As per usual, the members of the Utah Legislature are doing their best to ensure that they are making money of their civil “service.” As if politics is really about service to “we the people.” At any rate, it seems as though members of the Utah Legislature enjoy using campaign accounts to take care of personal expenses, according to the Deseret Morning News:
A Deseret Morning News analysis earlier this year showed that on average in 2007, legislators used $1 in every $3 spent from their campaign accounts for items that could be construed as for personal use, including spending to get their cars repaired, buy clothes for themselves and their spouses and pay for event tickets.
Naturally, efforts to change this are hitting snags. The bill proposes that campaign funds be used for political and *gasp* campaign-related items only. It also limits what money in an account can be used for when an officeholder leaves (legislators and governors have been known to pay themselves millions upon leaving office).
While most are okay with limiting what can be done after someone leaves office, there is opposition to limiting what can be done while in office. Just at efforts at disclosing what they do with the money entrusted to them and at efforts to limit “gifts” from lobbyists meet with fierce opposition, the Utah Legislature has a problem with this method of accountability as well.
While I can sympathize somewhat with paying oneself for “lost wages,” it is still somewhat disconcerting. After all, being in the state legislature is supposed to be a position of service. Perhaps a system of “reasonable compensation” can be arranged for those with fewer means. Maybe something on the order of what actual citizens get in return for their service as jurors.
Tags: civil service, Utah Legislature, Utah politics, lobbyists Utah,