When Paul Patrick, a state Department of Health director, was offered tickets to a couple of Utah Jazz games earlier this year by the head of the Utah Hospital Association, he said he didn't think twice about passing them along to co-workers.
But Patrick has since found out that accepting the tickets was in violation of Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr.'s ethics policy for executive branch employees after the association president and CEO, Joe Krella, filed a lobbyist financial disclosure report that listed the gift.
Lobbyists are required to report what they spend on government employees and officials four times a year. The year's first report was due Thursday, just over a month after the end of the 2008 Legislature.
Patrick, director of the department's Bureau of Emergency Medical Services, paid the association back the $840 value of the tickets and will talk to bureau employees about the governor's ethics policy, put in place by executive order in February 2007.
"It was a mistake," Patrick said. "This is just something where I learned my lesson."
Patrick said while he understood the tickets were coming from the association, he didn't realize Krella was a lobbyist. He said the department works closely with the association and considers them "great partners."
The governor's office, which contacted the health department after being told by the Deseret Morning News about the lobbyist's report, determined taking the tickets was "a violation of the executive order on gifts," Huntsman spokeswoman Lisa Roskelley said.
"We want to make sure all employees understand what the policy is and what the implications are," Roskelley said. "It's expected if they're going to take things outside the parameters of the executive order, they pay the market value."
Krella's report, as well as all of the other lobbyist reports filed by Thursday's deadline, can be found at elections.utah.gov.
According to state law, lobbyists must name any legislators who receive gifts, meals or travel worth $50 or more. Often lobbyists will approach that limit, but not exceed it, so as to avoid naming the beneficiaries. On the other hand, there are a few such as Barbara Christensen-Boner, a lobbyist for New Jersey-based Novartis Pharmaceuticals who name legislators who receive meals or gifts, even if they do not exceed $50.
If a lobbyist represents multiple clients, as many do, he or she does not have to name which client he or she is billing for the expense in their report.
Highlights of other reports showed:
• Rey Butler, a lobbyist for Questar, spent $706.81 to take the legislative power players out to dinner at the Alta Club on Feb. 13 (Senate President John Valentine, R-Orem; House Speaker Greg Curtis, R-Sandy; Senate Majority Leader Curt Bramble, R-Provo; House Majority Leader Dave Clark, R-Santa Clara; Senate Rules Chairman Bill Hickman, R-St. George; and two spouses).
• Gina Crezee, whose clients include Kennecott Land and PacifiCorp, spent $83.43 apiece on Curtis; his chief of staff, Chris Bleak; Clark, House Majority Assistant Whip Brad Dee, R-Washington Terrace; and Senate Majority Whip Dan Eastman, R-Bountiful, and his wife at Cucina Toscana on Feb. 18. A week earlier, Crezee took Valentine and Bramble to the same restaurant, but spent $93.75 on each powerful legislator. She also gave $107 Jazz tickets to watch the Utah Jazz play the Milwaukee Bucks on Jan. 14 to Curtis; Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, and Senate Assistant Majority Whip Sheldon Killpack, R-Syracuse, and his wife.
• Dave Nicponski, lobbyist for multiple organizations, including ATK Launch Systems and Intermountain Healthcare, spent $430 to take 10 legislators and their spouses to lunch on Jan. 21. He also forked over $500 to buy the Senate caucus lunch.
• A lobbyist for Pfizer, Shelby Fletcher, treated Eastman and Sen. Pete Knudson, R-Brigham City, to a $240 dinner at the New Yorker with their wives on Jan. 28.
• The Deseret Morning News spent $3,375 to give legislators free copies of the newspaper every day of the legislative session.
• David Copeland, who lobbies for 16 different groups, including Wal-Mart, Comcast and the Utah Cable TV Association, took several legislators out to dinner during the session. Bramble enjoyed an $84.60 steak dinner at Ruth's Chris Steak House with State GOP Chairman Stan Lockhart on March 3, while Rep. Jack Draxler, R-North Logan; Rep. John Mathis, R-Naples; Rep. Curt Webb, R-Logan; and Rep. Fred Hunsaker, R-Logan, all enjoyed a steak there on Feb. 25. Copeland also took Dee and Killpack out for a $76.95 meal at Cucina Toscana on Feb. 11.
• While lobbying for Micron and IM Flash, Lockhart gave Rep. Steve Clark, R-Provo, an $80 ticket to the Utah Jazz game on March 20. Lockhart also bought several dinners for lawmakers, totaling about $200.
• Mike Zuhl, who lobbies for more than a dozen different organizations, including Intermountain and the Utah Transit Authority, spent $170.20 to take Sen. Ross Romero, D-Salt Lake, out for dinner and a Jazz game on Feb. 4.
• A lobbyist for Hale Centre Theater, Kent Collins, doled out $2,520 to send 60 public officials to a performance of "The Civil War" on Feb. 21.
• John Baldwin, a lobbyist for the Utah State Bar, spent $275 to send Sen. Lyle Hillyard, R-Logan, to a legal education convention. He spent another $160 to buy breakfast for all the legislators who are also lawyers.
• A lobbyist for 1-800-CONTACTS, Jay Magure, spent $250 to send Rep. Phil Riesen, D-Salt Lake, to the Utah Democratic Party's Legislative Ball.
• Kate Bradshaw, whose clients include Humana and Tesoro Petroleum, spent $80.61 to buy dinner for an unnamed representative at Macaroni Grill on Feb. 27.
• A lobbyist for the Utah Mining Association spent $637.52 to give flashlights to every legislator.
• Alex Segura, a member of the Utah Minuteman Project, donated $100 to Rep. Glenn Donnelsen, R-North Ogden. Donnelsen sponsored several bills targeting illegal immigration, including a failed effort to repeal a law that allows qualified undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition.
• Shelley Cordon Teuscher took Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab, and his family out for a $186.23 dinner in Salt Lake City on Feb. 5.
• Rob Jolley, a lobbyist for several groups, spent more than $4,000 on wining and dining lawmakers.
• Brent Gardner, executive director of the Utah Association of Counties, spent $50 to take a group of legislators out for a round in golf in St. George.
• Christopher Kyler, a lobbyist for several groups, including Questar, bought Bramble's son a $216.65 wedding gift at Target.
• The University of Utah gave Romero a $60 ticket to a basketball game. University officials also doled out $2,256 for a gala legislators attended in honor of Nobel Prize winner Mario Capecchi.• Utah Symphony and Opera officials spent $3,100 for a legislative night at the opera.