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Candidate contributions bill advances through Senate committee

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 6 2013 5:05 p.m. MST

SALT LAKE CITY — A bill that would increase the limit on reportable anonymous campaign donations has taken another step forward at the Utah Legislature.

HB38, which was passed by the House of Representatives last week, would fix a loophole in current state law, as there is no provision declaring what candidates should do with anonymous contributions. Bill sponsor Rep. Kraig Powell, R-Heber City, said candidates are "put in an impossible situation" at reporting time when they don't know the name of a donor.

The bill states that anonymous donations under $100 can be reported as "aggregate" contributions, whereas the current limit is $50. Any anonymous donations above $100 would have to be given to either a government entity or nonprofit organization rather than be accepted by the candidate, as proposed in HB38. 

Powell said the bill is intended to require individuals to indicate their particular political support and curtail large anonymous donations to candidates, which are difficult to report.

The Senate Government Operations and Political Subdivisions Committee passed the bill to the Senate body, with Sen. Margaret Dayton, R-Orem, the committee chairwoman, casting the lone dissenting vote.

Dayton said the designated $100 limit is "low."

"I feel like if there are people who like to be anonymous in their good deeds or private in their donations, especially in this day and age, we should allow them to give more than $100," she said.

Wendy Leonard

Twitter: wendyleonards

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