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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Senator Urquhart: Openness & Tranparency

Word from St. George: Senator Urquhart posts a few thoughts on Openness and transparency (except when political ambitions dictate otherwise). The conclusion:
"Being elected does not make someone corrupt, and being unelected does not make someone pure.

". . . Mr. Burningham and Mr. Irvine are willing to impose great damage to Utah and its citizens, in order to replace conservative lawmakers with lawmakers simpatico to their political ideology. Because voters largely do not agree with their ideology, they are peddling a law that would remove me, Speaker Clark, the entire Washington County legislative delegation, and many other conservative legislators (based on our business owner/controller status) under the ruse of “ethics.” They are using the bait of "ethics," to reshuffle the political deck. I happen to think that ruse is very unethical and dangerous.

"And, by the way, should their initiative pass, I also could be removed from office for this exercise of my First Amendment free speech rights in opposing their efforts. And, who would decide my fate? Why, they would, of course. Mr. Burningham and Mr. Irvine, for life, without appeal, never standing before the people in an election nor answering to the people in their self-appointed, initiative-ratified, roles as Grand Inquisitors of all things ethical would be be the arbiters of ethics issues.

"Were any elected official ever to run legislation proposing to give himself/herself such an exalted, unaccountable, unchallengeable role, he or she would absolutely get . . . well, you get the picture. Yes, let's please take a deep look at ethics in Utah politics. And, please consider that the people screaming the loudest about the issue might be the ones most in need of watching."

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4 Comments:

Anonymous JBT said...

". . . Mr. Burningham and Mr. Irvine are willing to impose great damage to Utah and its citizens, in order to replace conservative lawmakers with lawmakers simpatico to their political ideology. Because voters largely do not agree with their ideology, they are peddling a law that would remove me, Speaker Clark, the entire Washington County legislative delegation, and many other conservative legislators (based on our business owner/controller status) under the ruse of “ethics.” They are using the bait of "ethics," to reshuffle the political deck. I happen to think that ruse is very unethical and dangerous.

Here is what the ethics initiative actually says:

Beginning January 1, 2013, no legislator, while serving in office may be a control person of any corporation where (A) status as a legislator was a contributing factor in such selection as a control person and (B) being a control person in such corporation furthers any personal interest of the legislator.

It would seem from Sen. Urquhart's remarks that the entire Washington County legislative delegation have all obtained their "control positions" in their respective companies because of their elected legislative office.

"And, by the way, should their initiative pass, I also could be removed from office for this exercise of my First Amendment free speech rights in opposing their efforts.

There is nothing whatsoever in the initiative rules that even remotely relates to this disingenuous exaggeration. From there Mr. Urquhart's statements become even more outlandish.

"And, who would decide my fate? Why, they would, of course. Mr. Burningham and Mr. Irvine, for life, without appeal, never standing before the people in an election nor answering to the people in their self-appointed, initiative-ratified, roles as Grand Inquisitors of all things ethical would be be the arbiters of ethics issues."

The facts are that Mr. Burningham and Mr. Irvine would not be members of the Citizen's Ethics Commission. Only in the unlikely event that the leadership of both parties in the legislature could not agree upon a list of 20 names for the 5 member commission to be drawn from, would the sponsors of the initiative including Mr. Burningham and Mr. Irvine select the pool of 20 qualified citizens to make up the list.

Sen. Urquhart's deliberate distortion of the truth in this statement speaks directly to the need for ethics reform in the currently serving legislature. The Republican leadership espouses "openness" and "transparency" as the solution to any ethics problems that may or may not exist. Those are important, but not as important as elected public officials being completely straightforward and honest in all their public statements.

Senator Urquhart is woefully lacking in this area of ethics as evidenced by his misguided, spiteful, and disingenuous statements attacking the Utah Citizens for Ethics Reform Initiative and its sponsors. Thank you Senator Urquhart for giving the citizens of the state of Utah all the more reason to support the ethics reform initiative.

4/22/2010 9:26 AM  
Blogger The Senate Site said...

Hi JBT - welcome back.

As I read it, SteveU.com's claims are neither disingenuous nor exaggerated. The initiative is 21 pages long. When you read it carefully and connect the radical definitions and policy elements the UEG plan is more problematic than it first appears.

Daily Herald Article, 12/20/2009

Utahns for Responsible Ethics Reform

Sutherland Institute Analysis (PDF)

Holly on the Hill re: GOP ethics debate

The initiative process asks citizens to act as legislators. We're asking people to exercise that power responsibly - just as we expect the people's elected representatives to do here on the Hill (read the bill, listen to all sides, seek more information, think about the ramifications, etc.).

4/22/2010 10:16 AM  
Anonymous JBT said...

I have carefully studied every word of the ethics reform. The twisted, paranoid, worst case scenario, chicken little "the sky is falling" interpretations of the conservatives on the extreme right are just that. Those on the right who have demonstrated their distrust and paranoia time and again in their written and spoken comments against the citizen's initiative are obviously projecting their own lack of scruples and machiavellian quest for power to others.

In other words the most vocal right wing critics of the ethics reform initiative in the legislature suspect and accuse the original sponsors of the initiative of doing the unethical power grabbing things they themselves would do and have done in a similar situation.

I remember reading a saying once that said, "there is no one so distrustful of others as a man who is himself a thief".

There are 40 former legislators who are active supporters of the Utahns for Ethical Government petition. Many of them are civic leaders, educators, and attorneys. I place a lot more stock in the opinions of these distinguished Utahns who have actually served in the legislature than the likes of Joe Pyrah, Holly Richardson, and Paul Mero.

Here is a link to an article that contains more truth than all of your biased articles put together.

http://www.utahnsforethicalgovernment.org/index.php/news/lawmakers_wind_up_session_dancing_the_fox_trot/

One more thing "Senate Site" if what I posted is wrong, please show me the exact language in the citizen's initiative where Mr. Burningham and Mr. Irvine could kick Senator Urquhart out of the legislature for criticizing the citizens initiative. It is high time someone called you folks to the right of Rush Limbaugh on your partisan distortions and Bull S**t.

4/22/2010 3:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funny how perceived anonymity brings out the worst in people and gives them such courage. I wonder if JBT would have made such caustic remarks if her identity were known. Reminds me of the efforts of UEG to keep the names of the petition signers anonymous. How ironic is that? They want to hold legislators to their idea of what a higher standard is, but they don't have the courage to allow their names to be made public. Something's wrong here. I agree with the Supreme Court. If you're going to get involved in civic issues, you sometimes need to exhibit COURAGE. If transparency is good enough for legislators, it is good enough for the citizens of Utah. Yes . . . I, too, must remain anonymous.

4/29/2010 9:48 AM  

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