Utah GOP has campaign debt from Mia Love and Tanner Ainge

    Utah GOP has campaign debt from Mia Love and Tanner Ainge (Photo: KUTV)

    (KUTV) - Besides roughly $400,000 in legal bills linked to the SB54 case, the Utah Republican Party also has debt on the books from the campaigns of Congresswoman Mia Love, and former congressional candidate Tanner Ainge.

    Amounts owed are different, and the campaigns are not connected, but the debt is said to be linked in both cases to costs for political mail.

    "Technically, the money is owed by the party," said Dave Hansen, Love's campaign manager, adding the campaign routed the mail through the state GOP, because the party pays a lower bulk rate. "It's the responsibility of the campaign to pay it off."

    Under that scenario, the Love campaign owes more than $120,000 to Salt Lake City political mail company Arena Communications from the 2016 race.

    "We've been working on some other things, but it will be taken care of," said Hansen.

    2News asked if the campaign, which had more than $300,000 as of late September, could take some of that money and pay off the debt.

    "We can take some of it," Hansen replied. "But there are certain limits from the Federal Election Commission as to how much can be transferred over."

    So some new contributions may be necessary.

    Meantime, the Tanner Ainge debt, from a brief campaign over the summer for the seat in Congress formerly held by Jason Chaffetz, is put at roughly $35,000.

    Ainge said it was for political mail funneled through the state GOP from Florida-based marketing firm Majority Strategies.

    In some Republican circles, there has been speculation surrounding the circumstances of the obligations, mostly perhaps as they relate to Ainge.

    In a release after a 2News story at 6pm on Friday, GOP chair Rob Anderson said an accounts payable ledger was given to a newly formed party executive committee, and that someone "went to the media in an attempt to paint a nefarious plot where there simply isn't one."

    He said the party offered the mail service to all three candidates, who ran to replace Chaffetz, but only Ainge chose to use it.

    Now running as a candidate for Utah County Commissioner, Ainge said he thinks the debt can be paid off within "the next couple of months."

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