Following the City Opinion Question victory in 2013, we invited our supporters throughout the city to participate in constituent meetings with their city council members. At each meeting, participants advocated for local ordinances that would ban direct corporate contributions, and reduce individual donor contribution levels, to better reflect the views of voters expressed in last year's City Opinion Question.
The National Council of State Legislatures states that “limiting the amount and source of campaign contributions is one of the most common tactics for regulating money in politics.... All but four states also regulate corporate contributions--25 states have limits on the amounts corporations may contribute to candidates, and 21 states have an outright ban on corporate contributions.” Even after recent Supreme Court rulings such as Citizen’s United, these state restrictions/bans are still the law of the land, as is the century-old ban on direct corporate contributions on the federal level.
In Salt Lake City however, campaign finance ordinances currently fail to distinguish between corporations and people, despite voters overwhelmingly rejecting corporate personhood in 2013’s City Opinion Question #1. For example, of the high value contributions (over $500) made to the Becker mayoral campaign in the 2011 cycle, over one third came directly from corporations.
The Salt Lake City Council and Mayor’s Office should work together to enact ordinances to reflect the interests of voters in preserving a robust system of representation. Stay tuned for more opportunities to make a corporate contribution ban a reality in Salt Lake City.