Two of every three dollars in donations given to Utah democratic congressional candidates by individuals come from outside the state.
In fact, Rep. Wayne Owens, D-Utah, raises more from New Yorkers than from Utahns, according to computer-assisted research of Federal Election Commission reports by the Deseret News.Republican House candidates - who raise the lion's share of their money within Utah - say those figures show Democrats are forced to represent the interests of large out-of-state donors more than those of voting Utahns.
Democrats say the fact Utah is predominantly Republican merely forces them to search for funds elsewhere so they don't have to put the pinch on home-state supporters too often.
The latest data on FEC computers show that Owens receives the most among Utah candidates from residents of other states - $95,290 of the $138,405, or 68.8 percent.
That amount is from individuals making donations larger than $100 and does not include money from political action committees - most of which also comes from out of state.
The largest chunk of Owens' money came from New Yorkers - $45,250. That was slightly more than the $43,115 he has raised from Utahns.
His Republican opponent, Genevieve Atwood, received only 33 percent of her donations from individuals from outside Utah - $10,950 out of $32,900.
She said Owens has to spend a large amount of time with out-of-staters to raise his money and suffers from what she calls "peer group shift."
"The more time you spend with certain folks, the more you talk and sound like them instead of the people who elect you," she said. "Large out-of-state donors have become Wayne's constituency, and they are not us."
She and Rep. Jim Hansen, R-Utah, also said Owens spends much of his time at New York fund-raisers and has missed some important votes because of them.
Owens counters that he has seen figures showing that Republican Sens. Jake Garn and Orrin Hatch raise similar percentages of money from out of state. "Is Atwood suggesting they don't represent Utah either?"
He adds, "I think it is quite common to go where you have friends who like you. I have a lot of friends out of state because of my work on the Foreign Affairs Committee. It's a lot easier to seek some money there than hit friends in-state hard all the time."
He added that he has had only four trips to New York for fund-raisers during the past two years - including one this week where he was accompanied by actor Robert Redford. He said they have never forced him to miss a vote where his vote would have changed the outcome of an issue.
Owens also noted that "Atwood has spent all this week in Washington seeking money which is from out of state, so she can't say she is totally opposed to taking it."
In the 1st District race, FEC data show Democrat Kenley Brunsdale has raised 62.8 percent of money from out-of-state individuals - $15,000 of $23,880 total.
His opponent, Hansen, received 29.4 percent from out of state - $8,350 of $28,426.
Hansen said, "That's why Democrats blocked campaign reform proposals this year that would make them raise one dollar in their home state for every dollar that they raised out of state." He agreed with Atwood that the situation makes Democrats more beholding to out-of-state donors.
Brunsdale's campaign manager, Tom Melling, said while most of Brunsdale's dollars come from out of state, most of his donors are from Utah - they just give in smaller amounts.
"We counted 210 individual donors, and 174 of them came from Utah. That shows he has a lot of support from local Utahns and that he represents the middle and working classes," Melling said.
In the 3rd District race, Democrat Bill Orton received all of the money from individuals making donations larger than $100 from out of state. But he only had one such contribution - $500 from Blake D. Rubin of Bethesda, Md.
His Republican opponent, Karl Snow, received 20.7 percent of his contributions from individuals from out of state - $11,250 of $54,263.
Who funds the races?
*In-state *Out-of-state Percent of
donors donors out of state
Rep. Jim Hansen $20,076 $8,350 29.4
Kenley Brunsdale $8,880 $15,000 62.8
Rep. Wayne Owens $43,115 $95,290 68.8
Genevieve Atwood $21,950 $10,950 33.3
Karl Snow $43,013 $11,250 20.7
Bill Orton $0 $500 100.0
*For individuals making donations larger than $100. Does not include political action committees.
Source: Federal Election Commission.