Congressman Jason Chaffetz’ Republican challenger has requested an investigation into the incumbent’s campaign spending.
In a letter sent this week to the Federal Election Commission, Republican challenger Chia-Chi Teng contends that Chaffetz has been using campaign funds for personal use.
That includes being reimbursed for personal trips in a campaign vehicle, collecting frequent flier miles, and using campaign funds to pay for hotels and babysitting in Washington DC.
Teng says in the letter that since his 2007 campaign, Chaffetz has received more than $77,000 in reimbursements from his campaign and leadership PAC that he hasn’t accounted for.
Teng said that as Chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Chaffetz should be more transparent with his funds.
“In the position that he’s in, it’s hard to justify that he can have the moral authority to question those highest offices in our nation when he himself can’t be fully accountable for his campaign accounts,” Teng said.
Chaffetz called the move baseless, saying in a statement, “My campaign’s reports and practices are thoroughly vetted by Certified Public Accountants and outside counsel. In am in full compliance with the FEC and have always been in good standing with the Commission.”
Matthew Burbank is an associate professor of political science at the University of Utah. He says when campaigning against an incumbent member of Congress, challengers often target how the officeholder conducts their business.
“And certainly for Rep. Chaffetz,” says Burbank. “Because he has been quite high-profile generally as a member of Congress, but specifically in terms of chairing this committee, the Oversight Committee.”
Chaffetz received 64% of delegate votes at the state GOP convention last week. But Teng gathered the required number of signatures, so the two will face off in a primary on June 28.