SALT LAKE CITY — Some words have been changed, but a super PAC ad is continuing to air against Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah, even after her attorney asked Utah TV stations to remove what he called a false commercial.
"It sounds like it's still false," Love's attorney, Matt Sanderson, said, noting he had not seen the revised ad. "It could be that they swapped out one false line for another false line, in which case, we will renew our objection."
But Sanderson said the changes are an acknowledgement that there were problems with the original 30-second spot from the Washington, D.C.-based liberal political action committee Patriot Majority.
"If they didn't have reservations now about the accuracy of the ad, why else would they go to the trouble of revising the ad?" he said. "If it was fine as is, if they stood behind the ad as it ran the past week, then they would just leave the ad as it is."
The commercial still refers to what it calls a "scandal" surrounding money Love raised for a primary she didn't have.
Now, instead of saying Love "collected more than $1 million in illegal campaign cash," the ad says the congresswoman "collected hundreds of thousands in illegal contributions," showing the amount of $370,000.
That's money her campaign raised for the primary through the April GOP state convention where Love was officially nominated as the Republican candidate in the 4th Congressional District.
After the Federal Election Commission raised questions about her fundraising, Love's campaign said the $370,000 would be re-designated for the general election and more than $10,000 would be refunded because contribution limits were exceeded.
Sanderson contacted Utah TV stations several times about the ad, including sending copies of emails from the FEC released Thursday by Love's campaign that states no further action was required on the contributions at issue.
Love has said the email clears her campaign of any fundraising wrongdoing, but her Democratic opponent, Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams, said she has not been exonerated since the email only refers to a portion of the money she raised.
A complaint about Love's primary fundraising filed with the FEC by the progressive Alliance for a Better Utah is also still pending.
This isn't the only super PAC commercial running in the hotly contested race that's considered a toss-up. The Congressional Leadership Fund, a U.S. House GOP majority PAC, is expected to spend $1 million on ads against McAdams.
Super PAC commercials are considered independent expenditures and cannot be coordinated with a candidate's campaign.
"We have no idea what outside groups are doing or why," McAdams campaign manager Andrew Roberts said. "What we do know is that Mia Love illegally raised a lot of money and her actions are a serious violation of the public's trust."
Love's campaign issued a news release stating the Patriot Majority was taking down its "defamatory ad" and quoting her campaign manager, Dave Hansen, saying that's "proof Ben McAdams and his liberal allies have been lying all along."
Hansen said he expects McAdams and what he called a "coordinated Democratic attack will keep lying and spreading falsehoods about Congresswoman Love in the future, but we will keep fighting these smears through Election Day."