Thursday, June 19, 2008

Judge for yourself

The front page of the Salt Lake Tribune screams "E-mail backs Ellis' claim that Walker offered job to get him out of race" Let's see if we can cobble together the email, since the Trib didn't bother to post the message in its entirety. Carl Empey, vice-president of public finance for Zions Bank, who was the go-between for the purported offer by Rep. Walker to Ellis for a job. Rep. Walker has claimed that there was some confusion of what he said, and that he didn't do anything illegal. Au contrare, wrote Empey to LG Gary Herbert on June 2nd:
"Mr. Walker came up and visited with me on many occasions and discussed the idea, the salary amount and asked me to pass it along to Mr. Ellis for his consideration," Empey wrote.
The current state treasurer, Ed Alter, makes $104,000 a year. The alleged job offer, according to Ellis and Empey, was $160,000.
"It wasn't until March 17 that Mr. Ellis and myself became aware that this activity was improper under state statute," Empey continued in the lengthy e-mail.
"At that point, Mr. Ellis stopped the consideration and discussions and decided to run and not withdraw from the election."
In the e-mail, Empey wrote that he was willing to risk everything, including his job, to defend Ellis' integrity.
[Steve] Hunter[, Walker's campaign manager,] believes his e-mail does the opposite.
"These guys are toast. What it does is incriminate Richard Ellis and Carl Empey," Hunter said. "They were complicit in a job offer and soliciting a job offer - both are illegal under state law."
Wait, let me get this straight, now the Walker campaign's line is that Ellis is just as guilty as Walker in offering and contemplating a higher paying job in exchange for dropping out of a political race? Because I don't get how this logic would allow for Ellis and Empey to be guilty without necessarily implicating Walker. After all, even if Ellis via Empey was guilty of the crime of soliciting a bribe, isn't Walker equally guilty of the crime of offering a bribe to Ellis? Or is Hunter claiming Ellis via Empey asked for a higher paying job for Ellis in exchange for Ellis withdrawing from the primary, and Walker refused? If so, I have yet to see any evidence offered to support that claim. Did Walker submit a self-serving affidavit to the Utah Supreme Court? I would think a contemporaneously written email would be much more reliable...although this email was written two weeks after the purported bribe was made. All in all, this email doesn't do much in the way of bolstering Ellis' case, but it sure doesn't undermine it or incriminate him, nor does it exonerate Walker. What do you make of it?

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