The Windmill Tilt
House Minority LeaderRalph Becker, D- Salt Lake City, deserves to be complimented for his committment to legislative ethics reform. However, his obsession with a total gift ban as represented this session by HB144 is misspent energy. There are other reform ideas that have a real chance at passing and will have a tremendous impact on the transparency of Utah politics. Full disclosure of all gifts of any value should be immediately enacted. Politicians want the public's trust but real trust can only be obtained when the public has all the information. Also, leftover campaign money should not be available for post- election personal use for the obvious reason that donations are made to the campaign, not the candidate personally. In speaking against this idea, Provo GOP Sen. Parley Hellewell complained that "We're going to make it really hard for legislators to decide what they're going to spend their money on." I think that's the point. If the Senator feels that sort of change would require guidelines on proper spending, then give him guidelines on spending. Next year, I hope Representative Becker will drop his annual windmill tilt and spend that energy on something more helpful.