Senator Billie Sutton is sending a clear message to his fellow Democratic candidates: campaign on Initiated Measure 22. The Democratic candidate for governor released a “Trust & Integrity” plan this week that reads pretty much like the Anti-Corruption Act which voters passed in November 2016 and which the Republican Legislature repealed three months later.
Sutton’s plan includes major IM 22 planks like limiting the gifts lobbyists can give to elected officials and state employees, protecting whistleblowers, empaneling a real ethics commission (not the flimsy one the 2017 Legislature enacted but exempted itself from), and lowering campaign finance caps.
Of course, if we just pass Amendment W, half of Sutton’s Trust & Integrity work will be done. Sutton proposes additional reform measures like closing all the conflict-of-interest loopholes that the Republican Legislature left itself so that officials like G. Mark Mickelson could vote on laws that boost his business. He also wants to reform the bidding process for state contracts to “require disclosure of multiple contracts to the same entity that cumulatively exceed $50k but were not bid.” Hey, how about a step beyond disclosure: how about saying no one gets more than $50K of state contracts a year without bidding for them?
Sutton’s Trust & Integrity plan goes farther than Kristi Noem’s Transparency policy, which nods to IM 22 but doesn’t mention campaign finance, lobbyists, or conflicts of interest. Marty Jackley’s Open and Honest Government initiative doesn’t mention campaign finance or lobbyists, either… but at the point where Marty opens his initiative by saying he “led the fight against corruption in the federal EB5 program,” we’re allowed to laughingly dismiss his proposal wholesale.