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Washington • Rep. Mia Love will reimburse taxpayers for a flight she was paid for but didn't take earlier this year, her office says, making this the second time the freshman Republican has dipped into her own pocket to pay back her congressional office.
Questioned last week about two flights on consecutive days in February from Washington to Utah, Love's office had said she missed the initial flight and took the second but was charged by Delta Air Lines for both. She was reimbursed for both since she was charged by Delta, her office said.
On Monday, Love's office said she would reimburse taxpayers for the $537 she was paid for the missed flight. The office noted that Love employs a certified public accountant who performs end-of-year reviews to make sure all expenses are reimbursed properly.
"We will issue you a letter confirming that all flights taken were properly reimbursed and are in agreement with your personal credit-card charges and reimbursements, as well as being in compliance with your internal office records," CPA Thomas E. Anfinson wrote in a letter to Love on Nov. 3, the day after The Salt Lake Tribune first inquired about the two flights.
The reimbursement marks the second time Love has faced questions on government-funded flights. She paid back taxpayers in September for flying from Salt Lake City to Washington to attend the annual White House Correspondents' Dinner.
The flights and expenses around that weekend were about $1,100; House rules forbid members from charging taxpayers for events that are "primarily social in nature."
Doug Owens, a Democrat who ran against Love in 2014 and is seeking a rematch, jumped on the news that Love had paid back another flight.
"Mia Love's pattern of misusing taxpayer dollars and disregarding ethics rules is very troubling," said Owens' campaign strategist, Taylor Morgan. "Utahns are rightfully concerned and deserve assurances that this won't happen again."
In the latest case, House records show that Love was paid for two flights, one on Feb. 5 and one the next day, and her office confirmed both originated in Washington and ended in Salt Lake City. While votes ended before noon on Feb. 5, Love didn't take that flight and flew home the next day, her office said.
Airlines allow members of Congress to book multiple flights but only pay for those they actually make.
In a statement, Love's office said its procedures are "taken very seriously," and that's why it employs an accountant.
The costs for the flight in question, the statement said, "has been paid back to the U.S. Treasury."
Love's office would not say when the congresswoman reimbursed the government for the flight.