Among the many ways to influence politics and politicians is an old-time favorite: money.
And the man who gave more money to Utah politicians this year than anyone else is Geneva Steel's president Joe Cannon.Cannon is a Republican - a man some say yearns to be governor - and he gave to his party and its candidates this year in many ways and in varying amounts, a review of party, candidate and political action committee financial reports shows.
As best as can be determined from a review of the reports, Cannon; his immediate family; his Orem-based company, Geneva Steel; and top Geneva executives and their families gave a total of $55,500 to the State Republican Party, the GOP legislative political action committee and GOP 3rd District candidate Karl Snow.
If you add in Cannon's brother, Chris, and the top executives of Chris' company, the Cannon family total tops $70,000.
No other individual Utahn orchestrated such giving. Few political action committees - which draw upon thousands of individual contributors - outspent Cannon.
For example, the Utah Education Association, the huge teacher union with 16,000 members, gave more than $71,000 to candidates this year. The AFL-CIO labor PAC and affiliated union PACs with thousands of union members gave a total of $59,807. And the Committee for a Republican Majority - the PAC that funnels money to Utah House and Senate Republican candidates - spent $64,611 on electing Republicans.
Thus Cannon, his family and company executives gave more money to candidates and parties than most other groups gave. Cannon couldn't be reached for comment on his political financial support. He is out of town, a Geneva spokesman said.
A footnote: The totals on Cannon's political support don't include any individual contributions to legislative candidates. Individuals, of course, don't have to report their political giving, and legislative candidates don't have to file their campaign financial statements until 30 days after the election.
Depending on the group or individual to which he contributed, Cannon's financial support had varying degrees of impact.
His largest single contribution, $33,000, went to the State Republican Party. The party raised and spent half a million dollars this year, so Cannon's contribution, while the largest single contribution, made up only 7 percent of the party's finances.
Cannon and Geneva Steel gave $8,000 to the Committee for a Republican Majority, 14 percent of that PAC's money. The CRM raises and doles out money to GOP legislative candidates. Cannon gave more money to GOP legislative candidates, via the CRM, than the State Republican Party gave to its own candidates.
And, in combination with his brother, Chris, and executives from both brothers' companies, the Cannons gave or caused to be given $28,000 to Snow's unsuccessful U.S. House candidacy - a significant 15 percent of all the money, excluding personal loans, that Snow raised.
There are no limits to how much individuals, groups or businesses may give to political parties or state or local candidates. There are limits to how much individuals and PACs can give to federal candidates. The Cannons' giving to Snow's federal campaign was within those legal limits, reports show.