It is fascinating that in June of 2010 a Utah State Senator attacked Candidate Mike Lee (now US Senator Mike Lee) for lobbying.
Yet, while serving as a Utah State Senator, this same man thought it perfectly appropriate for himself to lobby a state agency, of which he votes on their budget.
When the state is under almost daily criticism from the public, and investigation by the federal government for influence peddling one would hope for more restraint from elected officials. Yet, the Department of Health ultimately responded as one would expect from an unduly influenced bureaucracy.
Multiple top officials within the state have been under a constant stream of revelations about inappropriate behavior by elected officials. Other leaders, that have made substantial financial contribution to this senator in the recent past, have tried to diminish the importance of integrity by public officials.
Other states have very strict conflict of interest regulations. At least one state even requires that every two years public officials receive “Ethics Training” to help avoid the inappropriate behavior of influence peddling. Perhaps Utah, which is so solidly controlled by one political party that apparently refuses to monitor its elected representatives, should adopt similar “reminder legislation”. If elected officials refuse to govern themselves maybe they need constant reminders of “correct principles”.
The influence peddling behavior by state elected officials, supported by state agencies, has created substantive economic damage to the free market in Southern Utah. There was no imminent danger presented which justified bureaucratic domination. The only thing that created a “time is of the essence” decision was the demands of a threatening elected official far overstepping ethical boundaries.
A cure is needed. First, the private company driven into insolvency solely as a result of a zealous agency (echoes of the IRS can be heard) need to be made financially whole by the state. Second, the state senator that misused his authority and influence should be seriously sanctioned by the Utah State Senate (ethics would suggest his immediate resignation). Third, the State Legislature needs to adopt much more exhaustive ethics regulation, in light of public official’s inability to govern themselves.