Category Archives: Transparency

Government Transparency in Utah

An institution’s integrity depends upon its resolve to be honest to the people they serve. When a government (or any organization) is trying to hide something, we know there is a problem. The Sutherland Institute believes that an open government is a more benevolent government. The voters deserve to know where their tax money is going. Unfortunately, government transparency hasn’t always been easy to come by. State and national governments are constantly trying to hide mistakes and illegal dealings. Utah has just witnessed a long-running battle for transparency during the John Swallow fiasco. The former attorney general was embroiled in a damning bribery scandal and subsequent investigation. The whole charade has cost Utah tax payers millions of dollars, but there is a sliver of hope: Swallow has retired and the public knows a lot more about his alleged misdeeds.

The process of transparency, however, shouldn’t be so complex and expensive; there are more efficient paths toward transparency. Sutherland Institute is dedicated to government transparency is all its many forms. Check back here to read about the latest in Utah state transparency.

From HB 477 to the Utah Legislature winning the Online Democracy Award

Nailed it. This week, Speaker Becky Lockhart and Senate President Wayne Niederhauser accepted the Online Democracy Award from the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL)  on behalf of the Utah Legislature. NCSL recognized the Utah legislative website,, as Best … Continue reading

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Swallow/Shurtleff A.G. alleged scandals and infographic

Click here or the image below for a large web version of the infographic. Last week, in my regular radio commentary aired throughout the state, I recommended that Utah Attorney General John Swallow resign his post as Attorney General. Sutherland … Continue reading

Posted in Legislature, Politics, Transparency | 4 Comments

Positive signs for Orem taxpayers after 8-hour tax hearing

After an eight-hour Truth in Taxation Hearing, the Orem City Council voted 4-3 at 1:45 this morning to approve a 25 percent property tax increase for the Orem portion of the property tax bill, instead of the proposed 50 percent … Continue reading

Posted in Community, Government Spending, Limited Government, Personal Responsibility, Taxes, Transparency | 2 Comments

Video: U. students kick off transparency project

On Wednesday, students at the University of Utah hosted a public forum to release a set of “best practices” for transparency in local government. This initiative, the Utah Transparency Project (UTP), is supported by Sutherland Institute and other groups from … Continue reading

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U. students and Sutherland advocate for transparency in local government

In today’s hyper-partisan political climate it has become difficult to find topics that generate universal (or near-universal) agreement, making those issues that everyone does agree on both refreshing and encouraging. One such issue is the need for open, transparent government. … Continue reading

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Eagle Mountain joins the A+ transparency club

  Eagle Mountain recently became the fourth Utah city to earn Sutherland’s “A+ Website Transparency Award.” Sutherland produced a report in the fall of 2010 that ranked city governments on the transparency and utility of their city websites — did … Continue reading

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California shows that ‘independent commissions’ are an illusion

  Some in Utah, including interest groups, the media, and a few elected officials (usually former elected officials) favor creating “nonpartisan,” “independent” commissions to oversee important political processes like congressional redistricting and legislative ethics investigations.[pullquote]The influence of money and partisan … Continue reading

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Taxpayer tab for UVU employee’s California adventure: $2K

  After a KSL viewer snapped a photo of aUtah taxpayer-owned vehicle parked near Disneyland earlier this year, the state fleet office identified the minivan as belonging to Utah Valley University (UVU). In mid-April a UVU employee drove the vehicle … Continue reading

Posted in Government Spending, Transparency | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Back to basics: making government effective in Mali, Africa

  Sutherland recently interviewed Yeah Samake, mayor of Ouelessebougou, Mali, to discover which principles have helped him effectively lead a city in the second-poorest country in the world. Watch the video report below to hear what he said: httpv:// Here’s … Continue reading

Posted in Self-reliance, Taxes, Transparency | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development gets a D+ for transparency

This morning, I arrived at the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) to attend a GOED board meeting at 10 a.m. No one was there. Apparently, the meeting had been postponed until May 26. The funny thing is that I … Continue reading

Posted in Economic Development, Transparency | Tagged , , | 4 Comments