Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
Both the local Republican and Democratic parties are taking to the airwaves this week with dueling ads which paint the other side as having ethics problems. One spot in particular accuses one party of being beholden to one "shadowy" contributor.
Recently Utah's political drama is on Capitol Hill and concerns ethics.
"Bribery, intimidation, and corruption; these are the words of spy novels. Now they're being used by the local media to describe Utah's legislative leaders who are increasingly out of touch with our values," says a radio ad from the Utah Democratic Party.
The Utah Republican Party's ad says, "We hear a lot about ethics in politics lately. The irony is the Democrats profess to want to reform ethics. Utah Democrats want to shift focus away from the facts that under Republican leadership, Utah has a balanced budget and is recognized as the best-managed state in the nation."
Democrats criticize the GOP on "open government."
"It makes you wonder, are Utah's legislative leaders simply out of touch, or do they have something to hide? Or, are they afraid of an open and honest government?" the Democratic ad says.
Salt Lake County Republican Party chair James Evans said, "What they've done is leveled false accusations against a Republican elected official, which is simply unethical. And they continue to beat this ethics drum because they have nothing else to talk about."
On the other hand, Utah Democratic Party chair Wayne Holland said, "We've had a legislature that's been severely ethically challenged for the last decade."
A GOP ad mentions a "shadowy contributor" giving hundreds of thousands of dollars to Democrats, who say that money is being used to hire young field organizers.
"Their strategy is to use cheap smear tactics and unfounded last-minute complaints. These negative Democrat efforts are funded by $500,000 from one shadowy contributor. Utah voters deserve better," the ad says.
"I think we're all suspicious about one person giving that kind of money to a political party," Evans said.
"None of those things on TV and radio have had anything to do with this donor. He's strictly been somebody who believed in these young people," Holland explained.
That donor is Art Lipson. Republicans describe him as a hedge fund manager. Democrats say he's an investment banker. This election cycle, he's given more than $400,000 to the Utah Democratic Party.