Whenever Utah citizens, activists or newspaper editorials suggest that government would be the better for it if there were limits on the flow of campaign funds from special interests to candidates for public office, sitting office holders respond with a mixture of hurt and outrage.
How dare we, say the powerful, impugn the character of our public officials by suggesting that mere filthy lucre can alter the behavior of duly elected office holders. And it is true that direct ties between a campaign donation here and a vote there can be hard to establish.
But two new academic studies provide scientific foundation for the widely held notion that money talks. These research papers, together with the fact that the whole of the Utah political establishment is buried in the scandals attendant to Attorney General John Swallow's questionable fund-raising tactics, should inspire the political class to be much more receptive to imposing limits on the amount of money that flows into our state's political system.