ST. GEORGE – The Utah GOP announced Thursday that the party’s debt, largely incurred in a legal battle against a 2014 state elections law, has been wiped clean with the help of a Provo businessman who has also volunteered to cover the ongoing cost of the party’s lawsuit.
“The Utah Republican Party is pleased to announce that an agreement has been reached to extinguish all the legal debt incurred by the party as a result of the litigation which challenges current Utah election law as a result of SB54 in 2014,” Utah GOP chairman Rob Anderson said in a statement Thursday.
Denominated as SB 54, 2014 Senate Bill 54, also called the “Count My Vote” compromise law, signed into law by the governor in March 2014, allows political candidates to bypass the caucus-convention system and gather signatures to qualify for a spot on the primary ballot.
The Utah GOP subsequently filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the law, as many party members felt it violated the party’s right to select its own candidates through the caucus-convention system only.
The resulting legal battle, which is being heard in the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, has attributed $360,000 to the party’s reported $423,000 debt, according to Fox 13 News.
Anderson was preparing to drop the lawsuit in November in order to get the party to “return to financial integrity,” but was rebuffed by the party’s Central Committee which voted to retain it under certain conditions.
The lawsuit would continue if the party wasn’t responsible for any new legal fees moving forward.
This is where Provo software developer and Entrata CEO Dave Bateman came in. Prior to the Central Committee’s vote, former Utah GOP chairman Thomas Wright met with Bateman who agreed to cover the ongoing cost of the lawsuit.
According to Anderson’s statement, Bateman is covering the costs already piled up by the lawsuit as well.
“We are grateful to the generosity of Entrata CEO Dave Bateman, who has volunteered to service this significant financial obligation,” Anderson said, “as well as the cost of any future legal expenses related to this matter going forward.”
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