Every so often, when perusing the candidates’ campaign disclosure forms, you stumble upon weird gems. Something different than flyers, mailers, and food. Here are a few of the gems found in this year’s forms:
- I am all for friendly and civil elections. But I find it strange that Senator Jim Dabakis provided his opponent, Jacquie Nielsen, with campaign advice. According to her disclosure, Dabakis provided her with an in-kind donation of a campaign consultation. The question becomes, was it really worth $100? I can just imagine it: “Don’t run,” he said. “You don’t have a chance at beating me.”
- In the same vein of bipartisanship, Rep. Curt Oda took Rep. Jen Seeling and former Rep. David Litvak to lunch at the Red Iguana with his campaign cash. At least I am assuming he bought them lunch, either that or Oda downed $80 worth of chips, enchiladas, and mole. Oda seems the generous with other people’s money type, after lunch he used campaign funds to purchase a wedding gift for Rep. Ken Ivory’s daughter from Bed, Bath, and Beyond, because nothing helps your reelection campaign more than bestowing a colleague’s kid with a set of 200-thread-count sheets.
- We have all heard ad nauseam about the efficiencies of Rep. David Lifferth’s electric vehicle, and it turns out his frugality extends beyond his transportation. Lifferth spent money from his campaign account for pants from the D.I. He also purchased a cot with campaign funds. Does someone need to let him know the sleep-in-your-office-on-your-cot gimmick has been done before?
- Speaking of trying to follow our Congressional delegation’s lead, former state representative and current candidate Fred Cox purchased a stack of copies of the US Constitution from the Capitol. If you are constantly whipping out your pocket Constitution a la Mike Lee, it starts to show wear. I see the wisdom in stocking up. (Wait, how strange is it that Cox is channeling Senator Mike Lee, while running against a Democrat named Mike Lee?)
- As we all know from skimming the Cliff Notes of How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie tells us that giving our friends money is a great way to make them “feel important.” (OK, I don’t know that Carnegie actually mentions giving money, that wasn’t covered in the Cliff Notes.) But money IS nice to give when you are wooing support in your upcoming House Leadership race. Rep. Brad Dee seems to want: Jon Stanard, John Knotwell, Mike McKell, Robert Spendlove, Jon Cox, Steve Eliason, Sophia DiCarlo, Craig Hall, Justin Fawson, and Johnny Anderson to all “feel important”, and has contributed to each of their campaigns. Rep. Greg Hughes, who is also running for Speaker, donates out of his personal funds and not his campaign account, so those donations take more effort to track, though I am sure he is spreading the love as well. We’ll never know if they donations were worth it; leadership votes are by secret ballot.
- Sen. Howard Stephenson should have no trouble winning on election day as his district leans heavily Republican. But his competitor has beat him out in fundraising. Michelle Weeks, a former Mrs. Utah, has squeaked by him raising over $32,000. Money like this makes the race interesting to watch…but let’s face it: it’s a safe Republican district.
To read this year’s campaign disclosures, visit: http://disclosures.utah.gov/