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My view: Fighting the ignoble reign of money

By Kim R. Burningham

For the Deseret News

Published: Friday, May 24 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

Too often, leaders are more intent on securing their next campaign dollar than in fighting for noble reform.

Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News

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The older I get, the more I am convinced of the truth of the oft-repeated maxim suggesting money is at the heart of much evil.

World and state headlines today provide vivid examples of this problem:

The Utah attorney general solicits political donations from the very people we expect him to monitor. How many "wheelers and dealers" offered substantial favors to the past and present attorney generals which were accepted?

The nation's Supreme Court rules so that influence-peddlers with bulging pocketbooks can spread their wealth without limitation or oversight. Can the public good possibly benefit from a system where some donors make huge,anonymous political contributions in this mischief created by the "Citizens United" decision?

Public records in Utah reveal politicians do little to seek financial support from their neighbors and much more to rake in the dollars from sycophantic donors with self-serving purposes. Why don't some of our legislators ask many neighbors for small donations, instead of simply accumulating large bank rolls from lobbyists?

Legislative bills that would control the free flow of money to politicians can't even get out of the committee for debate. In Utah, why does a non-partisan, governor-appointed commission recommend campaign finance limits and respected legislators of both parties file bills to accomplish those limits, but the issues can't even get out of the rules committee?

Some national politicians appear to vote to appease donors instead of voting for principle. I wonder how much money the children of Sandy Hook Elementary spent trying to influence a vote on reasonable gun control?

Too often, leaders are more intent on securing their next campaign dollar than in fighting for noble reform.

We, the public, must speak up, insisting this malignant reign of money be stopped. If it continues unabated, not only do the abusers deserve fault, but we who watch passively must also share the blame.

Kim R. Burningham is a former classroom educator, former state legislator and is the chairman of Utahns for Ethical Government. The point of view expressed does not necessarily represent any organization of which he is a part.

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