In the wake of the scandal involving Utah Attorney General John Swallow, accused of arranging a bribe of a U.S. senator to help a troubled businessman avoid a Federal Trade Commission investigation, several state lawmakers have announced a desire to re-write state ethics laws. Sadly, though, some of the first attempts out of the box do little to improve the situation.
And one bill, which makes it easier to accept anonymous donations, and easier to launder the money so received, is a clear step in the wrong direction.
HB38, by Rep. Kraig Powell, R-Heber City, passed out of committee Monday. It would raise the limit for anonymous campaign donations from the current $50 to $100. Current law is silent on what a campaign can do with anonymous donations of more than the limit. Truly anonymous gifts can't, by definition, be returned to their donor. So the bill would allow campaigns to give any excess money received in that way to charity or to a state or local government general fund.