A BYU professor running against Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz recently raised questions regarding the Congressman’s use of campaign funds after claiming to have found discrepancies in Chaffetz’s financial disclosures. After analyzing the public records Chaffetz filed, Teng made his concerns known to the Federal Elections Commission.
“We raised questions,” said Chia-Chi Teng, the information systems professor competing against Chaffetz. “What (the FEC does) after that is out of our control.”
Chaffetz has been a Utah representative since 2009 and in response to these questions he said that his campaign does everything correctly and is backed by a CPA and outside counsel. “I’ve always been in good standing with the FEC,” Chaffetz said.
Teng questions the Congressman’s use of campaign vehicles, his half million dollars worth of reimbursements over the last eight years and the way his campaign credit card is being used. He wants to know if Chaffetz is unethically gaining personally from his campaign accounts or using these accounts as some sort of slush fund. Teng also holds Chaffetz to a high standard because of his position in the government. Chaffetz sits as the chairman of the United States House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
“In order to do his job and have the authority to question the highest offices in the land, he needs to be able to be accountable for himself,” Teng said. “If he can’t be accountable for his own campaign account, how can he expect other people to be accountable in his hearings?”
Chaffetz believes the allegations were strategically brought to light a week before the state convention on April 23. He called it a “desperate attempt to sully [his] reputation.” The Primary election will take place on June 28. Chaffetz said he believes the people will see this for what he believes it is. “It’s a baseless, attention-getting move by an ill-advised opponent.”
Teng is running against Chaffetz with the hope of being able to serve and give back to the community. “I’m here to serve, that’s really my motivation,” Teng said. He said voters should look at Chaffetz’s voting record on issues like the new internet sales tax to see if he is as conservative as he claims to be. “We lost a conservative vote here in Utah because he already sold out to the establishment,” Teng said.
Representatives of the FEC are not able to talk about investigations due to their confidential nature. Possible consequences for violations against financial rules include a letter from the FEC and civil penalties in the form of fines. A representative from the FEC said that no investigation has yet been filed or initiated.
Teng notices the difficult road ahead of him as the Primary election draws nearer. “We’re feeling optimistic,” he said. “It’s always an uphill battle challenging an incumbent.”