Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Standard-Examiner Guest Op-ed: Old and New Mayors Have Both Accepted Tainted Contributions

If you were Mike Caldwell in this circumstance, what would you do with Gadi Leshem's grubby $3,000 campaign "donation?"

When we questioned Caldwell about accepting the $3,000, he said he did so because he didn't want to send the message that he was unwilling to work with Leshem. As a result, he is sending the message to everyone else in Ogden that you can't "work with" someone in this town unless money changes hands.

Dan Schroeder - Std-Ex Guest Editorial
Old and new mayors have both accepted tainted contributions
January 3, 2012

There are two things that are important in politics,” Mark Hanna, the great Republican kingmaker of the late 19th century, once said. “The first thing is money, and I can’t remember what the second one is.

David D. Kirkpatrick - New York Times
Does Corporate Money Lead to Political Corruption?
January 23, 2010

Chewy Standard-Examiner guest editorial up on the S-E website this afternoon, by Ogden Ethics Project Director Dan Schroeder, referring to the $10,000 campaign donation which Friend of Matt Godfrey (FOM) Gadi Leshem coughed up to the Matthew Godfrey mayoral campaign in 2007. Professor Schroeder then follows it up by reeling off the litany of inexplicable Godfrey "favors" subsequently heaped by the Godfrey Administyration upon Leshem in the election aftermath.

Professor Schroeder then, indirectly at least, hints at what we consider to be the pregnant question: "Should our newly-inagurated Mike Caldwell return the Gadi Leshem $3,000 donation which was contributed to Mike Caldwell's "campaign" on the day BEFORE (not after) the November 8, 2011 Ogden Municipal election?"

Check Out Dan's full Guest Commentary here:
So what about it, Gentle readers? Will the Caldwell Administration be permanently "tainted" by its ill-considered acceptance of this campaign donation bribe "gift?" Is Professor Schroeder the only one who finds it "remarkable that any politician would openly accept money from such a person (as Leshem)?" Does it remain "clear," as Dan Schroeder suggests, that even upon today's inauguration of Mike Caldwell as Ogden City's new Mayor, "... a mere change in administration won't lessen the need for ethical scrutiny?" Cutting to the chase... if you were Mike Caldwell in this circumstance, what would you do with Gadi's grubby $3,000 campaign "donation?"

So many questions... so few answers...


Dan S. said...

To clarify the timing of Leshem's contributions to Caldwell:

Caldwell initially reported the date of the contributions as November 7, the day before the election.

We then contacted him and pointed out that if they were really received on the 7th, he would be in violation of Ogden's disclosure ordinance for not filing a special disclosure report within 24 hours.  Such a report is required for any contribution of $750 or more received during the week before the election.

Caldwell then checked with his campaign staff and told us that November 7 was the date on the checks, but he actually received them in the mail on November 9. He also said he never solicited the contributions and didn't know they would be coming until they arrived.  Thus, he could not have reported them before the election. He offered to show us documentation of the deposit date.

Thus, it appears that there is no legal problem with Ogden's disclosure ordinance. On the other hand, accepting contributions after the election raises a separate ethical problem, as described in the commentary.

rudizink said...

Thanks for the clarification, Dan.  Soon we hope, Mayor Caldwell will learn to carefully dot his i's and cross his t's.

Dan S. said...

By the way, I attended today's coronation, and was glad I did. Watch for the video when it's posted.

The most noteworthy comments were from the outgoing mayor. Among other things he defended his integrity and said that those who have attacked his integrity are hurting not just him (which he doesn't mind) but also his family and his family name. He even invoked the memory of his deceased father in this context.

The incoming mayor's speech was extremely brief. He quoted someone to the effect that we should pay attention to what he does, not what he says.

Blackrulon said...

Here we go again. The more things change the more they remain the same. The gondola lives.

Bob Becker said...

Uh oh.  I think it was President Elect Bush who said that too.

My question would be:  why does there have to be, why would the Mayor think it wise to permit there to be, a distinction between what he says, and what he does?

Ogden Lover said...

Leshem is a slimy crook who has defrauded both California and Ogden. Why would anyone want to work with him, much less make sure he kenw that?

Bob Becker said...

Here's what the new Mayor said:  
"I'm a big fan of the Emerson quote that 'what you do speaks so loudly, I can't hear what you say,'ΓΆΓΆ" Caldwell said, adding he wants to be judged on his work.

OK, that's not the same as "pay attention to what I do, not what I say."   Comparison to Bush hereby withdrawn. 

Smattguy said...

Aside from the Leshman donation, ...I'm willing to see how this works out for a bit longer than one day....hell we had to put up with alot worse for 12 years....will keep an open mind for the time being...first few council meetings might be a good test

Ray said...

Have to agree with Smattguy. Time will tell what Mayor Caldwell is about. The ethics of political donations and potential of pay to play is a concern regardless of the legality of the timing of the Leshman donation...

Dan S. said...

Sorry about the imprecise paraphrase--though I'm not sure I see the distinction you're referring to.

Ogdentaxpayer said...

The Citizens of Ogden are all insane, by this, If you do the same thing over and over expecting different results, your insane. The citizens elected a Godfrey clone.

Bart Starr said...

Lesham still owns properties behind walmart and along the river from Wall ave to the west and I assure you,these properties are contaminated with a variety of metals,oil and   toxic chemicals and minerals hidden under 2-6 inches of gravel or top soil,some spots are so apparent you can see it leaching into the river.....this my friends is the big coverup!

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