Our History

What if there were a scandal and no one cared?

Alliance for a Better Utah is probably best known as the progressive non-profit that brought down Utah Attorney General John Swallow over illegal campaign finance activities. However, Better Utah’s ideals of balance, transparency and accountability took root much earlier when our Founder, Josh Kanter, came to the realization that there was a missing voice in Utah’s political landscape who could say whatever needed to be said, whenever it needed to be said, regardless of the consequences. And so an idea was born – the Alliance for a Better Utah. A group that would engage openly and honestly in the public square. Insuring a balanced dialog about policy. Holding elected officials accountable to their constituents. Shining a light where there was a lack of transparency.

When Senate President Mike Waddoups called 100,000 Utahns lazy, Better Utah was there. When Utah wanted to follow Arizona down the immigration rabbit hole, Better Utah was there. When the Utah legislature wanted to run GRAMA over with a bus, Better Utah was there. When the Utah legislature gerrymandered the redistricting effort, Better Utah was there. When the Utah legislature wanted to eliminate sex-education for our children, Better Utah was there. When the American Legislative Exchange Council came to Utah, Better Utah was there. When Representative Mia Love backed the destruction of the very programs that got her to where she is today, Better Utah was there. When Senator Mike Lee received the equivalent of a $400,000 campaign contribution from a bank, Better Utah was there. When no one else was left standing for Medicaid expansion, Better Utah was there. When Judge Johansen needed to be shown the door, Better Utah was there. And yes, when Attorney General John Swallow broke the law, Better Utah was there.

Time and again, Better Utah has been and will be there – ensuring that there is balance, accountability and transparency in Utah politics, policy and government.

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Better Utah Highlights

September 1, 2010

An Idea is Born

UDOT pays $13 million  — What if there were a scandal and no one cared?

September 1, 2010

February 1, 2011

Immigration Billboard

Better Utah joins the immigration debate with our first billboard, joint venturing with Cuentame.

February 1, 2011

June 15, 2011

Redistricting

Better Utah leads a coalition group fighting for fair and open redistricting.

June 15, 2011

April 30, 2012

Denise Graham Gets Paid

Better Utah helped a wrongly terminated UDOT employee get justice.

April 30, 2012

July 25, 2012

ALEC Exposed Conference

Better Utah holds a public counter-conference during ALEC’s national conference.

July 25, 2012

November 4, 2012

Poll Retraction

Better Utah’s internal polling leads to first-ever Salt Lake Tribune election poll retraction.

November 4, 2012

January 23, 2013

Swallowgate: Better Utah Files Utah Bar Association Complaint

January 23, 2013

March 7, 2013

Swallowgate: Better Utah Files Election Law Violation with Lt. Governor’s Office

March 7, 2013

May 10, 2013

Swallowgate: Lt. Governor Calls for Special Investigation

Better Utah’s election law violation claim leads to a call for investigation by the Lt. Governor’s office.

May 10, 2013

November 6, 2013

What if there were a scandal and no one cared?

Better Utah holds its first annual breakfast fundraiser in what has now become a tradition for progressive Utahns.

November 6, 2013

November 13, 2013

Coalition for a Compassionate Utah is Formed

Better Utah spearheads the creation of the Coalition for a Compassionate Utah. Made up of over a dozen additional non-profit groups, the coalition was formed with the sole purpose of pressuring Governor Herbert to accept Medicaid expansion for the state’s 123,000 uninsured Utahns who would be covered by additional Medicaid dollars.

November 13, 2013

February 28, 2014

Better Utah Joins the Fight for Equality

Better Utah files and amicus brief with the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in support of marriage equality. The brief takes the unique stance of examining Utah’s broken political process—arguing that a balanced and accountable process would have prevented Amendment 3 from ever making it out of the state house.

February 28, 2014

May 1, 2014

Karen Shepard Internship

Better Utah’s internship program is renamed the Karen Shepard Internship for Ethics and Good Government.

May 1, 2014

February 5, 2016

Better Utah Sues State Over School Funding

Better Utah files a lawsuit against the state of Utah based on the argument that state leaders have failed in their constitutional duty to adequately fund the public school system.

February 5, 2016

October 2, 2016

ABU Education Fund Launches Debate Series

Better Utah’s sister organization, ABU Education Fund, announces the start of its debate series, a collaboration with the University of Utah’s debate series.

October 2, 2016

January 21, 2017

Better Utah Co-Sponsors Women’s March in Park City

Better Utah co-sponsors the Women’s March in Park City, lead by celebrity comedian Chelsea Handler.

January 21, 2017

May 17, 2018

Better Utah Releases the First Legislative Progress Report

Better Utah released the first annual Legislative Progress Report following the 2018 general legislative session in an effort to increase clarity of the legislative process and hold representatives and senators accountable.

May 17, 2018