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Governor's race heats up over campaign contributions

By John Daley | Posted - Mar. 24, 2010 at 5:58 p.m.



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SALT LAKE CITY -- In the race for governor, Peter Corroon and Gary Herbert are locking horns over the issue of campaign disclosure.


I think it is important to have a company name and occupation, as well, so citizens know where the money is coming from.

–Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon


Both candidates list campaign contributors on their websites, but the Corroon campaign also lists a donor's occupation and employer -- something it says should be required by state law.

Gov. Gary Herbert believes there should be no limits on contributions to a candidate; he favors "full disclosure."

On his campaign website, Herbert voluntarily lists donors, their names and amounts. But Democratic challenger Peter Corroon says that's not enough.

"I think it is important to have a company name and occupation, as well, so citizens know where the money is coming from, so they can be comfortable that big money isn't taking over our political system," Corroon says.

On his website, Corroon also lists contributors' occupation and employer.

Governor's race heats up over campaign contributions

That's the standard for any candidate for Congress, but Utah law only requires name and amount to be filed with the state.

"I don't know how anyone can say full disclosure does not include employer and occupation. That is probably the single best way to identify people and make it useful information," says Kirk Jowers, director of the Hinckley Institute of Politics.

Asked about it last week, Herbert at first accused Corroon of "one-upmanship."

"We're going to be as open and transparent as possible, but if he's looking to one-up me here or there, you know, that's just petty politics and gimmickry," Herbert said.

Pressed by reporters, he admitted it might improve disclosure.

"I've advocated for it. I've not only talked the talk, but I've walked the walk," Herbert said. "If there are better ways to be more transparent, I'm all for that. That's not a problem for me."


I believe in transparency so sincerely that I want to be the first candidate in Utah who posts donations to the campaign online, within 48 hours. ... I feel it is important that the citizens of Utah know who is supporting the candidacy of their governor.

–Gov. Gary Herbert


Ordinary citizens KSL News spoke with favor listing employer and occupation.

"I want to know where they're getting their cash from and who is really pulling the strings," says Sandy resident Skyler Vomdrop.

On the donor page of his website, Herbert is quoted, saying: "I believe in transparency so sincerely that I want to be the first candidate in Utah who posts donations to the campaign online within 48 hours. This is above and beyond the requirements of the law, but I feel it is important that the citizens of Utah know who is supporting the candidacy of their governor."

For some recent Corroon contributors, employer and occupation are not currently listed. Campaign Manager Donald Dunn said Wednesday the campaign held a major fundraising event last week and is in the process of adding employer and occupation to those that don't have them.

Dunn noted that federal election law requires listing employer or occupation for donations above $200. Dunn said the Corroon campaign plans to list employer and occupation for contributors giving $1,000 or more.

The Governor's Commission on Strengthening Democracy urged lawmakers to improve state disclosure laws and require candidates to list occupation and employer, but legislation to do that went nowhere in the last legislative session.

When asked Wednesday about voluntarily listing employer and occupation on Herbert's website, the governor's campaign manager, Joe Demma, said, "We're going to take a look at it."

E-mail: jdaley@ksl.com

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