Editorial: Change the Hatch Act

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  • Conservative Cedar City, UT
    Jan. 3, 2012 10:37 a.m.

    Mike Noel is an interesting case study. He is retired from the Bureau of Land Management. He is a State Representative. And he's the president of the Kane County Water Conservancy District, which is funded by local, State and Federal tax monies.

    All told, he makes about $180,000 per year from his various government incomes.

    At the same time he is a rabid opponent of government.


  • Brer Rabbit Spanish Fork, UT
    Jan. 1, 2012 8:44 p.m.

    To be fair the Hatch Act ought to extend to all of those that make their living from the public trough: public schools, universities, medical, farmers, defense contractors, Social Security, the list is endless. The problem would be,if it were to be fair, that only a few would be qualified for public office.

  • Dark Reaver SOUTH JORDAN, UT
    Jan. 1, 2012 2:53 p.m.

    Except, ALL politician are bound by both their State Constitution and the US Constitution. Not just the President. Presidental primary runners buying strawpoll voting tickets and giving them out to voters that attend their straw-party is what other then buying votes? Who contributes to a Super-Pac without the Pac nominie answering to their interest? It's buying the canidate, instead of the voter. I find it logical to blame a single digit approval rating of Congress as the problem rather then a President yet to be convicted of viotating the Constitution. Reagan wasn't trialed for High Treason for Iran/Contra because he was innocent, but because of lack of documentation.
    Each to their own though, I just don't see your saint of a President in the field of republican hopefulls. BTW, I'm not Dem or Rep. I just vote for the best I see in the race at that time. Your glass half full, I'm half empty :)

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Dec. 31, 2011 10:16 p.m.


    People tend to judge others by how they perceive life. It looks to me like Mrs. White was able to read between the lines to see the trap that you thought you were setting for her. Some people, like Mrs. White, have a noble character. You may think that no politician has high morals, but I think just the opposite is true. Good people enter politics, not to serve themselves, but to make a difference for good. SOME of them get lost along the way.

    We have only one President at a time. Mr. Obama is the only President residing in the White House. He is the only one currently charged with upholding the Constitution. He is the only one who is currently accountable to the people who have limited his duties to those that THEY enumerated for him in the Constitution.

    Regardless of what he wants to do, he is bound by that document to do only those things that we ALLOW him to do. Buying votes is not one of the things that we allow him to do.

  • Dark Reaver SOUTH JORDAN, UT
    Dec. 31, 2011 5:21 p.m.

    L White,

    Correct answer, but a bit malicious for me. I was wondering if were going to answer with one was 20mil compaired to 500mil. Showing a price for your political ideals. Commendable you didn't. But the morals you desire have NEVER been shown in politics as of yet, not just lately. Though most follow their political views as they do their religious views...blindly. Bush was no different, either Bush, nor Clinton, nor Reagan, and so on, and so on.
    I like your idea, just not torward a single president.

  • L White Springville, UT
    Dec. 31, 2011 4:09 p.m.

    Mr. Dark Reaver,

    You've made a very serious error if you think that I support any corrupt politician. Mr. Hatch does not have my vote for re-election. He wore out his welcome several terms ago; however, I would never excuse his conduct because of the conduct of President Obama. Here in Utah, we believe that eight-year-olds are old enough to know right from wrong. Both President Obama and Senator Hatch crossed that milestone anniversary years ago. Both are fully accountable for their actions.

    What saddens me is that there are so many who use the excuse that somebody else did it first so they seem to think that it is okay to do it again.

    That is not what we stand for in America. We, the People, told the government that we would not tolerate misbehavior, but it seems like some of you are willing to tolerate President Obama's misbehavior.

    When the morals of Americans decline as much as the morals of the politicians, maybe we do not deserve to be a free people. Maybe what Ether wrote was more true than we know.

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    Dec. 31, 2011 1:29 p.m.

    Thanks Utah Dem. I for got to include all public school teachers and university professors as well as administrative staffs.

  • Dark Reaver SOUTH JORDAN, UT
    Dec. 31, 2011 9:49 a.m.

    L White,

    Odd you didn't mention O Hatch doing the exact same thing with his own little bankrupt energy company in Utah. But then, it's ok if it's a politician you support eh?

  • L White Springville, UT
    Dec. 31, 2011 9:21 a.m.

