Saturday, July 30, 2011

Standard-Examiner Guest Propaganda Piece: Business Campaign Donations Are Not Unethical

No Doubt About It: If you liked Boss Godfrey, you're absolutely gonna love "Godfrey's Sockpuppet"

A glance at this morning's Standard-Examiner editorial page reveals that Ogden City mayoral candidate Brandon "Sockpuppet" Stephenson continues to get ridiculous mileage out of his sophomoric "Personal Rebuttal Screed," as he feverishly scrambles, and presses his campaign to unequivocally position himself as the ideal mayoral candidate/suckup for the extremely well-heeled corporate special interests:
If you liked Boss Godfrey, you're absolutely gonna love "This groveling Sockpuppet Stephenson," folks.


constructivist said...

This is a tricky issue. I guess it comes down to who do our elected officials work for: voters or donors?

constructivist said... is a great resource for tracking money in politics at a national level. Does anyone now of something similar for local elections?

Curmudgeon said...

Councilman Stephenson apparently intends to take as his ethical guide for the conduct of the office of Mayor of Ogden  his predecessor and mentor, Mayor Matthew Godfrey.  And in his op-ed today, he's attempted a slick  rhetorical bait and switch operation to deflect readers' attention from that.  

He's unhappy that  the Ogden Ethics Project has had the temerity to ask all  Mayoral candidates, including Mr. Stephenson,  to refuse  significant donations from businesses that  do, or are hoping to do, business with the City of Ogden.  He doubtless knows there is much suspicion among voters that large campaign donations from businesses can lead office holders to favor those particular businesses in office. There is great suspicion to be blunt that candidates can be bought by campaign contributions.  This, in Utah, is not a trivial concern, as we've seen when legislators intervene in the bidding process to make sure contracts go to campaign contributors.  As I recall, for example, at least once  the high bid for Ogden City property up for sale was  rejected in favor of a lower bid submitted by an FOM [Friend of Matt --- meaning a businessman campaign contributor  to Hizzonah's campaigns.] 

Knowing all this, Candidate Stephenson who it seems intends to accept campaign checks from businesses that do a lot of business with Ogden City [as his mentor, Mayor Godfrey did],  tries to shift the grounds of The Ogden Ethics Project's statement.  Stephenson pretends the group is attacking business itself  [not just businessmen  buying politicians by means of campaign donations].  It's rhetorical bait and switch.  
The Ogden Ethics Project statements and campaign pledge opposes candidates offering themselves for sale [so to speak] by soliciting significant campaign contributions from business owners  who hope [and doubtless expect] such contributions will get for them particularly friendly treatment should the candidate win. 

I am not  a member of the Ogden Ethics Project.  But I do think the pledge the group is asking Mayoral candidates to sign is a significant  and reasonable step toward improving the ethical climate of both mayoral campaigning and mayoral administration in Ogden City.
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Keisha said...

Hey Rudi! reading your blog recently I had an idea.  How about putting a new poll up in your sidebar... maybe something like this:

Who do you prefer for Ogden City Mayor this year? Make it a multiple choice question.

rudizink said...

Your wish is my command, O the ever-lovely Keisha.  Your requested poll is now up in the right sidebar.

Jennifer Neil said...

I know I put this in another thread, but I think it bears repeating here ...

The core of the problem is that in the past businesses have donated
profusely to certain campaigns - and garnered favors from those
candidates after they were elected, over other more qualified business
entities ... another problem is the use of third party "businesses" to
launder campaign contribution monies given in secret by certain
organizations to certain candidates ... those are a couple of the
unethical practices OEP and others such as myself want to avoid in the
future ... now since this has happened with such regularity in recent
years, any business who donates to a certain candidate with no
underlying motive or hope for favor could still be construed later on as
having such and a shadow will be cast on the elected official where
none is warranted ... so just best to avoid "the very appearance of
evil" and get on with it ...


that said: anyone who makes the most noise about it probably is already in someone's pocket and doesn't want to back out of it ... promises already made perhaps, hmmm?


blackrulon said...

You really can't blame Brandon for soliciting business contributions. After all Godfrey has already let everyone know how much it will cost to do business with the city. Bribes, err contributions are just anotyher cost to do business with Ogden ccity

Danny said...

I saw these facts in an article recently, quote,

"US-wages and salaries accounted for just 1% of economic growth in the first 18-months after economists declared that the recession ended in June 2009. In the same period
after the 2001 recession, wages and salaries accounted for 15-percent. They were 50% after the 1991-92 recession and 25% after the 1981-82 recession. The average American’s wage of $40,500 was less than one-half of 1% of the average $9-million awarded to an S&P-500 CEO.

"Corporate profits, one of the most closely followed economic indicators of national income, by contrast, rebounded to a record $1.73-trillion in Q’1, 2011, and accounted for a staggering 88% of GDP growth during those first 18-months. That’s compared with 53% after the 2001 recession, nothing after the 1991-92 recession and 28% after the 1981-82 Recession."

If you read that carefully, it says that more and more of the economy is being tilted to corporations, not people. 

The Ogden Ethics Project seems to suggest that at least as far as elections go, it should be about people, not corporations.

Brandon Stephenson is a corporate tool.  He has made that very clear.

Danny said...

More data:

"Driven by higher profits, the Dow Jones Industrial average has staged a breathtaking +90% recovery rally since bottoming at 6,547 on March 9, 2009. Those stock market gains go disproportionately to the wealthiest 10% of Americans, who own more than 80% of outstanding stock. On the flip side, the average US-worker’s hourly wages, discounted for inflation, were -1.6% lower in May than a year earlier.

