What would happen if you had a fundraiser for Republicans in Utah and nobody showed up? That actually happened. But the intended recipients of the political contributions are the ones who went AWOL.
I wrote in Monday's column about a new twist to the Utah County Republican Party's Lincoln Day Dinner, the party's annual fundraiser, to be held on Feb. 18.
Donors who bought tables were invited to buy additional tables and designate specific legislators or legislative candidates they wanted to receive the contribution. Because state law forbids legislators from accepting campaign contributions during the legislative session, which began on Jan. 23 and ends on March 8, contributors were told to have their designated donations to the party by Jan. 22 and the money would be distributed to the legislators' campaigns after March 9.
But every Utah County legislator all Republicans, of course indicated they wanted no part of the plan. Some legislators have purchased tables themselves, to support the party, but none will accept money laundered through the party to get around the prohibition law. The appearance of such a contribution, one legislator told me, would be too suspicious.
Utah County Republican Chairman David Acheson admitted his experiment to attract a larger audience to the fundraiser didn't work.
"We tried a little marketing thing and, well, we failed on this one," he said.
Bad feds do good • The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Development Office sponsored an open house last week in Payson to celebrate the completion of eight "mutual self-help" homes in Payson and one in Santaquin.
The federally backed program is a win-win deal. To qualify, families must be low-income and live in rural areas. They use the federal loans to build their homes, but the homeowners work together to build blocks of eight or nine homes. The homeowners themselves must contribute 65 percent of the construction work under qualified supervision.
Rural Development nationally has an existing portfolio of more than $155 billion in loans and loan guarantees and, according to its news release, the program is intended to improve the economic stability in rural communities.
And to help celebrate, according to the USDA's announcement, representatives of Rep. Jason Chaffetz and Sen. Mike Lee were there to participate.
It's good to see Chaffetz and Lee recognize a good program that benefits communities and their residents.
They must have taken a brief sabbatical from their constant carping about the federal government and how it intrudes in every aspect of our lives.
Double standard, déjà vu • The Legislature is stepping in once again to protect Utahns from inconsistent city ordinances.
This time, it's about guns.
A bill has been introduced that would forbid local municipalities from charging a person with disorderly conduct for openly carrying a gun.
The bill's sponsor, Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clearfield, said it would be a way to ensure a uniform approach to protect gun rights and avoid confusion.
Earlier, another bill was introduced that would prohibit cities and counties from enacting restrictive billboard ordinances.
Meanwhile, Senate President Michael Waddoups, R-Taylorsville, has expressed doubt that a bill to protect gays and lesbians from job and housing discrimination would be successful.
He said local governments should be allowed to enact their own ordinances without interference from the state.
So if that one does fail, and the gun and billboard laws pass, the inconsistent logic of the Legislature will be on display once again.