors raise concerns about midterm losses at annual winter meeting MORE has been at this for a while — she’s gone through multiple campaigns, and she knows what campaign finance laws are out there,” Thomas said. “There’s a possibility that this was done willfully and knowingly.”

Love leads Democratic challenger and Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams (D) by 4.5 percentage points ahead of November's midterm election, according to the RealClearPolitics average of polls in that race.