They just can’t help themselves.
Even amid unprecedented attention to legislative ethics this year, state lawmakers continued to wallow in gifts from lobbyists. An Associated Press story details freeloading during the 2009 legislative session.
Whether tone deaf, clueless or arrogant, legislators have no excuse for taking free food and entertainment from lobbyists. Notables at the trough this year include Ogden Democratic Rep. Neil Hansen, who should know better because his party was the sponsor of this year’s major ethics cleanup proposals.
Blatant gift system participants again this year, no surprise and worth pointing out again, were Republicans Rep. Mike Noel of Kanab and Sen. Steve Urquhart of St. George. This chronically ethically challenged pair make no pretenses about their disdain for greater state government openness and their ax-to-grind attitude against news reporters who attempt to document their operations.
Also deserving a slap is Gov. Jon Huntsman, who took $150 in University of Utah basketball tickets — this by a governor who less than two years ago banned state executive branch employees from accepting gifts. His spokeswoman’s explanation that the hoop tickets were exempt as a government-to-government gift is an additional insult.
It’s all pathetic, and supportive of the increasing sentiment to throw out the whole bunch next election.