Opinionated @ CFE

Why is Nobody Else Bothered By Rep. Holdaway's New Job?


When I initially read that Rep. Kory Holdaway was resigning his seat in the legislature to become a full-time lobbyist for the UEA, I found myself thinking “great, another revolving door lobbyist.” I had fully anticipated some kind of blogging outrage at the revolving door especially in light of the current ethics initiative being proposed. To date, the only mention of this I have seen is a small blurb in this week’s City Weekly. Isn’t anyone else concerned about this?

While Sen. Steve Urquhart points out that Rep. Holdaway’s existing personal relationships may help repair relations between the legislature and the UEA, groups that have often been at odds one with another, that existing relationship is the problem. Rep. Holdaway will be able to get face time that many other lobbyists would not and peddle influence that another lobbyist would not have.

This kind of behavior is what’s at the core of the concerns over ethics in Utah. Yet, for whatever reason, bloggers, news media, even the people spearheading the ethics petition have failed to latch onto this. Stop giving Rep. Holdaway a free pass and let him have it.

16 Responses to Why is Nobody Else Bothered By Rep. Holdaway's New Job?

  1. To answer your question Jesse, perhaps it is because it is not something that is bothersome to most open minded and reasonable people.

    Kory Holdaway is eminently qualified to represent the interest of Utah’s public schools being a special education teacher for 27 years and having served in the Legislature for 10 years.

    In my thinking there is a difference between the high paid lobbyists for large corporations such as Energy Solutions trying to influence legislation to increase their bottom line profitability and a 27 year veteran teacher trying to influence the legislature to provide adequate funding to reduce class sizes, provide competitive teacher’s salaries to keep the best teachers from leaving the state, and to pass bills that further the quality of public education.

    It should also be remembered that a legislator leaving the legislature and becoming a lobbyist is both legal and ethical under the rules set up by the legislature at the present time. It is also important to note that the UEA supports the entire concept of the Government Ethics Reform which includes much more than the lobbyist rule.

    This may seem hypocritical to some, but the alternative would be for the UEA to wait 2 years before hiring Kory Holdaway who is the most qualified person to fill the opening left by Vic Arnold even though it is not required by law just to appease people like you Opinionated Jesse. To me that just doesn’t make any sense. You may see it differently.

  2. The revolving door is a problem no matter who you leave to lobby for, and that’s kind of the point. We shouldn’t give Rep. Holdaway a free pass because the UEA is less objectionable than Energy Solutions, or because he’s a good/nice guy, or because he’s highly qualified for the position. The rules and expectations should be applied evenly. This is a prime example of why Utahns are pretty ticked off about ethics issues. We expect (and deserve) some kind of uniformity in the way legislators behave.

    Just because what he did is legal doesn’t mean it’s right.

  3. Well – maybe, unlike another legislator we could mention, he actually quit the legislature when he decided to be a lobbyist. Yeah, it’s tacky and weird and worthy of far more notice – but it’s just not the dirtiest thing going on up there.

  4. I would assume we’re talking about Sen. Howard Stephenson, my “favorite” lobbyist legislator. How he’s allowed to get away with that is a mystery.

  5. Not only can we mention him, it appears that we now have. Yeah. When you can’t get what you want as a lobbyist – buy the seat. It’s the Utah way!

  6. This is an excellent question, and one I have to admit I’m guilty of. I’m not sure why it didn’t raise my “anti-revolving door ire,” but I’ll honestly admit it didn’t.

    Maybe there is something less offensive (to me at least) about someone stepping over to lobby for an education union as opposed to a “for profit” corporation.

    I’ll have to give it some thought, but either way, glad the question was asked.

    And lol @ Stephenson comments. Agreed, how he gets away with it is a mystery.

  7. I blogged about it the day after it was announced. http://hollyonthehill.wordpress.com/2009/09/30/oh-the-irony/
    The story did get picked up by the press, but the ones who scream the loudest about the revolving door for say, Greg Curtis, conveniently overlook the entire issue when it benefits them. And jasonthe – thanks for being honest, but come on. Is Kory going to make less lobbying for the UEA than he would for a corporation? I think not.
    I for one think it’s outrageously hypocritical and that Vic Arnold should immediately cease and desist lobbying for an ethics reform bill that has a mandatory two-year window between being a lobbyist and a legislator.

  8. Hand wringing about the hypocrisy of the UEA saying one thing and doing something else may make those on the right feel better, but those of us who are paying attention will also see it as just one more “red herring” put up by those who oppose ethics reform in the legislature to deflect attention from the real issue which is the proposed ethics rules themselves.

    To date, I have not heard or read even one comment by any Republican legislator or their supporters that addresses any of the 18 proposed ethics rules contained in the initiative. All of the discussion so far has been about Regular Czars, Super Czars, Jumbo Czars, and Oh My Heck Those Are Big Scary Czars.

