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Ethics reforms pass as 2 top officials investigated

Published March 15, 2013 12:39 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

As investigations into both Attorney General John Swallow and Lt. Gov. Greg Bell focused a spotlight on ethics, the Legislature passed several reform bills this year.

Lawmakers passed SB83 to restrict moonlighting by top state political appointees. That came after revelations that Swallow was paid $23,500 while he was the chief deputy to former Attorney General Mark Shurtleff for consulting work on a cement project for a friend who owned a chain of payday-lending stores.

They also passed legislation to create an independent ethics commission for elected executive branch officials, to match an existing one for legislators.

It also passed a bill designed to close a loophole that allowed corporations to keep secret who donates to them for political purposes, although critics say it is unconstitutional and vow a court challenge.

Lawmakers also required pollsters to identify who funds surveys at the end of questioning, an attempt to stop "push-polls" that are more akin to negative campaign ads than truly scientific polls.

Lee Davidson