Lawmakers Put the Kibosh on Campaign Limits Bill

Well, two-thirds of Utahns don’t seem to count for much when legislators’ own ability to raise their campaign funds are at risk.

At least that is what it seems after the House Government Operations Committee refused to approve HB60, House Minority Leader Brian King’s bill that would limit a legislative contribution limit of $5,000, limit statewide elections to $10,000.

A poll released by UtahPolicy on Tuesday shows that 69 percent some kind of campaign donation limits on legislative and statewide races.

Currently, Utah is one of four states with no such limits.

One could tell from the comments by GOP members of the committee that HB60 wasn’t going forward, so a Democrat on the committee moved to hold it for future action.

King, D-Salt Lake, told committee members that he hopes he can work with them over some of the concerns that came up.

And what were several of the concerns?

Well, Rep. Fred Cox, R-West Valley, went on at some length how he needed a check over $5,000 for him to compete in a recent election where he was outspent 4-1 by his Democratic opponent.

And Rep. Brad Daw, R-Orem, said several times that in 2012, when he was run out of office by an independent “dark money” campaign, HB60 wouldn’t have helped him.

In fact, it could have harmed him, Daw said, if he could have found people at the time to him big campaign checks.

So, once again, as it so many times happens when Utah’s part-time legislators are faced with a bill that affects them personally, the citizens’ desires – as measured in the new Dan Jones & Associates poll run Tuesday morning – take a back seat.

You can hear the debate on HB60 here.

You can read HB60 here.

And you can read the UtahPolicy poll results here.