    To set the record straight, Vic Arnold has retired from the UEA and is no longer a paid lobbyist. He is however an active supporter of the Government Ethics Reform initiative as are hundreds of other people. Mr. Arnold has just as much right as any other private citizen to work towards passage of the proposed ethics bill—with or without Holly’s blessing.

  9. John, you are almost entirely missing the point. This kind of hypocrisy (“good for thee, not for me”) is at the very core of the ethics initiative. If the UEA very firmly believed in the proposed ethics rules, wouldn’t they voluntarily follow them prior to or absent implementation? Aristotle applies here: “I do without being commanded what others do only from fear of the law.” If one of the chief backers is so willing to compromise for the sake of convenience and expedience right now, who’s to say they won’t try gaming the rules later? Or that they haven’t already gamed the proposal to their advantage?

    This issue isn’t going to just go away. As Jason (a backer of the initiative, no less) has said, let’s have the discussion. You seem to be much more interested in thinly veiled insults and mockery, however. That substantively weakens your position.

  10. Jesse, with all due respect I take exception to the comment that I am missing the point. A careful reading of the proposed ethics rules will reveal that the “very core” of the initiative has to do with much, much more than just Section 36-27-301(2)(a)(3)(iii)which reads:

    “No legislator may act as a lobbyist for two years from and after the date of such legislator’s resignation, removal, or expiration of therm of office”.

    There are also 36-27-301(2)(a)(i),(ii),(iv),(v),(vi),(vii),(viii),and(ix) which deal with a host of other significant fiduciary related ethics issues.

    Then there are 36-27-301(2)(b)(i),(ii),(iii),(iv),(v),(vi),(vii),(viii),and(ix)which deal with other important personal interest issues.

    In addition there is 36-27-301(2)(c)which deals with the issues surrounding conflicts of interest disclosure.

    There are also 36-27-301(2)(d)(i)(A),(B),(C),(D),(E),(F)which deal with accepting campaign contributions, and 36-27-301(2)(d)(ii)and(iii)which deal with the disposal of unused campaign funds, and amended financial reports respectively.

    To CHERRY PICK just one of these numerous ethics provisions in the Government Ethics Reform initiative to attack the Utah Education for hiring Kory Holdaway WHICH IS PERFECTLY LEGAL AND ETHICAL UNDER THE PRESENT RULES and question the UEA’s integrity and motives for supporting the initiative as a whole is a specious argument at best, and at worst a partisan attempt to discredit Kory Holdaway, Vic Arnold, the ethics of the UEA and the 18,000 Utah Teachers the organization represents.

    What is patently true is that by focusing on this one narrow “cherry picked” issue that in no substantial way represents the “very core” of the Government Ethics Reform it gives the critics of the initiative something to do while they are deftly evading a thoughtful and focused discussion of the merits of the true core issues of the initiative which are the ethics rules and guidelines enumerated above.


    That’s a cop-out. Either you think the revolving door is ethical or you don’t, and you either follow that or you don’t. You can’t claim to believe the revolving door is unethical and not follow that rule voluntarily while expecting to still be taken seriously. It’s hypocritical. At least shills like Sen. Stephenson don’t claim to have any kind of problem with their duality. It’s still wrong, but it’s consistent.

    “a partisan attempt to discredit Kory Holdaway, Vic Arnold, the ethics of the UEA and the 18,000 Utah Teachers the organization represents”

    I’m non-partisan. I’ve been a registered independent for over 3 years. Before that, I was in third parties. Claiming that I’m making a partisan smear is specious and has zero factual basis.

    I don’t get it, John. Why are you so hell-bent on not calling this hypocrisy when it rather blatantly is? If Jeff Bell and Jason Williams can call it hypocritical, why can’t you? If you can’t criticize your own team when they do something wrong, you simply can’t be trusted as anything other than a blind partisan.

  12. Even independents can be guilty of dichotomous thinking from time to time Jesse. Your world may be black and white, but mine is not and it is much more interesting and thought provoking as well. If you are badgering me to say something I don’t believe you are wasting both your time and the bandwith of this blog.

    I was hoping to raise a discussion on one of the many issues presented in my previous post, but I just keep getting the thump, thump, thump, of a broken record here. You made your point, now give the tonearm a bump and lets hear the rest of the tune for a change.

    Let’s move past the hypothetical and get down to the reality of the situation. The Utah Education Association aka “my team” in this set of circumstances had the following choices:

    1) Hire the best person for the open position and withdraw support for the entire ethics initiative to avoid being called “hypocritical” by those who don’t like the UEA anyway.

    2) Support the ethics initiative and fill the opening with a less qualified individual to avoid being called “hypocritical” by those who don’t like the UEA anyway.

