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House committee holds bill setting limits on campaign contributions



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SALT LAKE CITY — A House committee voted Tuesday to hold a bill that would place limits on how much could be contributed to political candidates.

The sponsor of HB60, House Minority Leader Brian King, D-Salt Lake City, urged members of the House Government Operations Committee to back his bill because Utahns want to see campaign contribution limits.

"It's something that the public gets," King said, noting Utah is one of just four states with no limit on how much money can be donated to a candidate for state or local office.

Setting limits of $5,000 for legislative or school board candidates and $10,000 for statewide office candidates, he said, "demonstrates a responsiveness on the part of the Legislature" to public concerns over the influence of money in politics.

But committee members questioned what impact the limits, based on recommendations by former Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr.'s Commission on Strengthening Utah's Democracy, would have on so-called "dark money."

King said such contributions, which come from organizations not required to disclose their donors, are protected by court rulings as free speech. But he said he would be willing to look at ways to address the concerns.

Lisa Riley Roche

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