The Federal Election Commission sent Love a letter in August explaining that her campaign had violated federal guidelines concerning money for primaries. Love's campaign responded to the letter Friday stating it would refund some, but not all of the money.
In Utah, candidates are not allowed to raise money if they don't have a primary, according to the FEC. Love won the nomination to seek a third term for her seat in Utah's 4th congressional district in April. However, in Utah, if a candidates receives this type of nomination, no primary is held. Therefore, Love was not in the right to raise money for a primary.
Despite the rule, Love raised $1,153,624 and designated the money for a primary election, CNN reported.
It's a big deal, it is a big deal," Ann Ravel, who served as FEC Commissioner under President Barack Obama, told CNN. "If you're raising primary funds and you have no primary, on its face, it does seem to be inappropriate and it's a lot of money.
The FEC's letter stated that the funds collected by Love's campaign will either need to be refunded or designated for the general election, CNN reported. The process of redesignation has to be done within 60 days of receiving the money. However, all of the donations Love received were collected more than 60 days ago.
"It seems clear that any contribution designated for the primary election received after the convention would have to be refunded or redesignated," Brendan Fischer, the director of federal reform at the Campaign Legal Center, an organization that supports campaign finance reform, told CNN. "I think there is an argument that, Mia Love knew earlier than the convention that it would be an uncontested primary, but their letter suggests there may have been some ambiguity. So they might be able to get away with it but it's certainly problematic because of this sort of quirk in Utah law that allows a candidate to raise money above and beyond the federal limits that would apply in elections in almost any other state."
Sasha Clark, a campaign communications director for Mia Love, released the following statement:
We strongly dispute the accusations made in the CNN story.
Mia Love's campaign also released the following statements about CNN's coverage: