Former representative says lawmaker 'stabbed ethics reform group in the back'


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The woman whose letter sparked a Capitol Hill ethics battle has strong words for the lawmaker who admits leaking it to the media.

Former GOP lawmaker Susan Lawrence told us she believes Democrat Phil Riesen may have derailed the push for ethics reform. She says it was "unfair," "not appropriate, and "unethical" for Riesen to release a letter to KSL that she wrote.

In that letter, Lawrence claims she was offered and refused about $50,000 in campaign money if she would switch positions on the voucher issue and vote yes. She says it was Draper Rep. Greg Hughes who made the offer, but he vehemently denies any wrongdoing.

Former representative says lawmaker 'stabbed ethics reform group in the back'

Over the summer, a bi-partisan group of both former and current state lawmakers began working on a list of concerns they hoped to bring to leadership in efforts to support new ethics rules. The Lawrence letter was part of that.

Today, Lawrence told us over the phone she feels "like he basically stabbed the whole committee in the back and derailed the whole process they'd been working on all summer long. It was unfair to me and unfair to Mr. Hughes."

Former representative says lawmaker 'stabbed ethics reform group in the back'

Reisen said, "I would just like Representative Lawrence to know the deep amount of respect I have for her and the courage it took to write that letter and sign it. It was never my intention to embarrass her or add any undue pressure to her. I still feel that it's the public's right to know what goes on in their state government, and I would only hope through the ethics committee process over the next few days the truth will win out."

The Ethics Committee begins meeting on a pair of complaints Wednesday morning. The big question: Will those meetings be open, as both sides say they want?

E-mail: jdaley@ksl.com

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