Our View: Put limits on campaign cash

Friday , July 18, 2014 - 12:56 PM

Editorial Board

Honestly, is there any argument left against Utah setting limits on campaign donations?

Or, are we once again going to deal with the same pusillanimous arguments by our pols that Utah does not need campaign cash limits, that the idea that big dollars would influence our vote is insulting, and that everything is properly disclosed, ad nauseam, and so on?

After the several-years spectacle of the attorney general’s office being receptive to those with the biggest cash pockets, such enabling rhetoric is enough to make one clutch an air sick bag.

Let’s make this perfectly clear: If Utah’s Legislature does not pass limits on campaign cash in the next general session, legislators are basically beyond help on this issue. There is no argument against campaign cash reform that should not be met with outrage and scoffs. We have seen the results of Utah’s dysfunctional campaign cash laws. If one has lots of money to spread to pols, too often that person or company will receive preferential behavior, regardless of the ethics involved.

Utah is one of only four states that basically have no limits on money that can be stuffed in pols’ pockets for use in campaigns. Also, in the matter of disclosure, Utah falls behind most of the other states. This is a dysfunction that should have been corrected a long time ago. But it wasn’t. Pols, enjoying the access and cash of deep-pocket donors, have instead passed mostly meaningless “baby-step” reforms.

The embarrassing and sickening saga of Shurtleff and Swallow must change the mind set and break down the objections. It’s time to limit campaign cash.

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