October 11, 2008
Carolyn Frankenburg, Park City
How does campaign financing affect us in our community? Do you know where Utah state candidates get their money, and how they’re spending it?
Utah imposes no limits on the amount a candidate may accept from a single individual or interest group. State law also allows candidates to accept donations directly from corporations. In Utah, a candidate may spend campaign funds for any purpose, as long as the expense is properly disclosed. In this and past elections, state candidates have spent campaign donations on items ranging from clothing to babysitters to car repair!
Is our District 53 state representative (Mel Brown) committed to campaign finance reform? An examination of his contributions is revealing. Recent disclosures indicate that many of Rep. Mel Brown’s campaign donations have come directly from corporations. Many of these corporate donors, which include Anheuser-Busch, RJ Reynolds, Altria (formerly Phillip Morris), Monsanto, US Magnesium and Verizon, have limited if any ties to Utah. In fact, Rep. Brown has not recently received a single donation from an individual voter living in District 53!
Conversely, the challenger for House District 53, Kathy Lofft, has already demonstrated her personal commitment to reform by voluntarily adopting the FEC contribution limits in her campaign. This means that Kathy is limiting the amount of money she accepts from any individual or interest group. More importantly, Kathy is not accepting direct corporate contributions. The vast majority of the over 100 donors to her campaign thus far are individual voters and residents, many of them from District 53.
To me, this issue transcends Red or Blue, conservative or liberal, Republican or Democrat. The question is: Who do we think will better represent our interests in the state legislature? I believe Kathy is the better candidate because her support comes largely from the voters, not from corporate interests. Kathy Lofft stands with all of us who expect integrity and accountability in government. Our Utah legislature has been under scrutiny in these areas of campaign financing and ethics but our legislators have done nothing to change it. We all need to pay attention to this race and elect someone who will fight to pass reasonable campaign financing laws.
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Please vote for Kathy Lofft for the Utah House of Representatives District 53. She has the energy and commitment to make these changes so that our state government is truly representing our interests.