This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2015, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Utah is one of just four states without campaign-donation limits and it looks like it will remain so.
The House on Tuesday again killed a proposed cap on contributions.
House Minority Leader Brian King, D-Salt Lake City, said it's no accident that Utah and Virginia two of those four states just had scandals related to campaign donations. They led to the resignation of Utah Attorney General John Swallow, and the resignation of Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell.
But many House members argued that donation limits would not stop the sort of secretive money laundering that Swallow is accused of, and could even make candidates less able to respond to such "dark money."
The House killed HB60, sponsored by King, on a 31-40 vote.
A string of similar bills have failed for years. This time, King attempted to pass donation limits twice as high as previously proposed. It would have capped donations at $20,000 for statewide offices such as governor, $10,000 for legislative races and $40,000 for political action committees or parties.
"Utahns are tired of the endless conflicts of interest we see, and want campaign contribution limits," King said.
However, Rep. Brad Daw, R-Orem, said the bill would do nothing to stop campaign corruption that helped defeat him in 2012. House investigators say Swallow secretly funneled $100,000 from payday lenders upset with Daw into groups that funded a large, nasty mail campaign against him.
"It wouldn't have changed anything," Daw said of HB60. He said it only targets "those who play by the rules," and may limit their ability to combat those who do not.
"We are all horrified by some of the things we have seen," Daw said. But "please let us not support a bill that on its face looks like" it is doing good, but "ends up stopping and punishing the wrong people."
King argued unsuccessfully that lawmakers should pass his bill to "give greater assurance to the people we represent that we are above undue influence."