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Legislators receive public input, discuss campaign contributions

Utah Capitol

Suspicions of government corruption stemming from large campaign donations to up-and-coming Utah officials had the state legislature discussing the possibilities of limiting large-dollar campaign gifts in Wednesday’s special session of the Utah Legislature.

Representatives came out of the special session of the Utah Legislature empty-handed Wednesday, at least in terms of passing a bill to limit financial campaign donations, but there was a significant amount of conversation going on in the Government Operations Interim Committee, which handled the matter

Representative Brian King says he and Kraig Powell had very similar bills that only differed on a few points, but never ended up putting anything to a vote.

“There were some questions from members of the committee, mostly a little skeptical, but we heard from the public too," King said. "There were a number of folks from the public who spoke and I think that my sense is that was generally favorable in terms of people saying that they felt that we need to do something to dilute the influence of unlimited campaign contributions on candidates and office holders once they get elected.”  

Ultimately, King said there needs to be a little more research done and Utah residents need to inform their legislators if they like, or don’t like, the idea of monetary campaign restrictions.

“I think that we need to do some more work to have the public let their legislators know they don’t like Utah being one of only four states in the country that has no campaign contribution limits whatsoever,” King said.

The Utah Legislature is next scheduled to meet September 17.

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.