Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Campaign Finance Reform Ideas I like

From Monday's Deseret Morning News:

There are at least a dozen bills being drafted pertaining to state office campaigning, including:

• Conservative Rep. Greg Hughes, R-Draper, who is tired of judges putting wayward candidates back on the ballot after the candidates failed to file critical campaign disclosure reports on time — the penalty in the law now being their names struck from the ballot.

• And moderate Republican Rep. Sheryl Allen, R-Bountiful, who says too many candidates, including some sitting officeholders, and political issue committees and political action committees, are playing games with the reports. They are not listing substantial contributions and/or expenditures on their original reports, and then after an election they are filing an amended report that shows their real financial dealings.

The current laws-without-penalties make a mockery of efforts at fair campaigns.

Back in 2004, I was helping my friend Shaun run a campaign for County Council. One of his opponents in the primary (and eventual General Election winner) Mark Crockett failed to file his initial campaign finance disclosure on time. Then, when he was called on it, he filed a form saying he had not raised the $2000 required to file. He then filed an amended disclosure that said that he had raised $1999 from himself. However, there is no penalty in Salt Lake County for mis-filing your reports....


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