Gov. Gary Herbert to hold fundraiser in September to help Utah GOP pay off debt

The Utah GOP is slowly but surely chipping away at the massive amount of debt accrued during the past four years, and Gov. Gary Herbert will hold a fundraiser next month for the party.

New party chair Rob Anderson tells that they’ve put a dent into the $450,000 of debt racked up by former chairman James Evans. $300,000 of that amount are legal fees owed for the party’s legal challenge against SB54.

Anderson says they’ve been shaking the trees furiously to find extra funds.

“We’ve brought in $75,000 and probably paid down the operating debt by $35,000-$45,000,” said Anderson in an email. “You need to recall we were two months overdue on rent and three months overdue on utilities.”

Anderson says Gov. Herbert plans to host a fundraiser in September for the party to help eat into that operating debt. The event is cheekily titled “Back in Black.” Anderson adds that none of the proceeds from this fundraiser will go toward the legal debt still owed by the party.

When Anderson took the reigns of the party, the operating debt was estimated to be around $100,000, but they found more unpaid bills the day they moved into the office, including unpaid rent. That pushed the total in arrears to more than $15,000.

Anderson also promised to audit the party finances when he was elected and make those results public within 30 days. Once he got into office, Anderson said he discovered the party couldn’t do an audit until they can pay the previous auditor who was still owed $10,000. Anderson says they still haven’t been able to raise the money to move forward with a current audit.

“The audit will be done when we have the money to pay for the last audit and can pay for a new one,” said Anderson. “No more will the Utah GOP spend money it doesn’t have.”