While the Utah House investigated former Rep. Dionne Halverson, D-Ogden, in the last general session, forcing her to resign in the face of expulsion for her "no contest" plea to a misdemeanor shoplifting charge, there's little precedence for a Senate ethics investigation. In fact, since the ethics procedure was adopted in the mid-1970s there has only been one Senate investigation that proceeded to even the first step.
Several years ago then-GOP Attorney General David Wilkinson complained that former Sen. Paul Rogers, R-Orem, attempted to influence an attorney general investigation. Ethics rules say a legislator "shall not exercise any undue influence on any governmental entity."Former Democratic State Party Chairman Randy Horiuchi called for an ethics investigation of Rogers. Three Democratic senators signed such a call. The panel formed and heard closed-door testimony. The committee decided there wasn't sufficient evidence to move to the next step - that of deciding what action should be taken against Rogers. Thus, Rogers was cleared by the committee of any ethics violation.
Horiuchi later publicly apologized to Rogers for calling for his investigation. Later, while still a senator, Rogers started a "government consulting" business and in effect advocated his clients positions to fellow legislators. He later chose not to seek re-election and left the Senate.
Horiuchi was elected a Salt Lake County commissioner last November, and once in office he hired Rogers - who is now a successful and respected lobbyist - for $40,000 to lobby the 1991 Legislature on the county's behalf.