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Politicians and Gifts

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With another election season upon us, KSL encourages voters to take into account the ethics of their politicians as they contemplate who to support and ultimately vote for.

Specifically, each candidate for the Utah legislature ought to be queried about the propriety of a senator or representative receiving all sorts of gifts from those who lobby them on Capitol Hill.

The latest report shows lobbyists showered more than $125,000 in gifts on sitting Utah lawmakers during the first three months of 2008. Utahns are familiar with the routine: lot's of free meals, rounds of golf, and tickets to a variety of entertainment events.

It always begs the same rhetorical question: why would the lobbyists do it if they weren't getting something in return?

Polls consistently show Utahns favor a ban on all gifts to their elected officials, yet the majority of lawmakers stubbornly resist enacting any kind of meaningful ethics reform.

Now is the time to engage candidates in a discussion of this important issue - to find out where they stand. And as they make promises to win your vote, get them to commit to supporting legislation that would stop the practice of their being showered with gifts from influence-seeking lobbyists.

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