"Despite significant de-leveraging over the past 3-years, the average US-household’s debts equal 119% of annual after-tax income. At the same point after the 1981-82 Recession, debts were at 66%; after the 1990-91 recession, 85%; and after the 2001 recession, 114-percent."

Less income.... more more debt.  Gee I wonder how this will end?

But yeah, let's have local companies pay for Brandon Stephenson's fancy campaign signs.  Business is so underrepresented, after all.  Yeah, right.

Danny said...

And what a shock.... the gummint's numbers for the past few years have all been revised DOWN ... Things were worse than they said.  Surprise, surprise.

"The “Great Recession” was even greater than previously thought, New data on Friday
showed the 2007-2009 recession was much more severe than prior measures had found, with economic output declining a cumulative of -5.1% instead of -4.1 percent. The annual revisions of US GDP data from the Commerce Department showed at the depth of the recession in the fourth quarter of 2008, output plummeted at a rate of -8.9%, the steepest
quarterly decline since 1958, and -2.1% more than previously reported.

"In 2009, it shrank -3.5% instead of -2.6% previously reported. In Q’1 of 2009, the economy shrank at a -6.7% pace, or -1.8% more than had been thought. When growth finally resumed in the second half of 2009 after four straight quarters of contraction, it was less vigorous than thought. Growth in the fourth quarter of 2009 was cut to a +3.8% pace
from a previously reported +5% rate. The data also showed the current quagmire in activity
began earlier than had been thought, with the US-economy beginning to lose steam in
Q’4, 2010, at a tepid +2.3% annual rate, not the +3.1% pace that had been believed.

Curmudgeon said...

On the very costly results of elected officials throwing their weight around to determine who wins public contracts [allegedly] put out on open bids, see Paul Rolly's column in today's, Sunday's SL Trib.  [It's not up on the website there yet so you'll have to spring for a copy or wait out the posting delay.]  He's got an eye opening story of how state legislators  followed lobbyist instructions to design bid specks for new educational hardware so that only one company, and that a Rupert Murdoch company, is eligible to bid. And Rolly recounts the expensive example of a legislator over-riding the recommendation of state educators about software the state wanted to buy.  The legislator had bidding reopened when his crony's company didn't get the contract, arranged for the company he favored to get it in the end, and the company went bust without completing the job costing the state millions in money it had paid.   

Did that stop the legislator involved from interfering again?  Ha.  Silly question. Good column to keep in mind when reading Mr. Stephenson's bait-and-switch op-ed piece favoring business contributions to campaign war chests.   Worth a read either in this morning's dead tree edition or on line eventually. 

Bob Becker said...

Rolly's column is now available on line.  Link here:

Dave said...

Access to the corridors of power should not be restricted to the wealthy.

rudizink said...

Yeah, Dave.  That's the standard retort for folks who oppose campaign finance limitations of any kind, of course.  It really doesn't address the problem of undue political influence (bribery) however, does it?

BlameJohnsonNotMe said...

You mean the $1,000's that FNURE and Envision Ogden donated to Blain Johnson and others was ethical? The fact it was not in one corporation's name makes it okay? NEWSFLASH: Money influences decision making at it's lowest levels. If you want something, the easiest way to get it is to buy it. Those with money understand this concept thoroughly. Those without money, they are not even in the game and those with money make sure of this.

Dorrene Jeske said...

If you haven't guessed who Brandon works for, his comments made at one of our work meetings makes it crystal clear:   Brandon and I were having a lively discussion and I made the comment that I cared about the people who voted for me and I knew what they expected of me and I wasn't going to let them down.  I thought that argument would trump any and all of the points that he made.  I couldn't believe what he said, and I believe the other council members felt the same as I  because there was a soft gasp and dead silence followed.  He told me that he appreciated how I felt that I was obligated to my constiuents, but he didn't feel that way and felt his constituents would understand that he felt an obligation to the administration.

Curm, as you so beautifully stated the mayor has trained him and is still a mentor.  If Brandon were elected mayor, business will be the same as it's been for the last 11 1/2 years.  

The big contributors to Godfrey's campaign were construction companies (who got the big projects), realtors and real estate developers, who have done well under this administration and I'm sure they expect to continue to do so with one of their own as a candidate and two Godfrey trained candidates.  That's three out of nine.  It's important that we receive a commitment and promise from  the candidates individually that they will serve their constituents, THE VOTERS' best interests!

constructivist said...

WOW, that makes me sick to my stomach! Thank you for this information. How could anyone running for public office have the hubris to make such a statement before they've even been elected. Anyone running against this Godfrey Jr. should use this type of material against him, most voters living in Ogden do not understand the extent of the administration's utter disdain for the people they claim to represent.

Please, candidates running for Mayor, don't play nice, after all Brandon wont. Get this type of information in front of the people because you can't rely on the media to do it for you. Don't be afraid to tell people the truth and don't be affraid to do it in NO uncertain terms!

Donk9 said...

If. as you say, the three subject candidates were trained by Godfrey then it follows that committments and promises to the voter mean absolutely nothing.

Donk9 said...

Glad you are appaled c. but truth be told, Brandon's candor is hardly a surprise to anyone who has followed his carreer as a Mayoral suck-up. My own response is SO WHAT ELSE IS NEW!

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