John Dougall’s stern warning that Utah relies too heavily upon federal funding would carry more weight were it not for the former legislators’ well known opposition to programs heavily dependent on federal dollars.
Although many in Utah share this aversion to federal dependency, Utah would be better warned that Dougall sees his role not as auditor but as activist. Whether he transforms the office into a vehicle for implementing his personal ideology remains to be seen. His ability to maintain objectivity is questionable however, since he is yet another official with suspect credentials like embattled former Attorney General John Swallow, who gained office by virtue of single party dominance. Neither accountant nor auditor, Dougall’s ties to other politicians with axes to grind similar to his own casts a shadow of doubt over his impartiality.
But most alarming, as many warned during his campaign for auditor, was Dougall’s sponsorship of HB 477, which laid bare his preference to keep the actions of government hidden from public scrutiny. The potential abuses of power would be staggering today had this legislation actually passed.
Thomas R. Smith
Salt Lake City
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