Legislators discuss limiting campaign contributions

Jul 17, 2013

State legislators will meet Wednesday to discuss the possibilities of limiting the dollar amount of campaign donations given to those seeking elected office in Utah. 

The initial proposal would limit contributions for statewide offices like governor and attorney general to $10,000, and legislative offices and state school board to $5,000.

The Alliance for a Better Utah’s Maryann Martindale said she thinks limiting donations will level the playing field for candidates who receive aid from big corporations as opposed to an everyday resident; something she says will go a long way in restoring the general community’s trust in elected officials.

“There’s certainly the perception when someone is donating significant amounts of money that there’s some sort of expectation,” Martindale said. “I mean we live in a society where there’s this quid-pro-quo type of thing. You give something, you expect something in return. You have to wonder what it is that person expects for that investment.”

Representative Lee Perry, who is on the operations committee, said he doesn’t know if anything will pass through the system or not, but is interested to hear what other politicians will say on the topic.

“On one hand we certainly see the problems with people taking campaign donations and then spending them, and situations that we’re dealing with right now in our state and throughout the United States what that issue,” Perry said. “On the other hand, it has to do a lot with freedoms. And are we willing to take away people’s freedoms and say ‘you can only contribute this much even though you like this person.”

The legislators are scheduled to meet Wednesday at 9 a.m. in room 445 of the Capitol.

Tavin Stucki is a senior in Utah State University's journalism program, and works as a news reporting intern at UPR. He lives for sports, and is the current editor in chief at The Utah Statesman.