Monday, January 23, 2012

Surprize of Surprizes: Utah Politicians Find Major Loophole in Ethics Law

One more reason for Utah lumpencitizens to insist on forcing Lt. Governor Bell to place the UEG Citizens Ethics Initiative on our 2012 Utah Ballots

Sorry to be so late with what was originally intended to be "this morning's" WCF post; but sadly we experienced a technical WCF "hardware 'won't talk to software' problem" on and about WCF which we couldn't quickly "fix," without first going out for a good long lunch, takin' a long breather and then thinkin' a little more about how these pesky problems could be more easily fixed upfront, if Microsoft magnate Bill Gates would merely deign to regularly talk to people like Larry Page, Sergey Brin, and Eric Schmidt

However belatedly however, O Gentle WCF Readers, we are nevertheless back into "Here's the all-time Best O' the 1/23/12 Day Red Meat News Story of the Day" from today's Northern Utah Print Media news-cycle, posted to WCF despite the tech-glitches which we rather painfully experienced earlier today:

It's definitely a very good one down below from the Salt Lake Tribune which we highlight now, tipped to us from yet another sharp-eyed and alert WCF Reader who quite sagely prefaced his heads-up missive with "This is a must-see article in the Trib":

Here's the most excellent SLTrib story upon which our reader tipped us, wherein it becomes obvious, that despite all legislative the hoopla, that there's no manner in which Utah legislators might seemingly stand restricted under current Utah Law, from expending campaign contributions money. The truth is that Utah legislators can spend their campaign contributions money on ANY DANGED PERSONAL EXPENSES for which they dang well please:
Let's put this one in political context, folks. During last year's 2010 Utah Legislative legislative session, the Utah GOP majority made a big deal about passing a law which was purportedly designed to "ban" state officials and candidates from spending campaign donations for personal use. This is the proof in the pudding... how it finally worked out folks, with loopholes in this legislative ethics-remedial bill (so-called) that crooked Utah legislators, in their ultimate wisdom, designed to be wide enough through which to fly a Boeing 747 straight through.

And here's the so-called "personal use banning" 2010-enacted Utah statutory rule, which somehow still permits Utah legislators to spend almost-unlimited campaign donation money on personal expenses:
One more reason for Utah lumpencitizens to insist on forcing Lt. Governor Bell to place the UEG Citizens Ethics Reform Initiative on our 2012 Utah Ballots, don'tha all think?

We'll stand by for your ever-savvy comments, folks.

1 comment:

D_Dalton said...

I have two points on ethics:

1) In politics it's a pretty  squishy thing in that the notion of ethics is inherently qualitative. Because it's hard to adjudicate (and, for some, even think or talk about) the qualatative, we necessarily make it a quantatative question. By doing that, we gut the notion in every way but the most vulgarly practical. The question then becomes (for political types especially) is it legal (rather than is it inherently ethical)? I don't have an answer here, but I think it's important to at least notice this particular difficulty.

2) In politics, the ethics question is primarily influence and access to influence. In Utah, there's an influential elephant in the room that's difficult to discuss and even more difficult to measure quantitatively (were the discussion to get that far to begin with). Again, I have no answer.

If there's any takeaway at all to this blather, it's this:

It is an easy thing to pick a type of easily measurable and obvious ethics violation and then make a rule to account for it. We then engage in all manner of self-congratulatory behavior and can trumpet that our ethics are unimpeachable.

I have a pretty big lawn (double lot and all). I notice the grass is getting a little longish and given the neighborhood norms, decide it's time to cut it. I wander into the bathroom and grab the nail clippers, head outside, and identify a particularly long blade of grass. With much fanfare (and perhaps a self-serving press release), I clip the blade and broadcast my success.

I have, in fact, succeeded--executed my plan perfectly. But I've also missed the point.

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