Letter: Utah Legislature should ban lobbyists from running lawmakers’ campaigns

Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune Rep. Phil Lyman, R-Blanding during floor time on Friday, Feb. 22, 2019.

I respectfully ask the voters, citizens, and taxpayers of Utah the following questions,

1. Should the people of Utah allow powerful lobbyists to manage the election or reelection campaigns of politicians in Utah?

2. Is it reasonable to believe that a politician could hire a lobbying firm to manage his or her campaign, get elected in November, take office in January, and immediately be able to say no to their lobbyist campaign firm that would soon be lobbying them in the fast-approaching legislative session?

3. Does this practice create a conflict of interest? Who would the elected official be beholden to? We the people or the hired lobbyist who managed their election campaign?

I have heard from constituents who believe that when a campaign hires a lobbyist to manage his or her campaign, it naturally creates a conflict of interest. They also believe that this practice jeopardizes the arms-length relationship with that lobbying firm, that it perpetuates the lobbyists revolving door on the Hill, and diminishes the legislative independence Utah voters expect.

My HB414 Conflict of Interest Amendments, simply states,

“A lobbyist may not serve as a campaign manager for, or affiliate with an entity that provides campaign management services or other campaign services to, a candidate who, if elected, the lobbyist may lobby.”

If HB414 is passed, I encourage my fellow legislators to embrace their state and county parties, work with them to enhance recruiting efforts, build and empower their volunteer base, hone and perfect messaging, and bolster their systems. Doing so brings the political and legislative process closer to the people of Utah, the very people elected officials are sworn to represent.

I would like your thoughts on this issue. For more information please visit lymanforutah.com. You can email me at plyman@le.utah.gov.

Utah state Rep. Phil Lyman, Blanding

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