Cooke Proposes Sweeping Ethics Reform

Democratic Utah Gubernatorial Candidate Peter Cooke

(KCPW News)  Despite recent changes, ethics regulations designed to keep politicians on the straight and narrow still don’t match the expectations of Utah residents.  That was the message delivered today by Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Peter Cooke.

“We believe getting confidence back in government can only be occurred by those who believe in high standards of government that we would like to reinstate in this proposal,” says Cooke.

Speaking at the state capitol, Cooke proposed several ethics reforms he would make as governor, including limiting campaign donations to $2,500 for individuals and $5,000 for groups, creating a stronger ethics commission made up of non-politicians, and extending the waiting period for any state official to become a lobbyist from one to two years.

And Cooke takes the lobbyist issue a step further.  “The legislation that I propose would set the amount that any public official can receive as a gift from a lobbyist to be zero.  Yes, I said zero,” says Cooke.  “Elected officials should not be receiving any material benefit for public service.”

Cooke was joined by supporters of the Utahns for Ethical Government initiative, a proposed ballot measure that has been opposed by many state lawmakers. In the past, Governor Gary Herbert, Cooke’s GOP opponent, has opposed campaign contribution limits, saying they make it more difficult for incumbents to be challenged.

Listen to audio of Cooke’s full speech here: