Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Governor Herbert v. Mayor Coroon -- Governor For Sale

Yikes -- That didn't go well!

When political candidates keep flashing video of people saying how honest and honorable they are I tend to doubt the message. It appears that Governor Herbert isn't going to disappoint us in this regard either.

Yesterday, the governor held a press conference with some cheerleader, who's-who from Utah politics to answer questions from the Corroon camp claiming that the governor may have been taking campaign contributions in a "pay-to-play" fashion. In the course of the conference the head of UDOT disclosed that a losing bid competitor in the infamous Utah County project was paid 13M dollars in a protest settlement -- the winning bid was from a group of contractors who had all made donations to the governor.
“This is the first I’ve heard of it,” Herbert said.
This isn't the first time this has happened -- Corroon called a similar issue into question after the Governor accepted a donation from a coal mining company seeking permits in Southern Utah and the permits were coincidentally fast-tracked. The governor denied impropriety in that event as well.

If there was nothing improper about the Utah county project's bid award as the head of UDOT claims, why did the state settle and pay the losers 13 million dollars? Governor Herbert is either a liar or a terrible manager. Even if the governor didn't have anything to do with the settlement or the award of the bid, payment of such a large sum in settlement reeks of impropriety and corruption.


Natalie said...

Yeah, but I think Corroon is trying to have his cake and eat it, too. He took $50K from Kem Gardner. Does that mean that Boyer and Gardner Co. aren't ever going to bid on state contracts? Or will Corroon give the money back? And, he keeps saying he's not trying to question the Gov's integrity. Anyone who's seen the title of his report (nice $ for the S, by the way - I used that when I ran for 7th grade treasurer) knows that's not true.

Phillip Bell, EA said...

There's a difference between taking campaign contributions from people who may one day seek a government contract (especially from a challenger) and taking contributions from people who are actively seeking specific government contracts or government concessions. (Expedited permits for Alton Coal, Tax Credits for Merit Medical, and the I-15 contract to Provo River)

The point is there appear to be a few too many instances where Herbert is taking the campaign money, and the contributors subsequently (at least by appearance) receive coincidental favoritism from the Utah State Government.

Natalie said...

Except, if what Corroon says is true, and it really is about campaign finance regulations, then Corroon is out of line. And, he hasn't done enough to connect the dots - there's no smoking gun. And, Corroon admits this when he says out of one side of his mouth that his concerns are about the process, and then participates in the same process. Maybe Herbert's actions don't pass the smell test, but neither do Corroon's.

Phillip Bell, EA said...

How is Corroon out of line?

No one is saying it isn't okay to take contributions from people who are also contractors. The problem is when those contributions (and there are now 3 specific occasions where Herbert's actions have at least the appearance of impropriety)appear to be tied to specific awards of state contracts or the granting government concessions to the donors.

As far as I see Herbert is the only one with issues on that point.

Don't forget the budget deficit is 26-28M dollars, and the governor is claiming he was unaware of a 13M payout under less than normal circumstances. That should speak of ineptitude if not outright corruption.