Friday, July 23, 2010

Salt Lake Tribune: Legislative Leadership is Bought and Sold on the Hill

Contributions from one legislator to another are not illegal under current Utah law... the law needs changing.

Enlightening guest commentary in this morning's Salt Lake Tribune, wherein former Utah legislator and current Utahns for Ethical Government Chairman Kim Burningham spills the beans about the grubby Utah legislative leadership selection system, wherein Utah legislative leadership positions are sold to the highest bidder, via a sleazy, lobbyist-financed payoff racket worthy of a Baghdad street bazaar:
Legislative leadership is bought and sold on the Hill
This morning's SLTrib article has a bad link to the Lieutenant Governor's Campaign Finance Disclosure site, so we'll provide here a working link, for those readers who'd like to dig in and prowl around:
Lieutenant Governor's Office Disclosures
For a representative example of what you'll find there, here's House Speaker David Clark's most recent disclosure form, which is mentioned in Mr. Burningham's article:
David Clark - 2010 primary
We believe that Mr. Burningham hits the nail squarely on the head with this:
Where lobbyists supply money, and leaders use that money to increase influence, much power is transferred to a few leaders and the lobbyists who influence them. [...]
Contributions from one legislator to another cited above are not illegal under current Utah law. The law needs changing. The safest approach would be to prohibit such exchanges of money. The Utahns for Ethical Government initiative petition does precisely that. If would-be leaders want to help their friends, they should do so from their own wallets, not somebody else’s.
One more reason to sign the UEG petition, folks! (Scroll down the page to find a petition location within your own county.)


Ray said...

Well, anyone have doubts about the "pay to play" scenario demonstrated during the Powder Mountain debacle and why our politicians wouldn't fix their mistake? This "legal" but immoral money laundering brings to light some of the reasons for their slimy tactics. H'mmm why are the incumbent majority so afraid of the UEG petition? It would cut their personal gravy train and upset their carefully staged apple cart. This travesty is what the tea waggers/coffee clatchers should rally around for real change, not the legislatures chump change.

Skeets said...

This incumbent fear transcends across the republican spectrum in Utah. These incumbents know better than anyone they have been in power so long, that they cannot blame (a la Obama) the previous office holders for any problems.

Look at the Weber County Commission, all three have been there for 5 years or longer and when tax collections problems or poor performance is found in a County office, they know they are responsible, so what they do is ignore any attempt to bring it public.

The other problems with these entrenched people is they have no ethics. They will dismiss rules, laws or overlook any fault by a developer or builder in order to gain tax revenue.

ozboy said...

The thing that I find most interesting with the Utah Legislature and this ethics dance is that the leadership is all practicing MoMo's who are reputed to be influenced by the church in their official decisions. Yet the church is a constant advocate of ethics and fairness in the daily lives of its members. These guys, and yes, they are all guys, wrap themselves in the LDS cloak of rightiousness yet they blatantly abuse the Church's ethical positions in their official dealings - especially their secret back door ones.

The real mystery then becomes - why does the predominantly Mormon voting population buy into the disingenuous crap these guys are constantly involved in, and repeatedly re-elect them?

The one glimmer of hope in recent years was when the voters in Sandy threw the corrupt ex-speaker out of office. There have been no other instances where the voters awoke and voted one of these so called leaders out of office.

Keisha said...

Great post, Rudi, as usual. And looking down David Clark's contribution list, I find this:

5/17/2010 Dixon Pitcher Donation $1,000.00

One good reason to vote against Dixon Pitcher in the house 10 race, I think.

Even though this guy's a political newcomer, he's already bought and paid for, obviously.

Good information that you've provided on WCF this morning, Rudi.


Apalled said...

Yep, Keisha, Dixon Pitcher is already on the take; and he even banked the usual GOP Energy Solutions bribe:

Dixon Pitcher 2010 Primary Disclosure


Danny said...

One problem is the Mormon Church, ostensibly requiring honesty in its members for full fellowship, simply takes its members words for it.

In other words, if you say you're honest, what are they going to do? There is no investigative arm of the church after all.

In cases of infidelity, there is usually a confession from one party. In the case of dishonesty, I wonder if anybody ever steps forward and says, "Matt Godfrey is a liar, he cheated me, and here is the evidence."

If they did, it might make a difference.

As far as the legislature, they are skunks, but they know what they are doing. For instance, vote in a bunch of Democrats, and what chance is there for an Arizona-style immigration law for Utah that I suspect most want?

So do you vote for the political philosophy, or for new, hopefully more honest faces?

blackrulon said...

Students accused of honor code violations at BYU would disagree on the idea that the LDS church has no investigative ability.

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