    Mr. George,

    Please cite for the rest of us where President Obama got the Constitutional authority to take the assets of two car companies and then distribute those assets to a foreign government and to his union friends. The 5th Amendment guarantees due process. There was none.

    Tell us where President Obama got the Constitutional authority to force us to buy anything for our personal welfare, whether that product is health insurance or whether it is tooth-paste.

    Tell us where President Obama got the Constitutional authority to NOT prosecute illegal aliens, after he took an oath of office to uphold the Constitution. For that matter, tell us where he has the Constitutional authority to tell the attorney general to ignore ANY law or to sell firearms to Mexican bandits on the border. Just where did President Obama get the authority to give $500 million dollars from the public treasury to his friends in a bankrupt solar energy plant?

    There you have it, the beginning of a very long list.

  • George Bronx, NY
    Dec. 30, 2011 6:47 p.m.

    @ L White: So, enlighten us. Please list one instance of Obama throwing the Constitution out the window.

  • L White Springville, UT
    Dec. 30, 2011 4:02 p.m.

    When I was a little girl in the 50's I remember listening to my grandparents and my parents "talk" politics. One of my grandmas was a FDR Democrat. One of grandpas was a Eisenhower Republican. When anybody started talking specifics about FDR to my grandma, she started swearing and calling names. She refused to listen to any facts. She knew what she knew and the facts were not important.

    Now sixty years later the President has changed but the media and some posters are acting just like my grandma. They know what they know and facts do not matter. They refuse to admit that President Obama has thrown the Constitution out the window and is winging it from the golf course. They blame President Bush for all of President Obama's mistakes. Then they tell everyone who brings up a fact to shut up and to leave the poor President alone.

    We need a new Hatch Act to protect us from a lazy media and from posters who only believe in free speech if they are the ones talking.

    It seems like only yesterday that my grandma had those same tantrums.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Dec. 30, 2011 3:02 p.m.


    Carl Hatch, a Democrat, saw how FDR was abusing his office to "pay off" pubic officials. He saw how FDR was trying to stuff the bench. He saw how FDR was paying off union leaders. He saw how FDR was using his own brand of community organizers to mobilize the people. He saw how FDR was suing wheat farmers for NOT charging the government price for their wheat.

    He did something about it. He, a Democrat, had the courage to stand up to a corrupt President. He, a Democrat, found a way to take away much of the power and influence that FDR's dollars were buying.

    Today, we have a President who will be spending a billion dollars on his re-election campaign. We have a President who has spent almost $5 TRILLION for "public works" a.k.a. "influence".

    Was Carl Hatch the only Democrat honest enough to say that buying votes is corrupt? Was he the only Democrat honest enough to tell us that influence peddling is corrupt?

    History has repeated itself. FDR and Obama are political twins. What's sad is that you try to silence those who speak out against blatant corruption.

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    Dec. 30, 2011 2:19 p.m.

    On the subject:

    Somebody mentioned school board elections as an example of elections that were basically non-partisan. Technically they may be, but they are one of the most crucial elections ever held in local communities.

    There's a lot of talk about defending the interests of our children. I'm for that, and so I think we need to know as much, or more, about school board wannabes as candidates in other, often more high profile, elections. I'd like to see a huge turnout of voters too, and intensive questioning and research on all the candidates.

    Although school board candidates may not claim party affiliation at elections, they do come with points of view that certainly may translate to party agendas, and represent self interest. Much depends on this.

  • Utah Dem Ogden, UT
    Dec. 30, 2011 1:08 p.m.

    I do have a question for the editorial staff - what makes you think the Ogden community is outraged by the firing of Greiner? I'm not outraged and neither are any of the people in my neighborhood.
    I have never been a supporter of double-dippers - in law enforcement, education, fire departments or the legislature - its just greed in my opinion.
    This issue should have been resolved five years and $1 million ago.

  • Utah Dem Ogden, UT
    Dec. 30, 2011 12:59 p.m.

    Utahshelkgame - please explain your comment "Why are educators, who also receive Federal and State funding, allowed to sit in our state, and not violate the Hatch Act?"

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    Dec. 30, 2011 12:57 p.m.

    Now that they have fulfilled the requirements of the Hatch Act by firing Greiner, now they can re-hire him with no entanglements. Ogden ought to refuse any federal funds for their police from now on.

