SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Gov. Gary Herbert raised nearly $630,000 in campaign contributions last year even though he has said he won’t seek re-election in 2020.
The Republican governor spent nearly the same amount, but still has $338,000 cash on hand due to past contributions, The Salt Lake Tribune reports .
Herbert brought in the money through his campaign fund and two political action committees. The biggest contribution was $28,000 from the Dominion Energy utility company. Five others gave at least $25,000, including Zions Bank, Qualtrics, NuSkin, Huntsman International and Deseret Power.
He also brought in $15,000 from the Utah Workers Compensation Fund and $14,000 from the Utah Association of Realtors. He received $10,000 from 17 donors, including the owner of the Utah Jazz, Gail Miller.
Herbert raised the money to help support other candidates and causes, said Derek Miller, Herbert’s political adviser and former chief of staff.
For instance, the governor sponsored a flight to help 40 veterans go to Washington D.C., for recognition and see was memorials, said Miller, now president and CEO of World Trade Center Utah. The governor spent $40,000 on that trip, the records show.
“The governor has a lot of things and issues that he cares about, including supporting other candidates,” Miller said.
The governor’s fundraising generated controversy in 2016 when a recording emerged of him referring to himself as “Available Jones” when speaking to lobbyists and offering to meet in exchange for campaign donations. The governor later said he was disappointed in himself but nothing unethical or illegal occurred.
The $625,000 spent by Herbert included $158,000 for an annual fundraising gala, $26,500 on his inauguration and $15,500 for a fundraising golf event. He also gave $28,000 to the Utah Republican Party.
Other expenditures included $8,425 for governor coins to give to visitors as souvenirs and $9,220 on holiday cards.