Washington • Congressman-elect Chris Stewart pocketed $65,000 in campaign contributions to repay the personal money he used to kick-start his run for Utah's 2nd Congressional District seat.
Repaying a personal campaign loan is legal and routine, but is usually only an option for those who win.
Stewart, a Republican from Farmington, accepted the funds on Nov. 26, 20 days after he easily beat Democrat Jay Seegmiller with 62 percent of the vote.
He had loaned his House campaign the $65,000 in December 2011, before he emerged from a crowded GOP field to claim the nomination at the state Republican Convention.
Stewart did not pay himself interest on the loan, which he legally could have.
When Rep. Rob Bishop first ran in 2002, he loaned his campaign $55,000 and has since repaid himself $8,000. He has elected to carry a $47,000 loan balance at zero percent interest on his campaign reports ever since.
Sen. Mike Lee loaned his 2010 campaign $125,000. For the first $25,000 he set the interest rate at 6 percent interest rate and for the remaining $100,000 he put the rate at 8 percent. He repaid himself the $125,000 on Oct. 15, 2010, but has continued to carry about $4,000 in unpaid interest on his campaign reports.
Utah's other members of Congress Sen. Orrin Hatch and Reps. Jim Matheson and Jason Chaffetz have not loaned their campaigns money.