Sunday, April 15, 2012

Utahns for Ethics Reform Update

UEG hearing date established; National study gives Utah low ethics grades

By: Kim Burningham, UEG Chair
Dixie Huefner, UEG Communications Chair

Court hearing scheduled for April 27th. We thought that you would want to know that Utahns for Ethical Government's (UEG's) court case has once again been reassigned to another 3rd district court judge--from Ryan Harris to Todd Shaughnessy. We do not know why the reassignment was made, but we now have an April 27th hearing date with Judge Shaughnessy. We hope that we will have his ruling not too long after the hearing, and, of course, we hope that our citizens ethics initiative will be on the 2012 ballot. We will keep you posted.

National study gives low grades to Utah ethics laws and practices. In the meantime, the Center for Public Integrity has issued its 2012 report on integrity standards and enforcement of those standards by the 50 states. The report is based on information collected in 2011 and reflects relevant laws as well as practices to enforce those laws. Utah's overall grade, along with 17 other states, was a D. Eight states received Fs. Nineteen states got Cs, and 5 states received Bs. No state received an A. To be in the bottom half of the states is not something of which to be proud. On ethics issues of major concern to UEG, Utah's scores were dismal. (On other issues like "internal auditing" and "procurement," Utah's grades were higher--A and B+, respectively.) For more information, you can visit the Center's website.

Among Utah's worst subscores were the following areas of special interest to UEG:
  • Political Financing - F
  • Legislative Accountability - F
  • Lobbying Disclosure - D
  • Public Access to Information - D+
  • Ethics Enforcement Agencies - F
You can see that, in spite of various bills passed by the 2010 Legislature, which the legislative leadership asserted took care of their ethics problems, the Center for Public Integrity concluded that Utah's ethical standards and practices remained extremely poor. We agree and hope that UEG and the public will be able to do something about this appalling record.

Added Bonus: Gentle Reader Ozboy has transmitted to us the below-linked speech transcript, in pdf format, submitted with the introductory comment, "I thought you and your WCF readers might be interested in this speech by David Irvine, the ethics in Utah major drum beater, given to the league of old broad voters in Salt Lake the other day."

Mr. Irvine also happens to be UEG's "silver-tongued" lead attorney, the lawyer who'll be arguing UEG's case before Judge Shaughnessy on April 27, btw. Check out Mr. Irvine's most recent public statement, which addresses the pending lawsuit, and eloquently describes the pathological ethical morass which continues to infect our Utah body politic even unto this very day:
That's it for now, O Gentle Ones. We'll definitely keep you posted as this case progresses.


blackrulon said...

Has there been a ruling on the validity of e-signatures on the UEG petitions?  House Bill 116 on allowing e-signatures was signed by the Governor but I have heard no reports on what is occuring with the study. If e-signatures are deemed valid will the online signatures, along with other signed petitions, be enough to ensure placement on the 2012 ballot?

rudizink said...

Those are the issues which will be argued on April 27, BR.

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