Utah lawmaker resigning due to fundraising ban during legislative session

By Josh Loftin

Associated Press

Published: Saturday, Dec. 17 2011 4:00 p.m. MST

As the former House Speaker, Clark has a strong reputation among Republicans. But he is also running for the 2nd Congressional District against multiple GOP candidates and will face a convention fight in mid-April, barely a month after the end of this year's session.

"The amount of money that would be needed for a federal race is a multiple many times of what is needed for a state race." Clark said.

Idaho House Speaker Lawerence Denney, R-Midvale, said even though his state doesn't have such a ban, it would be unnecessary and moot.

"It's a practice not to do fundraising while we're in session," Denney said. "I don't necessarily think there's a whole lot of difference between raising money in session or out, unless you're voting on legislation a lobbyist has been lobbying for. I don't think there's any real problem with having a fundraiser in your districts, a tea or coffee, and have your constituents contribute. But we don't even do that, or don't attempt to."

Meanwhile, state Senate Republican Dan Liljenquist resigned on Thursday in the clearest indication yet that he plans to challenge six-term U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch in a race that will test the clout of conservative activists going into next year's elections. However, it wasn't immediately clear if Liljenquist's decision to resign had anything to do with the fundraising ban.

One of Wimmer's congressional opponents, Rep. Stephen Sandstrom, R-Orem, said he'll stay in the Utah Legislature because of an ongoing battle over immigration laws. Earlier this year, he was the sponsor of an enforcement bill that he wants to tweak because of concerns raised by the U.S. Justice Department.

If he is in the Legislature, he doesn't expect to do much campaigning and doesn't plan on challenging the ban. He has said he will resign, too, to focus on the federal race — but only after the state session ends

"If I'm a legislator, I'm going to be a legislator," said Sandstrom. "I may not have the time to be out talking to people. But I have an obligation to those who elected me to remain serving."

Contributing: Dennis Romboy

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