Utah Senate President Michael Waddoups announced last year he would not run for re-election and will be leaving the Legislature at the end of the year.
But that didn't stop him from giving his campaign account $2,500 last January from the Senate Republican Campaign Committee PAC he controls. In fact, while Waddoups did not file a campaign finance report for 2012 because he was not a candidate this year, he received a total of $9,800 in contributions during the year. Added to his balance of $142,347 that was listed in his end-of-the-year report for 2011, Waddoups enjoys about $152,000 in his account.
Not bad for a non-candidate.
Waddoups says he has not solicited campaign funds for three years, but people contribute anyway. It probably didn't hurt that he was the Senate president during that time.
The PAC that gave him the $2,500 in January gave the same amount to every other senator at the annual Senate Republican breakfast. But he was the only beneficiary leaving office and, therefore, not needing campaign funds in the foreseeable future.
Not so fast, Waddoups cautions.
He is leaving the state for three years to serve as a mission president for the LDS Church, although he doesn't know his specific assignment yet.
But he intends to keep the campaign fund intact and when he returns will spend it "for political purposes" at that time.
State law forbids officeholders from spending campaign funds for personal purposes. They can spend it on their own campaigns, contribute to other candidates, political parties or PACs, for charity, or for expenses related to their office.
Because Waddoups did not file a campaign report for 2012, he doesn't have to divulge his expenses until the end-of-the-year report in January. He says he has used campaign money this year for official trips related to his office and to pay for his wife, Anna Kay, to accompany him. He has used no state money for Senate related trips.
"I'm the most frugal guy up here," he said.
Some political observers say the law should be changed to require an office-holder to report campaign contributions to other candidates within the same reporting period they are given, even it that officeholder is not running for re-election.
Waddoups favored Senate Majority Leader Scott Jenkins to replace him as president, although Jenkins lost to Sen. Wayne Niederhauser in the leadership election, and campaign contributions have been used to help persuade fellow senators in such leadership races.
Waddoups estimated his fund is down to about $125,000 as he prepares to leave on his mission.
All in the family • Micron, the semiconductor giant, gave $3,000 in October to the Utah County Legislative PAC, which exists to help Republican candidates in competitive races.
The PAC was founded and controlled by Sens. John Valentine and Curt Bramble and House Speaker Becky Lockhart, whose husband is Stan Lockhart, the lobbyist for Micron.
The Speaker's Victory Fund, also controlled by Lockhart, gave $5,000 to the Utah County Legislative PAC, which in turn gave campaign contributions to about 10 candidates in competitive races, mostly in Salt Lake County.
The Utah County PAC, I'm told, has more freedom than the Speaker's Victory Fund in which candidates it helps, since they don't necessarily have to be incumbents.
A winning formula • A Layton High School sophomore seems to have found the solution to the age-old problem of stolen campaign signs.
He had two signs for President Barack Obama disappear from his yard in Layton. So on the third sign he wrote, "If you steal this sign I'm donating $20 to Obama."
That sign survived.