Midday Commentary on Last Night’s News — June 22, 2015

I hope you all had a good Father’s Day. It’s probably nice to have the second-best kids around.

• Jeremy Johnson, he of the Krispy Kreme tape that kicked off the entire John Swallow investigation lo those many years ago, is being sued by the feds for allegedly funneling tens of thousands of dollars to whomever Thinkwould take it, including Sen. Mike Lee, Sen. Harry Reid, and then-Attorney General Mark Shurtleff. There’s no evidence that the three knew anything about the scheme that has become a classic in campaign donation practice. Here’s how it works:

Campaign contributions are capped at $2,400 per individual for each race, which doesn’t get you very far in a big race. So people with stupid amounts of money need to find a way to get candidates a larger portion of their stupid amounts of money. They’ll approach their friends and give them each $2,400 to pass on to said candidate. Such straw donors are slightly illegal and can end up getting you sued by the feds. (Trib)

Also, see Dan Burton’s take here at the Hub.

• Rep. Chaffetz unveiled his Mainstream Fairness bill, which is appropriately fedded up to be called the Remote Transactions Parity Act. It’s the mother of all fights that’s been going on since you were buying shady stuff from the Internet before Amazon was a gleam in Jeff Bezos’ eye. Basically, Utah is not collecting up to $120 million in sales tax annually because online vendors don’t have to charge it, and you are breaking the law by not reporting it. But hey, who am I to judge? (Trib)

• There’s a great little piece out of the Trib that I absolutely love about doing road work at night. Stay with me, here. UDOT does everything it can at night, because there’s a lot less traffic and you can get done a lot faster with road projects. Makes sense. But counties aren’t keen on the idea because they’re the ones who have to field phone calls from people who are woken up, can’t get to sleep, or worst of all, have kids who are woken up or can’t get to sleep because construction is loud.

More Hub:

• Rep. Fred Cox explains why there’s plenty of room in Draper to build the new prison, which makes sense — if the complaint is that there’s not enough room to build a new prison. Which it’s not. The complaint is that it’s in the middle of a major metro area that is only going to get bigger and having a prison in the middle of it makes people squirmy.

• Rick Larsen counters opposition to term limits by saying that limits are actually a pinnacle of the political system.

“It is disingenuous and simply arrogant to claim to be a representative of the people and yet, pick and choose the issues which they personally want to represent, disregarding others. There is no denying the strong support for term limits with men, women, Democrats, Independents, Republicans, rural and urban voters, all registering support greater than 69% for limits of state elected offices and their appointees to boards and commissions. Our directive is clear.”

And none of that interests you, io9 continues to tear it up with the 10 Craziest Punishments in Hell. My favorite? Poop River, of course.


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