Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Buying a Seat in Senate District 23

I've posted previously about the Utah Legislature's reluctance to pass bills that concern their ethics. (see here, here, and here.) Well, I found some interesting things in the campaign finance disclosures for the Senate District 23 race. It would appear to me that Dan Liljenquist is trying to buy himself a seat in the Utah Senate. During the reporting period of "Party Convention" he has spent by far the most amount of money of any of the eight Republican candidates. One of the more interesting expenditures he has made was for a "County Delegate Event" held at "The Wight House." This event cost Mr. Liljenquist over $1,100.00. As of the end of that reporting period, Dan Liljenquist has spent $8,482.40. In contrast, in 2000 when Dan Eastman first won the Senate 23 seat, he had spent $4,627.59 at the end of the "Party Convention" reporting period. In fact, in 2000, Senator Eastman spent $10,132.94 on his entire campaign. (All amounts taken from the State of Utah - Campaign Reporting System. See here.)

Do we really believe that someone who is willing to spend this amount of money so early in a campaign will vote for bills that impact the ethics of lawmakers? It appears to me that Mr. Liljenquist is willing to spend whatever it takes to be elected to the Utah State Senate.


Anonymous said...

What possible connection is there between a candidate's ethics and their strategy on how they will utilize their campaign money??

Was it unethical for Mitt Romney to be the most effective fund-raiser and have the best organization?

Thad said...

Spending that much this early in the campaign tells me that they are going to need some cash from lobbyists in the future. How willing do you think a candidate would be to vote to limit (or at least report) all lobbyists gifts if they know they need money from those lobbyists?

I don't recall questioning the raising of the funds. I am only questioning the large expenditure of such funds. Mitt Romney was trying to get a popular vote. Dan Liljenquist is trying to court a certain number of delegates and is willing to spend over $1,100 at a single event for those few delegates. This isn't a national race. It is a race for a State Senate seat.

Anonymous said...

What ethics rule is being violated here? For anyone but Mr. Liljenquiest to dictate how his private property ought to be used is a principle that smacks of socialism. Thinking that you or anyone else has claim on his resources and their proper use is a dangerous idea.

As a county delegate myself, I can tell you from experience that almost every legislative candidate buys votes, whether it be with money (in whatever amount - does the amount make it ethical or not, and if so, where is the line?), promises, lip service, or feigned interest.

I have seen no claim that Mr. Liljenquist has earned his wealth unethically. That being the case, his wealth is evidence of the value he has been able to create for society. Having done that, he is entitled to use those resources as he sees fit. Anything else is straight from Karl Marx.

Thad said...

There is a law on the internet called Godwin's Law. It relates to the most recent comment posted to this blog. Get more information at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin's_law

My opinion is if a candidate is wanting to buy a seat in the State Senate, they are not going to be willing to vote for ethics reform. I have not said that anything that Mr. Liljenquist has done is unethical. I have only said that my feeling is that ethics reform is needed in our State Senate and with his current actions, I don't believe Mr. Liljenquist would help with ethics reform. I don't believe I'm alone in that belief. In my opinion, if you want more of the same that we've already had, vote for Mr. Liljenquist. If you want change, vote for someone else. If you can give me some evidence that Mr. Liljenquist is for ethics reform, please post away. If you can't give me that evidence, please keep your comments to yourself. I will also delete any additional anonymous comments to this post.

Sheldon S. Smith said...

Thad I see no use of anything from the anonymous persons post about Nazi or Hitler beliefs only that dictating that use of private property rights is Marxist. I would have to agree with the anonymous poster that all County and State and even Federal candidates are influenced by money or promises of this for that. I would love to see ethics changes but our great state is being held captive by the ruling party that has the most to lose ............... control. That is why reform has not happened the republican party has the votes to change and make these reforms in this state. Have you ever asked yourself why it has not been done?

Richard W. said...

You have made some great points. I'm curious about the "reform in the Republican Party" part from Sheldon. The solution is simple. However, voting for a Democrat rather than a Republican is a hard habit to break in Davis County(how many actually "vote for the candidate"?). But think about it; if we want real change, more Democrats in the Legislature would change everything. That does not mean Democrats have to be in the majority, but take away the super majority and guess what happens? Open debate, and the not closed-door meetings that Republicans hold every session. An open debate helps everyone.
Of course, there are those who will give the usual responses: Why should I vote for a Democrat, just because they are a Democrat? Or this one: Democrats will raise our taxes.
The first one, I have yet received a reasonable answer as to why it is ok to vote for Republicans just because they are Republicans. And Davis County residents know that Republicans frequently raise taxes and can not balance a budget.
This will be an interesting election year. Good luck to Dan and Ron, both will be great opponents.
Richard Watson
Democratic Candidate for State Senate 23

Millertym said...

I worked a bit with Dan in the past outside of politics and he was always a very cheerful, good guy.

Of course you can't always know the inner works of a man's heart. But I would trust him to be ethical based on what I saw of him at work.

And I hope he has a speedy recovery from the horrible plane wreck in Guatemala. I believe he broke his legs pretty badly.