In response to your recent in-depth article about tobacco money contributed to campaigns of most state legislators, you highlighted a symptom of the disease that is our campaign-finance system. However, you failed to take the story to one of those legislators who found creative and honest solutions to these problems.
Dave Jones, Democratic leader of the State House of Representatives, is one such legislator. Dave received $200 from Phillip Morris unsolicited (as many do). Instead of simply refusing the contribution, he donated the money to the American Cancer Society. In fact, Dave Jones turned bad money good, while staying true to his beliefs.Tobacco is not the only money Dave Jones turned good during the last campaign. Two other examples: Dave received $500 from the Utah Beer Wholesalers and promptly donated $500 to the Homeless Children's Foundation. He received $200 from the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States and donated it to the Community Counseling Center, which provides rehabilitative services for alcoholics.
When Dave received money from special interests that conflicted with his value system, I worried about the political risk of not returning it. But Dave insisted that contributing the money was a better way to use the unsolicited funds. He was right. But according to the generic labeling of "tobacco money recipient" Dave received in your article, so was I.
The Deseret News should be congratulated for keeping an eye on the Legislature. But while doing so, the Deseret News must highlight those individuals who found truly honorable solutions to these problems.
1996 campaign manager
Dave Jones for State Representative
Salt Lake City