I got a call from a representative of a local billboard company last week. He said that since I was running for the legislature, they were interested in making a donation to my campaign in the form of a steep discount off of running an ad for me on one of their electronic billboards.
He mentioned that they had offered and been taken up on this same “donation” for my opponent Chet Loftis, and you can see the advertisement they are running for Chet if you drive down through North Salt Lake.
I didn’t have to promise anything. All they wanted was a general idea of my position on private property rights, and to form a friendship now, so I would know them and know that they helped me out if I made it into the legislature.
I thought it over, and decided to write this letter to the editor instead of taking him up on the offer.
You can look up all of the donations that any candidate or politician has received by going to http://disclosures.utah.gov/search/publicsearch, then type in the name of the individual you are looking for, then click on “Go to public view”, then choose “Received contributions report”.
If you look this information up for the race that I am in, you will find that less than 5 percent of the money donated to Mr. Loftis’ Campaign comes from other individuals who live here in Bountiful. Instead, you will find that most of it comes from the real estate lobby, several trial lawyer firms, the health insurance industry, and multiple other legislators from around the state. (And you can see the $867 donation from the billboard company).
If you look up the same information for me, you will find that most all my donations come from individuals living here in Bountiful. I would encourage you to not take my word for it, but to go look it up yourself. I’m sure no specific promises have been made, but a relationship is formed, and then later when the group who helped you out has something that they want done, the natural human thing is to have an allegiance to whoever it was that helped you.
There is nothing illegal about corporations and lobbyists helping out candidates and politicians, but if you wonder why the corporations and lobbyists often seem to get what they want from the legislature, and the general public often doesn’t, this is one of the main reasons.
My hope is that there will be at least some of the folks in Bountiful who will give me their vote based on my not taking the money, to make up for the votes I might have gotten by taking money from the lobbyist groups and then spending that money on additional advertising for my campaign.
Ray Ward M.D.-PhD.