State Representative Brian King (Democrat, SLC), announced today he is introducing legislation that will ban groups from giving hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars to political candidates in Utah.
“These provisions are necessary to return elections to individual voters, away from large donors,”said Representative King in a prepared statement. “The appearance of impropriety and undue influence of money on our elected officials, whether it is real or perceived, damages the public’s trust in its leaders. This bill will help prevent the possibility of “pay to play” agreements between an individual or organization and a candidate.”
The legislation is reportedly identical to a bill Representative King ran in 2010 (it never made it out of the House Rules Committee), and would limit PACs, Corporations and Labor Organizations to donating a maximum of $10,000 to a state office candidate, $5,000 to a legislative office candidate, $40,000 to a registered political party.
After a 2012 election season that saw more money being spent in Utah elections than ever before (biggest spenders: Senator Orrin Hatch, Congressman Jim Matheson, defeated challenger Mia Love, Governor Herbert, AG John Swallow, SLCO Mayor Ben McAdams), many lawmakers are anxious to attempt to start capping the influx of cash into political campaigns. Representative Kraig Powell (R, Heber City) is running a bill to strengthen anonymous cash donation limits, and Representative Greg Hughes (R, Draper) has legislation that would tighten restrictions on anonymous election polling.