It’s an important question: Are Shurtleff and Swallow bad apples in an otherwise fair electoral system? Or does the system itself need reform?
In a weekend op-ed in the Salt Lake Tribune, Maryann Martindale, executive director of Alliance for a Better UTAH, argued that citizens should avoid thinking of the Shurtleff/Swallow arrests as proof the system works.
The establishment has been quick to call out the misdeeds of a few bad apples, to affirm that the system works, and thus to quickly move on without ever having to enact substantive changes. Such an approach is shortsighted. The system itself created the opportunities for actors like Swallow and Shurtleff to severely take advantage of it. We should learn from their fall.
Utahns from both parties should be pushing for changes in electoral policy. Chief among those changes are:
- Creating an independent ethics commission
- Empowering the Lt. Governor’s office to quickly investigate allegations of campaign finance violations
- Enacting campaign finance reforms, including a limit on contributions
The full op-ed can be read here.