Virgin Islands GOP reports spending big to help Mia Love - but it’s a scam, according to her campaign

The Salt Lake Tribune

High on the list of groups making outside “independent expenditures” to help re-elect Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah, is something unusual: the Virgin Islands Republican Party reports spending $204,000 to support her this election cycle.

Why would a group in the faraway Caribbean U.S. territory spend so much to help Love in Utah?

“It’s a scam,” says Dave Hansen, Love’s campaign manager, an assessment shared by watchdog groups and reporting by some newspapers nationally. Hansen says the group sends solicitations to Republicans nationally that say Love “is a black Republican and we need to support her. Then they raise money and we get none of it. Basically, it’s a fundraiser for whoever is running the group.”

"Some have called the Virgin Islands Republican Party a ‘scam PAC,’” says Brendan Fischer, director of the federal reform project of Campaign Legal Center, a watchdog group in Washington, D.C. While the committee is indeed operated by the Republican Party in the island territory, he notes it is not registered as a party arm but as a nonparty political action committee (PAC). 

“The markers of a scam PAC are when a committee raises a lot of money from small-money donors with promises the funds will be used to support candidates or causes, and instead the money is used to support the PAC,” Fischer said.

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