Uh-oh! Did it really take a former Utahn living in Boston to uncover the latest legislative imbroglio? Rep. Ken Ivory, R-West Jordan, of take-our-public-lands fame has used his wife and his business to set up another nonprofit—A Most Sacred Trust—to educate people about sexual abuse in schools. Well, given the number of teachers taking liberties with kids, that may be a good idea. But Ivory likes to profit from his nonprofits—politically and financially. While this one is too new to generate speaking engagements, it's getting ready to proffer three pieces of legislation in the upcoming session. That's insider influence, for sure. Ken's wife, Becky, told Eric Ethington of Utah Political Capitol that she hopes that the A Most Sacred Trust will generate income sometime soon, but that's not the goal. The goal appears to be to take advantage of Ivory's legislative clout and give him more.
Behind Closed Doors
Meanwhile, Bob Bernick of Utah Policy took a look at all the secret bills looming for the session—Ivory's three "Sacred Trust" bills among them. In fact, 371 of 692 new bill files were "protected." They don't have to be opened until two weeks into the session. While there may be reasons to keep a bill under wraps, secrecy makes lobbying, and therefore conflict, difficult at best. Bernick points out that bills can be offered with only a title and number—no text—all through the session. That's what happened with the now-infamous anti-GRAMA bill. The public wasn't happy with the Legislature keeping secret a bill about keeping records secret. So, if you're hoping to find out what your representative is up to, you might want to make a call and ask. The bill file may not tell you anything.
Sometimes it takes a judge to see clearly. That's what happened in the case of Phil Lyman, the San Juan County commissioner who led a pack of ATVs into the Bureau of Land Management's Recapture Canyon. He was protesting the BLM's inaction by risking misdemeanor charges of conspiracy and trespassing. Then he told the court he was indigent. U.S. Magistrate Eve Furse saw through the ruse and has ordered Lyman to pay back the feds for legal services the taxpayers already put out. In fact, according to The Salt Lake Tribune, Lyman gets $50,000 for being commissioner, and has "three streams of revenue" and real property assessed at $650,000. Lyman, of course, says he's not gaming the system and intended to pay what he could. In this case, you have a case of a guy railing against the federal government while taking advantage of it.