Thursday, June 04, 2009

Ogden to Amend Campaign Finance Disclosure Laws

Two items: More info re Tuesday's council action; and Bill Critchlow's hard hitting letter gets promoted to the Standard-Examiner editorial page

By Curmudgeon

The Standard-Examiner this morning includes a Scott Schwebke story on the City Council's action on Tuesday, regarding the proposed revision of Ogden's campaign finance disclosure ordinance.

[Among the language to be inserted into the council's proposed amended ordinance would be a firm definition of a "political action committee" which mirrors the state's definition, together with provisions requiring active PAC membership disclosure, in order to address the Envision Ogden/FNURE money laundering problem. Other proposed changes are briefly summarized in the table below, which we've incorporated from the SE Digital Edition. - Ed.]

Also, Bill Critchlow's recent letter to the editor (which became available on line some days ago) appears in this morning's print edition of the SE.

Reader comments are invited, as always.

22 comments:

RJ Svengali said...

And so the march toward codifying every conceivable human activity continues; meanwhile personal freedoms and ethics based on rational thought becomes trampled under the dour boots of control.

OgdenLover said...

RJS,
When elected officials behave dishonorably and without ethics, we need codification, as Councilmember Jeske's quote in the article explained.
Matt Godfrey and cronies have no ethics and are busy trampling our personal freedoms.

lalala said...

Why are these people from North Ogden such meddlers. Is it really that boring up there?

Move to Ogden or STFU.

althepal said...

I'm still dumbfounded that the council would even consider reducing potential penalties from misdemeanor to infraction levels.

This makes absolutely no sense at all.

what would jesus say said...

Bobby is at it again on the SE web site.

momba said...

I agree with this mother (posted with Critchlow's Standard Examiner letter on line):

By: a mother

I hurts me to see that political intrigue is occurring in my own town. The dissimulating mayor calls others liars, hypocrites and nay-sayers. The black pot calls 'em as he wants YOU to see them.

Godfrey's friends help him to hijack our city processes. Our attorney turns his back on our laws. No hungry reporter is eager to explore our dark corners.

Pious posturing hides a mean and artless culture. Artificial nature is housed downtown when the real thing is calling to help us save its mountain home.

What! the world doesn't have enough going on that we have to mess things up right here in our own back yard!

Honest government! Open space! Commonwealth! Why not!

Curmudgeon said...

More good ink for Ogden, this time from Men's Journal, which this month declares Ogden to be one of the nation's "ten best neighborhoods." The Standard Examiner has the story here.

Anonymous said...

What does an infraction consist of and what are the penalties? Maybe a good talking to, or maybe a slap on the hands, in other words a way to beat the system.

Dr. Bunsen Honeydew said...

Sorry screwed up, I never go anony, pushed the wrong button.

Dan S. said...

Anon: The maximum penalty for an infraction is a $500 fine.

In general, the enforcement provisions of this proposed new ordinance are still a major step backward. The old ordinance required the city recorder to audit suspicious activity, and required the city attorney to examine alleged violations. The new version gives them both the discretion to do nothing. So it would make the process even more susceptible to political manipulation (by the mayor, to whom they both report).

The old ordinance made violations a class-B misdemeanor, and even more importantly, prohibited a violator from taking or holding office. Under the new ordinance a violation would be mere infraction, and a violator who wins the election would still take office immediately after filing a corrected report--no matter how serious the violation. If the violation is discovered after the official takes office, the official stays in office no matter what.

Curmudgeon said...

Wait a minute....

Went over to Men's Journal website, and discovered that it lists "best neighborhoods" by region [e.g. West, Southeast, etc. ]. Eight neighborhoods are listed for the West. Three get full write ups, and the article then lists "five more neighborhoods" in the west the magazine likes. Ogden is one of those five. The full write up is three sentences long.

So, unless Men's Journal has another, shorter, top-ten nation-wide list out in the latest issue, different from what I've described above, the SE got it wrong claiming the Journal listed Ogden as one of the nation's ten best neighborhoods.

Be curious to see which it is.

Dr. Bunsen Honeydew said...

Thanks Dan so in other words commit the crime, dont worry you wont do no time.

Dan S. said...

Curm: Could it be that all the S-E read was the city's press release, not the actual magazine?

DBH: Yeah, that's pretty much it.

Curmudgeon said...

Dan S:\

Entirely possible. Even probable. I emailed the SE to point out the possible error in its story, and suggested that the OCVB may have, rapt in throes of enthusiasm for Our Fair City, overstated the matter.

Monotreme said...

Just a note that the S-E has fixed their error, Curm.

Curmudgeon said...

Mono:

Thanks. Fast work.

Danny said...

It seems like the new law, written by Gary Williams, was a case of Godfrey saying,

"You want a new law? OK, here it is."

. . . and it's worse than the old one.

Basically, to me, the new law sets up to accomplish these things.

1. Make it so that well-financed crony candidates can do whatever they want, then hire lawyers to take care of any issues.

2. Discourage other candidates, who cannot afford those lawyers and don't have time to read all the mumbo jumbo.

To get a good law, the city council should tell an outside attorney what they want, then have that attorney write it up for them. The law should be simple, and have teeth.

Any involvement from Godfrey is simply and invitation for him to game the system, which invitation he will always take up, since his henchmen have lots of taxpayer funded time on their hands.

move if you want to stop corruption said...

We move to North Ogden because corrupt republicans rule Ogden. Atleast in N Ogden they maybe republican but their not corrupt.

Rafiki said...

Move,

Ya run from the problem. That idea works real well.

Right now N. Ogden is allowing development to occur on the foothills of Ben Lomand. I can see the destruction from as far south as Clearfield.

Keep running to the honest republicans - that will save you!

Lenny said...

Just because the North Ogden politico's aren't as corrupt as Mayor Godfrey (but then who is?) doesn't mean they are corruption free. There have been several big cases of sleazy games played by that city's mayor and council, including the scam over their swimming pool that played out a year or so ago.

Curmudgeon said...

comment bumped to front page

Dan S. said...

I've just heard from a reliable source that the mayor, Blain Johnson, and Brandon Stephenson are pressuring the rest of the council to back down on the provision that would require disclosure of large last-minute contributions. Their stated reason is that reporting these contributions would make too much work for the city recorder.

Let's recall, however, that nearly all of the FNURE contributions came in after then pre-election reporting deadline so they weren't reported until weeks after the election. The mayor, too, received quite a few large last-minute contributions that we didn't learn about until after the election ($5000 from Ogden City Plaza Investors, $7500 from R&O Construction, $3500 from Jeff Clark, $3000 from Vuegar Inc., $2000 from Big D Construction, and so on).

I say if a candidate has time to accept such large contributions, and to spend this much money at the last minute, then he also has time to report the contribution and there's no reason why the city recorder can't post the information on a web site. Candidates who expect to be too busy in the days before the election should tell their contributors to get their checks in before the last 10 days.

The proposed ordinance also has several other remaining problems, one of which is that enforcement would be almost entirely discretionary on the part of the city recorder and city attorney. The language allowing citizen complaints and requiring the city attorney to review alleged violations would be removed.

Please contact your council members and tell them you want these problems fixed and the last-minute reporting requirement included.

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