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Senate president asks who was with Killpack on night of arrest



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SALT LAKE CITY -- The president of the Utah Senate wants to know who was with former state Sen. Sheldon Killpack, the night he was arrested for DUI. It's believed a group of lobbyists was there.

Killpack was arrested Jan. 15 after a trooper pulled over his car on 3300 South near 700 East for driving erratically. Killpack agreed to a field sobriety test but refused a breath test. Troopers got a warrant to draw his blood. He was arrested and later resigned.

Former Rep. Mark Walker -- who is now a lobbyist -- was in the car with Killpack at the time of the arrest. Walker is not charged with any wrongdoing, but he has since resigned from a job with West Valley City.

A lobbyist is someone who is employed to persuade legislators to vote for legislation that favors the lobbyist's employer. They represent just about every American institution and interest group from labor unions to corporations to churches.
The two had attended a fundraiser at the Millcreek club Liquid Joe's.

Apparently other lobbyists were with Killpack that night and Senate President Michael Waddoups, R-Taylorsville, wants to know who else was there.

Waddoups said, "We're checking to find out what went on that night. I think that's very important."

The question many are asking is: why?

A spokesman for Waddoups says the inquiry is for information only, to be clear about the people and events involved.

Waddoups says his unofficial inquiry so far has not been able to determine any other lawmakers involved and no illegal activity other than the DUI stop.

If there are consequences from Waddoups' questions, they could come in subtle ways and from within the Senate itself. Getting access to people in the Senate -- the lifeblood of a lobbyist -- might be affected by what Waddoups finds out.

"I've learned that there was some disappointing activity that night," he said. "It's distressing to know that people make bad choices some times."

At the governor's monthly KUED news conference, Gov. Gary Herbert said Killpack's downfall is the result of individual choices, nothing more.

"We have free association in this country, and I would never tell anyone who they can associate with or not. But again, I think elected officials are held to a higher standard," Herbert said.

In fact, it serves as a wake-up call and reminder for everyone at the Legislature: both elected officials and lobbyists.

E-mail: rpiatt@ksl.com

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Richard Piatt

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