The story in today’s paper about gubernatorial candidate Peter Caroon imploying that Gov. Gary Herbert is taking political contributions from companies that later received governmental contracts is interesting, but doesn’t reveal anything surprising.
Caroon says the contributions raise “red flags” but never says Herbert is violating the law. Herbert gets all huffy over his integrity being impugned, but never disputes any facts in Caroon’s memos.
So what is the big deal?
Well, they’re both right, which is the sad part.
Politics as usual in Utah means that large campaign donors support where Utah spends its money because that is how those same donors make their living. It comes as no surprise that some of the major campaign donors to GOP candidates in Utah are contractors, because contractors look at Utah’s continually building of roads, highways and interstates as a permanent jobs program that has to be protected. Get some weeny Democrat in there who believes in mass transit and where is your next road program then?
As I’ve said before and will repeat here: Campaign contributions in Utah aren’t meant to sway politicians, they are meant to insure that politicians who already agree with the donor gets elected. They are insurance, and Gov. Herbert is well-insured.
What amazes me is that, in Utah, the reddest of red states, the Tea Party is not up in arms over the whole system, demanding campaign reform that limits the ability of major donors to so heavily weigh the odds in favor of their chosen candidates. After all, it is CEOs who get rich on government contracts, not the workers laying the asphalt.
Aren’t Tea Partiers supposed to be down on fat cats getting drunk at the government tap? I thought they were, but perhaps I am wrong.
In any event, Caroon is right to rail against the current system, which pretty much guarantees that major corporations get their guy in office.
It’s odd that Utah Tea Partiers, who claim to be all about the little guy, aren’t screaming for limits on corporate campaign donations. It may be a free speech issue, but corporate donations also give corporations a huge microphone to yell through, while the $20 you send in barely makes a peep.