This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Re "Utah lawmakers downplay influence of special interests" (Tribune, Jan. 26):
In the most recent election cycle, the five largest categories of special-interest groups donated more than $1.6 million to Utah legislators. If distributed equally to the campaigns of our state representatives and senators, this would be a tidy $15,000 each.
Of course, these donations are not portioned out impartially; they are targeted to specific leadership and committee members with potential influence on a donor's business affairs. It's all perfectly legal (at least the part we know), but it's a wild fantasy to believe that nothing is expected in return.
"I'm sure there's some influence, but it's minimal from my experience," said incoming Senate Majority Leader Ralph Okerlund, R-Monroe. Businesses are not in the habit of incurring costs without predictable and exponential returns on investments.
In my experience, money talks; everything else walks.