Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, continues to campaign with open hands, begging for money from anybody who will give it to him. On July 26, he said would not return the $1,000 donated to him by BP. He also said he has spent money given to him by Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., who is facing a slew of ethics charges, ranging from tax evasion to Caribbean junkets paid for by lobbyists. The following day, Matheson attended a fundraiser in Washington, D.C., hosted by the Interstate National Gas Association that raised thousands of dollars from energy companies. Oh, by the way, Matheson sits on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and his district includes Eastern Utah, one of the prime drilling areas in the country. Move along, people. No conflicts to see here.
After a highly successful undercover operation in Evanston, Wyo., that netted a total of 14 Utahns smuggling fireworks and booze back into the state, the Utah Highway Patrol has decided to stop sending agents to sit, in unmarked cars, in the parking lots of stores in another state. A UHP spokesman told KSL-TV that the operation was suspended because of the few resulting arrests, although the outcry from Evanston officials and business owners also played a significant role in the decision. Now, UHP officers will focus their enforcement on the Utah side of the border. Drive slowly, bootleggers.
Utah politicians have become increasingly cozy with EnergySolutions, with many of them now openly accepting donations that they used to downplay and crowing about the company in policy debates. On July 26, however, West Valley City Mayor Mike Winder took his ES love a step farther by starring in a full-page ad in Salt Lake City’s daily newspapers. In the ad, he describes ES as “Utah’s most misunderstood company,” as if the company were doing something besides storing loads of nuclear waste less than an hour’s drive from Salt Lake City. It’s worth noting that Winder has received campaign contributions from ES and he also owns a marketing company that works with ES, but it’s really not surprising.