Corporate Puppet Masters: Campaign Finance Investigation

Utah-Stories-Feb-2015-smaller-stickerUtah Stories is currently working on a funding campaign (through either or to finance our initiative to conduct a series of investigations into how campaign finance is affecting our local politicians.

We believe there is no better service a local media organization can provide than to scrutinize the decisions of our political leaders. This rarely happens anymore because these types of investigations are time consuming and costly. We especially want to examine the decisions they are making which benefit national corporations and are a detriment to local small business owners and farmers.

Please sign up for a Utah Stories digital subscription  (in the box to the right) to be notified when the video, funding and donating mechanism are all in place.


puppet- investigation
In our February 2015 issue of Utah Stories we spotlight the strings attached to the decisions of Utah Senator Orrin Hatch. In the next four months we wish to also examine the strings attached to other political leaders including Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker, Utah Governor Gary Herbert and either Utah Senator Mike Lee and Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz. Help participate in this series in the ways listed below.


 Current Funding Levels

 (Seeking $5,000)

Pledge $1 or more:

SUPPORTER: Anyone who contributes to this project will receive our monthly investigation updates and have unlimited access to all of our research results.


Pledge $25 or more

DIRECTOR: Choose this reward and have the opportunity to help us make our executive decisions concerning the time and direction we spend on specific political leaders.


Pledge $25 or more

LOCAL INVESTIGATOR: Seeking writers, researchers, photographers and bloggers to assist in finding leads on various political leaders worth scrutinizing. Help us develop a report card system for grading our local political leaders in terms of how much they are helping small businesses and farmers in Utah.


Pledge $50 or more

T-Shirt: The beautifully illustrated “Corporate Puppet Masters” cotton t-shirt. Illustrated by local artist D. Brandford Gambles, available in adult men’s and women’s sizes. (can add on to other rewards).


Pledge $75 or more

Receive a Utah Stories book “Discovering Utah’s Small Towns” 5 years and 50 small towns explored. (can add on to other rewards). Estimated delivery: Aug 2015


Pledge $100 or more

LOCAL WATCHDOG: Contribute at this level and we will include in our investigation specific questions you provide which you would like answers (of the political leaders we are scrutinizing). Watchdogs will also be invited to a luncheon at Utah Stories’ office to discuss the direction of this four-part investigation.

Pledge $1000 or more

TOWN/CITY INVESTIGATION: Groups, individuals or business owners contributing at this level will help drive our coverage to scrutinize specific political leaders, government agencies or towns which need more critical media scrutiny. Sit in on our board meeting and help drive our goal towards greater political transparency in Utah state-wide. (Also choose from two other combined rewards)


We are shooting for February 10th. Until then please read our script below, and see what you think. We would love to hear your comments.

Campaign Finance Investigation Script

For six years  through our print magazine and website Utah Stories magazine has represented “the voice of local Utah“. We provide small business owners and entrepreneurs a voice in the media by providing insightful journalism  off the beaten path of the main stream media, because we focus on small local businesses and farmers. [ Show covers of the magazine along with photos of various business owners, captioned with their names and the towns and cities where they do business]


Utah Stories Magazine would like to conduct an investigative journalism series examining how special interest groups and campaign financing is affecting Utah local and national government policy. [Puppet cover of current issue followed by various politicians shaking hands with people and corporate logos]


In writing our stories –on farmers and small business owners– we often find the same problem in cities across Utah: large corporations are receiving big handouts and subsidies (corporate welfare), as well as laws written in their favor; while small local businesses are increasingly dealing with more red tape, regulations and taxes. [Illustration of cities filling up with chain stores, illustration of small business owners attempting to cut through piles of files and red tape] Maybe think of something a little easier to pull off


We strongly believe an investigation that shines light into how our local politicians are being manipulated by those who finance their campaigns would be helpful in terms of reversing the trends of crony capitalism and the homogenization of our communities with chain stores and big boxes. [Photos of various cities along the Wasatch Front which demonstrates the proliferation of chain stores]


We would love to see laws changed to favor local businesses and farmers rather than mega corporations and chain stores. The economic data speaks for itself: local economic vitality creates a much stronger overall economy that one that is comprised of national chain stores. [Photos of farmers and small business owners we have done stories on]


In the past five years Utah politicians have handed out over $180 million in economic incentives, 84% of this money has been given to large national corporations (This isn’t accurate–I would love to be able to include a statistic like this, I’m trying to see if this data is available somewhere.)


This results of this investigation would clearly present a picture of how hour local political leaders are influenced by corporations. The results would also help to inform Utah residents so that they could become more involved in local politics and make both better spending decisions and better decisions at the ballot box.

[Illustrations or photos of people at farmers markets, farmers and a photo of someone voting]