POLITICS

Mia Love Faces Ethics Complaint Over Misuse Of Official House Website And Budget

The complaint was filed by a supporter of Doug Owens, who is challenging Love in her re-election bid.
Rep. Mia Love (R-Utah) faces an ethics complaint alleging that she inappropriately linked to her official House website
Rep. Mia Love (R-Utah) faces an ethics complaint alleging that she inappropriately linked to her official House website from her campaign site. The complaint was filed by a supporter of Doug Owens, Love's challenger for re-election.

WASHINGTON -- After paying back taxpayers more than $1,000 for questionable flights and other transportation costs last year, freshman Rep. Mia Love (R-Utah) is now facing a complaint that details new allegations of ethics violations, The Huffington Post has learned.

The complaint was filed on Jan. 28 by South Jordan attorney Craig N. Janis, who supports Love's challenger in her re-election bid, Democrat Doug Owens. Janis also previously worked for the Utah Democratic Party

In his complaint, obtained by HuffPost, Janis requests that the Office of Congressional Ethics open an investigation into Love’s “repeated misuse of official resources for campaign and personal purposes.” The complaint also accuses Love, a rising star in the GOP, of violations that have previously gone unreported.

Janis told HuffPost the Doug Owens campaign asked if he’d be willing to file the complaint.

The complaint accuses Love of breaking House rules pertaining to campaign and official websites by linking to her official House website from her campaign site and by posting political commentary on her House website.

The complaint includes a URL to a since-revised contact page on Love’s campaign website and a screen grab of the page, which read: “I appreciate your feedback. Please go to love.house.gov/contact to reach me.” This appeared on Love’s campaign page beginning in January 2015 and as recently as November of last year, the complaint states.

House Ethics rules stipulate that a member’s campaign website can link to their official website, but must use the notification approved by the Committee on Ethics, which states, “Thank you for visiting my campaign page. If your intention was to visit my official House of Representatives page, please click here.”

If a member wants to use any other language in their disclaimer, they need to get it approved by the committee first.

The complaint also alleges a second violation was made when Love posted political commentary -- link to a video of Love talking about conservative policies and the Kentucky gubernatorial race on the Fox Business network -- on her House website.

According to the House Ethics Manual, a member’s website “may not include personal, political, or campaign information.”

The new accusations and first official complaint come just three months after Love said she would pay back taxpayer money after using it to buy a $537.10 plane ticket in February 2015 that she never ended up using. It was the second reimbursement Love made in the span of two months.

The first came after The Hill reported Love had used money from her congressional allowance to pay for a trip to Washington, D.C., to attend the White House Correspondents Association dinner last April. The total came to $1,160, which Love later said she would repay.

When questioned about Love’s use of the money to attend a primarily social event, dubbed “nerd prom” in Washington, Love's spokesman said that she flew back for an official meeting with staff. 

Janis, an attorney in Utah who runs a company that designs websites and mobile apps, said he has two goals with the complaint.

I hope that the House Ethics office will take it seriously” and investigate, he said. “Second, I hope that people here in her district, my neighbors here, will get a little more informed about how she’s behaved in office and see that maybe this complaint is not the kind of stuff somebody is going to jail for ... but are serious things that I feel like reflect a general lack of attention to detail from her and her job,” he added.

Janis’ complaint isn’t the first time Love has been accused of violating rules. A batch of emails obtained by HuffPost in 2014 revealed that during her time as mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah, Love would occasionally receive campaign questions on her mayoral email account and would respond directly rather than reply through a personal or campaign account.

Love’s spokesman did not respond to multiple requests for comment. The Office of Congressional Ethics has not yet returned a call requesting comment.

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