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Stretching the Rules

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An outbreak of rule stretching seems to be going in American culture these days. -Big name baseball players! Steroids! Congressional hearings! -Three NASCAR crew chiefs fined for cheating at a race in Las Vegas. -Utah Lawmakers and lobbyists play golf in St. George.

“What?” you ask. Lawmakers and lobbyists? How can you lump them in with the likes of Mark McGwire, Jose Canseco and a few big time car racers? Easy, we say. It’s has to do with what’s right and what’s wrong. You see, the law says lobbyists are required to report any gift in excess of $50 given to a Utah legislator. So what happens? A bunch of lobbyists and lawmakers get together for some post-legislative-session golf in St. George and the lobbyists – the folks whose purpose in life is to influence legislation - curiously cough up precisely $49.99 in greens fees for each of the lawmakers who, we suspect, then paid the balance. So, by stretching the legislature’s incredibly lax ethics rules - by keeping their “gift” under $50 - the lobbyists don’t have to report who got what, and the names of the participating lawmakers remain undisclosed.

Steroids, race car cheating and greens fees for Utah lawmakers. It’s all about finding ways around the rules. And KSL thinks that’s a sad commentary on contemporary American life.

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