Our View: Swallow = campaign reform

Thursday , January 16, 2014 - 11:04 AM

Editorial Board, Standard-Examiner

The Utah Legislature has long needed to enact campaign finance reform. And now there’s a huge advertisement for reform — ex-Utah attorney general John Swallow.

The grimiest of money made its way to Swallow and others, helped prodigiously by the fact that Utah has no serious campaign finance rules. It’s time to end our state’s lax campaign finance atmosphere. The stench is too dank to live with.

We urge legislators to get this reform done. There are alternatives from which to choose. State Rep. Kraig Powell, R-Heber City, has a proposal, House Bill 235, that would require any political donation above $50 be reported by a candidate with the donor’s name included. Incredibly, such donations can be made anonymously.

Another proposal worthy of consideration is from state Sen. Jim Dabakis, D-Salt Lake City. His measure would cap campaign contributions at $10,000 for organizations and groups for statewide offices, such as the governor or AG posts. For state legislative races, the contribution cap would be $5,000.

Utah is one of only a few states that have no limits on campaign contributions. As a result, big money does talk, it receives preferential treatment. Utah is a state in which those inhabitants who are poor know they are last to get the ear of too many pols. That needs to change, and serious campaign reform, such as the proposals mentioned, must not die in the legislative session this year.

Swallow = campaign reform. Remember that, state legislators.

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