Posts Tagged ‘Rep. Neil Hansen’

BREAKING: UTAH LEGISLATORS REQUEST A HOUSE ETHICS INVESTIGATION

June 26, 2008
A bi-partisan group of Republicans and Democrats have filed an ethics complaint today against Rep. Mark Walker (R – Sandy), asking the House Ethics Committee to investigate allegations respecting violations of House ethics rules arising out of Walker’s alleged improper use of his House position in connection with his campaign to be elected as state treasurer. Under the House Rules, the Ethics Committee, jointly chaired by a Republican and a Democrat, must determine whether an investigation is warranted, and may appoint a special prosecutor to pursue the four charges outlined in the complaint against Walker. If he is determined to have violated the House Rules on ethics, he could be disciplined or even expelled from the House. If exonerated of these charges, the complaint would be dismissed.

The complaint against Representative Walker asks for an investigation into four issues: (1) abuse of official position and whether Walker offered a job and a substantial salary increase to Richard Ellis if Ellis would withdraw from the treasurer’s race; (2) potential criminal violations of the election laws and whether another unnamed legislator colluded with Walker to offer assurances that the money to fund the Ellis salary increase would be provided by the legislature; (3) abuse of the constitutional rules on legislator behavior and whether the unusual salary increase received by the treasurer in a bill Walker voted for makes him guilty of an impermissible conflict of interest (and incidentally would have rendered him constitutionally ineligible to be elected as treasurer); and (4) whether these allegations, if accurate and taken together, violate the constitutional limitations on legislative compensation.

The House members who filed the complaint are Representatives Rosalind McGee, Phil Riesen, Neil Hansen, Steve Mascaro, and Sheryl Allen. They delayed filing the complaint until today because they did not wish to have the complaint taken as an effort to influence the election outcome. The group stated in the complaint that all proceedings should be open to the public, in the interest of transparency, and they asked that any member on the Ethics Committee who for any reason may doubt his or her ability to act in a disinterested fashion in considering the complaint “should declare that fact and step down as a judge in this matter.”

If the investigation finds the probability of criminal conduct, the complainants ask that the matters be referred to “authorities with jurisdiction to take whatever future action they may deem appropriate.”

The complaint cites a statement by Justice Cardozo, “Many forms of conduct permissible in a workaday world for those acting at arms’ length, are forbidden to those bound by fiduciary ties. A trustee is held to something stricter than the morals of the market place. Not honesty alone, but the punctilio of an honor the most sensitive, is then the standard of behavior.” The complainants ask, “Should the bar be any lower for legislators who are servants of the public trust? Should we tolerate conduct from a member of our body which treats a public office as an object of barter?”

The complaint concludes, “Unless our political culture is founded upon principles of stewardship, integrity, and fidelity, we will suffer a loss of public confidence in government policies and those who are its stewards that may be irreparable.”

Asked if a House ethics investigation was necessary in light of Lt. Gov. Herbert’s last-minute decision to call for an investigation by the Attorney General, Rep. Phil Riesen said, “It’s encouraging that Mr. Herbert has finally referred this complaint to the Attorney Generally for further investigation. However, these are two separate matters. Irrespective of what the Attorney General – who endorsed Walker — may conclude, the Constitution makes the House of Representatives the judge of who shall sit as a member, and after all that has gone on in this race and elsewhere, it is time that we take appropriate action to begin to set the People’s House in order. The Ethics Committee has subpoena power, and it is time we use it to get to the truth of what has happened – not behind closed doors, but out in the sunshine.”

Asked if Walker could avoid the ethics inquiry by resigning, Rep. Neil Hansen said, “This is bigger than just Rep. Walker, and it’s important that the inquiry pursue all allegations to determine whether, as has been alleged, other legislators inappropriately and unethically colluded with Walker by giving him assurances that the state budget would be adjusted to provide the $56,000 salary increase which appears to have been the consideration for Ellis dropping out of the treasurer’s race.”

Weber County Democrats run a full legislative slate

March 12, 2008
March 10, 2008 – Ogden, Utah: The Weber County Democrats will be holding a press conference and short rally at the steps of the Weber Center, 2380 Washington Blvd., on Tuesday, March 11th at 3:30 pm. Many of the 2008 Weber County Democratic candidates will be filing for election at that time.

2008 Democratic candidates from Weber County include the following:

Bill Hansen, 41, is a candidate the State Senate in District 19. He is a law enforcement officer. He has decided to run because he feels that Senator Allen Christensen needs to be held accountable for the rise in property taxes in Weber County. He also feels Senator Christensen has been unresponsive to public education issues, especially vouchers.

Steve Olsen will be running for State Senate from District 20. He was the 2006 Democratic candidate for the 1st Congressional District, and is a principal engineer at a major Weber County manufacturer.

Ava L. Painter is running for the House of Representatives in District 6. She is currently serving a second four- year term on the Farr West City Council. Prior to this she was a member for three years on the city’s planning commission, serving the last year as the chair. She holds a Master’s in Human Resource Management and currently works at Weber State University as an Administrator in the Office of Sponsored Projects promoting and managing external funding. She is also an Adjunct Professor.

Rob Reynolds is a candidate for the District 7 seat in the Legislature. Rob is a Weber State University professor, and feels the people in his district need more sensible representation than they have received the last few years, especially in the areas of immigration, education and clean, renewable energy.

Trent Alvord is a candidate for State Representative, District 8. This district covers Ogden Valley, parts of East and Northern Ogden and Harrisville. He is a life-long resident of Ogden, having been educated in Weber County schools, and a graduate of Weber State University. “I believe that it is time for the people of Dist. 8 to have their interests represented. My goal is to take your voice to the State Legislature.”

Neal Hansen is the Democratic incumbent in the Legislature for District 9, and is running for re-election.

Jessie Garcia has been an Ogden City Councilman for many years and has decided to run for the Legislature in District 9 this year.

Mark Openshaw is an educator and entrepreneur who is running for the Legislature in District 11. He is interested in listening to his constituents and making sure their views are represented and respected.

Mark Sage is running for the Legislature for District 12. He has 33 years of service as a public servant, including the FBI, Hill Air Force Base, and as a Vietnam veteran. He is currently the program manager for the Living Museum. He wants to improve education, increase fiscal responsibility and raise ethical standards in the Legislature, and he understands the issues important to Hill.

Ed Allen will be running for Legislative District 10, a seat that is currently held by Representative Lou Shurtliff (D) who is retiring this year. Ed has been married to Patricia Moore Allen for 40 years. Patricia and Ed have six children and 20 grandchildren. Ed is a dermatologist and private practitioner in Ogden, Utah. He is also a adjunct clinical professor at the University of Utah. Ed is a former Chair of the Weber County Democratic Party, a former member of the Utah State Democratic Party Executive Committee, and served as a Utah State Senator from 1999 – 2003.

The Democrats in Weber County have assembled a list of candidates that are talented, patriotic, moderate, and believe in open, honest and effective government. They continue the proud tradition of great civic leaders like Gunn McKay. We look forward to talking to the voters this year and making the case for change.

Steve Olsen, vice chair of the Weber County Democratic Party wanted me to add that the Weber County Democrats have successfully filled all of their legislative races this year, and that the Weber County Party is throwing down the gauntlet to the Utah County Democratic Party by stating, “Guys, we’re going to win more races this cycle.”