In politics and public life, perception matters!
A case in point! It is highly unlikely many, if any, of our Utah State legislators are on the take, or allow a lobbyist gift here and there to unduly influence their votes.
However, the public can’t be sure.
Stubborn lawmakers have repeatedly refused to ban gift giving by lobbyists and special interest groups on Capitol Hill, even though most Utahns, according to repeated polls, think they should.
Now in the aftermath of “guzzlegate” in Salt Lake County, come allegations that some lawmakers have been double dipping in their mileage reimbursement activities. As well, it is reported some may even be drawing double salaries from both the legislature and other government employment.
Such allegations contribute to the perception citizens have, for good or for ill, of the ethical standards of their elected representatives.
The allegations of double dipping and double compensation must be thoroughly investigated and dealt with. Beyond that, however, KSL urges lawmakers to once and for all deal with the issue of gifts. A total ban on gifts directed their way should be a top priority during next year’s legislative session. A failure to do so would only perpetuate negative perceptions about the motives and ethical standards of our elected representatives.