Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Could Hill be the next Winder?

Remember two years ago, it seemed like the Salt Lake County Sheriff's race was a snoozer, with the incumbent sporting a big lead? And then it came out that the sheriff regularly played golf during the day, and his excuse was that they could always reach him via his cell?

Next thing you knew, we had a new sheriff in town by large margin.

Now, the Salt Lake City Weekly did some investigative journalism the big boys were afraid to do, and found AG Mark Shurtleff gave one of the local ambulance chaser law firms a big case (with big fees) shortly after said firm hired his daughter and gave him lots of campaign contributions.
Hill questioned the attorney general's ethics, both in his receipt of hefty campaign donations from payday lenders, and in his inability to investigate bribery allegations against former GOP state treasurer candidate and former state Rep. Mark Walker.
"That was due largely to the fact that he had endorsed [Walker], hosted a fundraiser for him and made a large contribution to his campaign - creating an obvious conflict of interest," Hill said.
Hill added allegations in the recent City Weekly story to that list.
"My opponent steered lucrative legal contracts to Siegfried & Jensen shortly after the firm hired his daughter as a paralegal," Hill said. "He entered these contracts without a formal competitive bidding process."
Since 2000, Siegfried & Jensen has fed Shurtleff's campaign fund close to $60,000. Shurtleff said his daughter, Ambra Gardner, worked for the firm for about six months.
The bid process - for lead attorneys to recoup state Medicaid funds from the manufacturers of Vioxx and Zyprexa - was less than formal, acknowledged Shurtleff.
It is as if these incumbents have no clue about the term "appearance of impropriety" or "image problem." Like I have said before, this is not the year to be an incumbent and running for reelection. The voters in Utah and all over the country are in a (justifiably) rotten mood, and there will be surprising upsets.

1 comment:

Sam Antar said...

Does Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff still charge $5,000 to defame critics of campaign contributors using state resources?