  • Dark Reaver SOUTH JORDAN, UT
    Dec. 30, 2011 12:57 p.m.

    I agree with the police department, no one should be required to obey a law they personally don't agree with or find "stupid". If that's their policy, it's good enough for me.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Dec. 30, 2011 12:30 p.m.

    @ Mike Richards, the Hatch Act has nothing to do really with Obama. Lay off and stop bringing Obama into every issue that you comment on. Good grief!

  • J Thompson SPRINGVILLE, UT
    Dec. 30, 2011 12:16 p.m.

    @ Brother Chuck Schroeder | 11:25 a.m.,

    The "(Carl) Hatch Act" became law in 1939 (when current Utah Senator Orrin Hatch was five years old).

    Senator Carl Hatch was a Democrat who feared the influence peddling of the FDR administration.

    From Wikipedia:

    "The Act was sponsored by Senator Carl Hatch following disclosures that WPA officials were in fact using their positions to win votes for the Democratic Party, just as many had alleged. Hatch, himself a Democrat, saw this as outright corruption which should not be tolerated under any circumstance by either political party, a feeling shared by most of his colleagues in the Senate."

    Wouldn't it be nice if today's Democrats had the same spine as Carl Hatch to speak out against a corrupt administration? (Before you Democrats hold your breath and turn purple, you can return the favor after the new Republican President is elected in November 2012 - at which time we can all exhale and admit that the problem has been solved.)

  • Brother Chuck Schroeder A Tropical Paradise USA, FL
    Dec. 30, 2011 11:25 a.m.

    Across the nation, there is evidence that people are increasingly using the Utah Sen. Hatch Act as a convenient way to wield a sledge hammer against political enemies that won't cave into their Koch Brother's and ReaganBushClintonBush-villes economics, along with GOP deregulated for kickbacks for the Koch Brothers and Grover Norquist, in their "Field Of Dreams," (of corn and sugar cane), with corruption, "crony capitalism," it's time to vote them all out of Office come 2012.

  • J Thompson SPRINGVILLE, UT
    Dec. 30, 2011 10:29 a.m.


    Haven't you ever read Mike Richards' blasts against Mr. Bennett, Mr. Hatch, and Mr. Chaffetz? At least he is not playing partisan politics. It looks to me that he calls 'em the way he sees 'em.


    Have those who want the Hatch Act repealed, studied the "Daley Machine" in Chicago or "William 'Boss' Tweed's Tammany Hall"?

    Have those who want the Hatch Act repealed looked at Mr. Hatch's statements about all the "business" he has brought to Utah during his multiple terms as Senator.

    Is it a Senator's job to "milk" the public treasury for his home State? Is it a Representative's job to see that public money is spent on his constituents? Is it a police chief's duty to accept funds from Washington? What benefit did the people of Nevada get from his department receiving funds from the public treasury? How about Mississippi or the people of any other State? Why didn't the police department refuse to accept funds from Washington?

    That is why we have the Hatch Act. It protects the people from influence buying.

    No money = no strings.

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    Dec. 30, 2011 10:13 a.m.

    Let's amend the Hatch act to include Union members. That way any union or union member that works for a company that receives federal funding can't run for office either. That would disqalify all Federal employees that belong to a union, all postal workers, GM workers, Chrysler workers, Boeing employees, Lockheed Martin, GE, etc, etc, etc. You think my idea isn't sound? What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

    This is nothing more than a political persicution by the left against a conservative republican.

  • There You Go Again Saint George, UT
    Dec. 30, 2011 10:07 a.m.

    "...mean-spirited, self-serving and unwilling to work with anyone that disagrees with him. He talks out of both sides of his mouth. HIs irresponsible behavior makes a mockery...".

    Resume for successful candidate in Utah's new congressional district?

  • utahsshellgame South Jordan, UT
    Dec. 30, 2011 10:03 a.m.

    The Hatch Act needs to Stay! This issues only point to a greater need.

    Get rid of the Good Ol' Boy system.

    Why are Educators who also receive Federal and State funding allowed to sit in our State, and not violate the Hatch Act?

    Let's try having Ethics instead of excuses!

  • JoeBlow Miami Area, Fl
    Dec. 30, 2011 10:01 a.m.

    Mike Richards,

    Wouldn't it be nice if you complained as loudly when the Republicans do exactly the same thing?

