Monday, December 20, 2004

Utah's Special Interests, Part II

this is an audio post - click to play

In response to our post last week on their story about special interests dominating contributions to Utah state legislators, Lee Davidson and Bob Bernick Jr. of the Deseret Morning News wrote a follow-up story on the need for campaign finance reform in Utah.

However, the Utah Legislature has been loathe to enact serious reform, at least since 1992, when recently elected Governor Leavitt was told by legislators that "reform suggestions coming from the executive branch would not be well-received." Not that the Legislature is going out of its way to enact its own reforms. As departing Senator Fritz Hollings once said, asking politicians to pass governmental reform is like delivering lettuce by way of a rabbit.

The answer to this dilemma is citizen action. Only when citizens stand up and demand the reforms that will ensure their rightful voice in the political process will legislators get off their collective seats and pass the necessary legislation. And if the legislature doesn't respond to the public's demands, I can't think of a better reason to have and use the initiative process.

As long as Utah's state legislators continue to finance their campaigns with money from corporations and other wealthy interests that don't even live in their districts, the government in Utah will neither be representative nor a democracy.

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