It's the Media, Stupid

You know when lawmakers accept gifts from lobbyists? And they don't disclose the gifts, even when they're considering legislation that could benefit those lobbyists' clients? ...
by | February 17, 2006

You know when lawmakers accept gifts from lobbyists? And they don't disclose the gifts, even when they're considering legislation that could benefit those lobbyists' clients?

Guess what? That's not a problem! The problem, apparently, is the media!

Or so say some lawmakers in Utah.

A committee debate yesterday over two bills that would impose stricter limits on gift-giving to lawmakers devolved into a slam on the media. Sen. Howard Stephenson, the only Utah legislator who's also a lobbyist, said the real problem with legislative ethics is that they get reported in the media:

"The problem is ethics in the media, not ethics in the Legislature. . . . We have a media that is about making money.... The media has to pursue its prey like a swarm of killer bees, using snide innuendo and invective to attack their prey."

If only the pesky, "killer bee" media would just shut up and let Stephenson do his job -- which apparently includes the need to accept gifts without disclosure -- then there wouldn't be any ethics problems at all! Thanks for clearing that up, Senator!!

Oh, and the two ethics bills? The committee killed one and effectively neutered the other.

Zach Patton | Executive Editor | zpatton@governing.com