  • joe5 South Jordan, UT
    Dec. 30, 2011 9:52 a.m.

    Supporters of the Hatch Act are way off base. It should be declared unconstitutional.

    How is it different for a police chief to serve in public office than, let's say, a doctor? Either can influence policy and legislation. A doctor brings his experiences with him and could, if he is unethical, influence legislation in favor of some aspect of the medical industry that would benefit him personally.

    If we are to have a truly citizen government, then we need to let our citizens participate - even the ones who take a job we may not care for. This law is absolutely wrong-headed.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Dec. 30, 2011 9:42 a.m.


    Wouldn't it be nice if history never repeated itself and that what we're seeing in our country today had never happened before?

    Wouldn't it be nice if every President actually upheld the Constitution as he had taken an oath to do?

    Wouldn't it be nice if no President ever preached class warfare, envy, and coveting as part of his re-election campaign?

    Wouldn't it be nice if no President ever spend trillions from public funds to payoff his community organizers, his union friends, his friends in foreign lands (via loans to drill for oil AFTER he had closed off the Gulf to domestic drilling)?

    Wouldn't it be nice if one morning the President told the American people how very sorry he was for costing us millions of jobs, for tanking our economy, for making us the laughing stock of the world, for dissing the brave soldiers who keep us free?

    Wouldn't that be nice?

    Well, it's not going to happen and I will not pull the covers over my head and pretend that it is not happening.

    The Hatch Act was written to prevent the very thing that is happening at the highest level of government!

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Dec. 30, 2011 9:03 a.m.

    While a review of the Hatch Act is certainly reasonable, I'm not sure I buy your argument. A public employee, a police chief, serving in the state Senate, is a problem in my mind. Utah should not be like New Jersey where it is widely acceptable for people to serve in multiple government roles. Not only is it wrong for double dipping and conflict of interest issues, these people lose their perspective of who they are serving.

    As for Mike Richards, please lay off Obama for 10 seconds. This issue has nothing to do with him and tax policies for the wealthy. Your obsession is unbecoming.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Dec. 30, 2011 8:32 a.m.

    As the editorial points out, the problem is how to manage political influence. Especially the influence an officeholder might have over the funding that pays his or her day job salary?

    As I understand the Hatch Act, running for non-partisan office is fine. Non-partisan means no one runs as a Republican, Democrat or representative of some other party. In states where I have lived, school board elections have typically been non-partisan. But anything much above that is generally between the competing parties.

    State elections (especially at lower levels) may seem pretty "safe" in that they would have little influence over federal funds. But what if the lower level politician in question is considered a rising start in his or her party (predicted to have far greater influence in the future or with party elders)? Or, what if they are ostensibly a lower-level politician but wield a lot of behind the scenes power? The questions then become harder.

    My view is that more elections should be non-partisan. But that is a choice for local folks to make as they structure their elections.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Dec. 30, 2011 8:16 a.m.

    Let's not get caught up in who is running for office before applying the Hatch Act. The PRINCIPLE behind the act is people in power tend to use every method to stay in power. Case in point: Mr. Obama demanding that citizens get an extended tax break even as he tells us that the wicked "rich guy" should pay more taxes. If that doesn't show us why the Hatch Act is necessary, then nothing will. Too bad that it doesn't apply on the Federal Level. NOBODY would ever run for a second term.

  • Foolsflat SLC, UT
    Dec. 30, 2011 8:01 a.m.

    Mike Noel is NOT representative of his district - he is mean-spirited, self-serving and unwilling to work with anyone that disagrees with him. He talks out of both sides of his mouth. HIs irresponsible behavior (read riding on an ATV on a closed trail) makes a mockery of Utah elected officials. We need a good moderate to run. Anyone listening?

  • JoeBlow Miami Area, Fl
    Dec. 30, 2011 7:37 a.m.

    Until we stop allowing businesses and unions to contribute to and lobby our congress, nothing will substantially change.

    Everything else is prattle.

  • Hellooo Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 30, 2011 3:54 a.m.

    Actually the Hatch Act is spot on, and the state should extend that to those receiving salaries or other compensation from public money other than federal monies. The old saying is "where you sits determines how you stand" and those receiving public funds from any source have built in bias that is impossible to overcome. We should all be advocating stricter ethical standards not a reduction in them.