    3) Hire the best person for the job AND support the ethics initiative and just ignore the static from the right wingnuts who would find fault with whatever the UEA does no matter what it might be.

    What would you do if you were the president in charge of that organization? I know what I would do, and I applaud the courage of the UEA leadership for doing the same. Sticks and stones etc. The bottom line is what is best for Utah’s public schools and I know that the UEA made the right choice in this instance, name calling and all.

  13. There’s a reason I’m treating this as a black-and-white issue. It’s because if the ethics initiative is law, there is no wiggle room. If there is unequal enforcement, it would be just as corrupt (if not more so) than the status quo. Ask a lawyer how long any law stays on the books when unequal enforcement can be easily proven.

    Yes, I’m focused on the revolving door problem. Because that’s what I posted about. Go ahead and bring in Greg Curtis, a fellow revolving door legislator-turned-lobbyist whose clients are much less palatable than Rep. Holdaway’s new employer. It still doesn’t excuse anything, though. The revolving door is bad regardless of if the individual in question is lobbying for the “good guys” or the “bad guys”.

    You’ve spent the entire discussion trying to distract from the point at hand by insulting me, painting me as some right-wingnut kook that couldn’t see reason and logic if I were hit over the head with it. I certainly don’t appreciate the insinuations or the snide remarks. You’re less interested in discussing anything than you are in popping off cheap shots to denigrate those with whom you disagree. Every single post, it’s some smug swipe. At least when I get insulted by someone like Jeff Bell, he’s creative, straight-forward, and a lot funnier. If you want to call me an idiot, just come out and say it. This whole implication thing is passive-aggressive nonsense and I’m rather tired of it.

  14. It seems one of my posts went missing. Does that mean that Opinionated Jesse is the only one who has a right to express an opinion here?

    The question was asked: “Why is Nobody Else Bothered By Rep. Holdaway’s New Job”?

    My response was: “perhaps it is because it is not something that is bothersome to most open minded and reasonable people”. This was not meant to be insulting, but to suggest that there are those of us who can see the “bigger picture” and have the ability to put Kory Holdaway’s new job into the “proper perspective” and not blow this all out of proportion.

    At that point I supported that statement by making the argument that the “revolving door” provision is but a small part of the ethics initiative as a whole, and that the UEA’s choices were limited in this situation and that hiring Kory Holdaway was the most logical and reasonable decision at this time.

    In his response to this Jesse derided my comments as being a “cop out” and went on to refer to me as a “blind partisan” for taking that position. He later berates me for my “insulting” comments.

    After much browbeating from the author of this blog to “admit to the hypocrisy” I referred to that action as a broken record, and pointed out the idea that it is either hypocritical or it is not to be an example of dichotomous thinking.

    Apparently Opinionated Jesse insists on being the most “opinionated”
    individual who posts here and feels it necessary to censor other people’s comments that differ from his own. How sad.

  15. “It seems one of my posts went missing. Does that mean that Opinionated Jesse is the only one who has a right to express an opinion here?”

    No, it means the server probably goofed. I’ve had a lot of problems with denial of service attacks recently and have had to restart Apache about twice a week. I don’t delete non-spam comments (never have in the 3+ years I’ve been blogging) and there’s nothing in the spam queue. All I can say is sorry for the server glitch and jerks that like to screw up random web servers.

    And we want to talk insults? Right off the bat you insinuate that I’m closed-minded and unreasonable, then you say that I’m demanding appeasement, then you start right into the condescending pet names. I think I exercised quite a bit of restraint in my initial response, thankyouverymuch. But that wasn’t enough. Then you call my concern a “red herring” and insult another commenter. It pretty much went downhill from there. Now you have the audacity to claim victim after prodding someone into retaliation? Give me a break, troll.

  16. Ouch. It must be understood that many if not all my comments have been directed in a general way to those on the side opposing the Government Ethics Reform initiative. It is unfortunate that those comments have been personalized and characterized as passive agressive behavior, but you know “if the shoe fits”. 🙂

    To put my remarks on this blog into context, please go to these links and read the exchanges between myself and the right wingnuts who can’t see past the Czar and Super Czar labels. http://underthedome.org/

    This is where I am coming from and why I see the “Kory Holdaway revolving door hypocrisy” in the same “Red Herring” fashion as the bogus “Czars” and “Super Czars” right wing diversionary tactic. It is a nice debate, but there are other ethics related issues that in my opinion have a much higher priority.

    If you don’t like my kinds of answers Jesse, then stop asking those types of questions. It was you who wrote “Stop giving Rep. Holdaway a free pass and let him have it” at the end of your piece. If that is not challenging someone who believes differently on this topic to “take up the gauntlet” then I don’t know what is.

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