It is the opinion of this column that politicians are usually honest.
No, seriously. Consider campaign donations. Many say these are just bribes to jerks who prostitute their votes in exchange for money.
I say, "No, they were already jerks. The donations make sure they stay in office."
Sadly, Rep. Rob Bishop disagrees with me.
In recent stories about ATK Space Systems losing a bid to build the next manned space launch vehicle, Rob implied that President Obama had been influenced by campaign donations from Elon Musk, owner of one of the winning companies, SpaceX.
"I have been concerned that favoritism may be playing far too prominent a role in NASA's decision-making process," he said. His staff, asked to explain, said Musk gave Obama a donation and Obama visited with Musk.
So, "Rob has concerns," the staffer said.
The Federal Election Commission says Musk gave $35,800 to the Obama Victory Fund in the past year. That's a lot, but Obama had $222 million as of the last reporting date.
I'm guessing Musk's share -- less than two one-hundredths of 1 percent, essentially a rounding error -- won't give Obama heartburn one way or the other.
But if Rob "has concerns" about Obama, his own campaign receipts raise the same worries.
Rob, as of June 30, raised $220,000 of which $138,000 is from corporate political action committees, including many companies that do business with the federal government or are heavily impacted by government regulation.
My source is the Federal Election Commission website, www.fec.gov. Most of these funds come through political action committees set up by corporations.
* Alliant Techsystems Inc. Employee Citizenship Fund: $7,000.
ATK has been in Box Elder since Rob was a pup. Rob would work for ATK, and the several thousand voters who work there, for free, but ATK gave him $7,000.
* The energy industry.
Rob is a strong critic of the Environmental Protection Agency and environmental advocacy groups that want to rein in energy development in Utah. This is reflected in energy sector donations to his campaign.
There's a lot of entries here. Be patient: Alpha Natural Resources, a major coal producer, $2,000; American Petroleum Institute PAC, $1,000; Arch Coal PAC: $3,000; Anadarko Petroleum PAC, $1,000.; Chevron Employees PAC, $1,000; CoalPAC of the National Mining Association, $2,500.
And: Conoco Phillips Spirit PAC, $1,000; Exxon Mobile PAC, $3,000; Devon Energy PAC (an oil drilling company) $1,000; MinePac, another PAC of the National Mining Association, $2,500; Tesoro Petroleum PAC, $2,500; National Ocean Industries Assn. PAC, a lobbying group for offshore oil drilling companies and related industries, $2,500; Newfield Exploration PAC, $1,000; The Williams Companies, natural gas producers, $2,000.
All that adds up to $26,000, which doesn't sound like a lot, except it's about 12 percent of Rob's entire campaign fund.
* Big Defense:
ATK is part of this. You also have Employees of Northrup-Grumman PAC, $8,500; Halliburton, $1,000; Lockheed Martin Employees PAC, $4,500; Materion Corp. PAC (makes exotic metals) $1,000.
The total here is $22,000.
Despite his talk about cutting federal spending, Rob supports massive military expenditures even though the U.S. already spends more on defense than the rest of the world combined.
So those are some of the corporations that support Rob. What about his opponent in the coming election?
That's easy. As of June 30, Democrat Donna McAleer has raised $66,541 of which $1,500 is hers, $250 is from the Democratic Party and the rest is individual donations.
Her individual contributions are actually not that much less than Bishop's $82,000.
The difference is no corporate political action committees had given McAleer anything.