Cathy McKitrick spills the beans in this morning's Standard article
Some unopposed Weber candidates easily attract sizable donations
McKitrick details campaign donations to several candidates who are running unopposed.
From the article,
No one from any political party mounted a challenge this year to Republican incumbent Kerry Gibson, who will sail to a second term as Weber County commissioner this November. The former state lawmaker’s Oct. 28 report — the first he’s been required to file this year — showed that he started with a fund balance of $13,302 and brought in $12,650 in donations throughout 2014.
Gibson’s largest donations include $5,000 from a political action committee called Preserve Ogden Valley, two $1,500 contributions from Randall Moulding and a business called AFC Tanks, and $1,000 from Staker Parsons, a six-decades-old sand, rock and concrete company.
Records show that the Preserve Ogden Valley PAC was launched in December 2013 by Elliott Bisnow, founder and chief executive officer for Summit, the visionary company that purchased Powder Mountain earlier that year.
Reports show that in early January, Summit Mountain Holding Group LLC — the real estate development arm for Summit — contributed $12,000 to Preserve Ogden Valley in three separate donations. And on Jan. 10, $5,000 went to Friends of Kerry Gibson, and $5,000 to Friends of Matt Bell. Matthew Bell was elected to a four-year term on the Weber County Commission in 2012, so will not appear on this year’s ballot.
For Gibson’s part, he underscored that every election is important to him.
“I have been very busy knocking on doors, attending gatherings, listening and learning all that I can to understand the issues that voters feel are important,” Gibson said by email Wednesday afternoon. “I have found that there is solid support for the positive momentum that we see here in Weber County, and for that, I am truly grateful. I will continue to work hard to move forward in a way that the voters can be proud of.”
Attempts to reach someone who could speak for Summit or the Preserve Ogden Valley PAC Wednesday were unsuccessful.
In late May, Summit Mountain made another $2,500 donation to the Preserve Ogden Valley PAC, funds which went out a day later to James Ebert, the Republican candidate running unopposed for the third commission seat on this year’s ballot.
Ebert, a Farr West resident and Riverdale police lieutenant, won his party’s nomination at the Weber County GOP convention in April, when he beat out incumbent Jan Zogmaister and challenger James Humphreys. No Democrat filed to run against him.
Ebert reported a total of $6,230 in donations since April, with $2,500 from Summit, $1,500 from the Northern Wasatch Association of Realtors, $1,000 from the Weber County Republican Party (at Bell’s home address), and $1,000 from Randall Moulding.
On Oct. 6, Preserve Ogden Valley PAC gave $500 each to Weber County Treasurer John Bond and Clerk/Auditor Ricky Hatch. Both are incumbents; Bond faces off against Democrat Jared Erickson, an Ogden certified public accountant; Hatch is opposed by Democrat and former state lawmaker Neil Hansen.
“Usually people spend money on campaigns to get a return on their investment, but they don’t waste their money,” said Leah Murray, an associate professor in political science at Weber State University.
“I don’t know if you’re buying influence so much as access,” Murray added. “If you want to make sure they take your call, you give.”