Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Eleven years of Ogden City Council minutes now online

In the interest of promoting open government and as a service to the public, the Ogden Ethics Project is now hosting an archive of Ogden City Council minutes on its web site. The archive can be found at http://ogdenethics.org/councilminutes.html.

The archive dates from January 2000 through early 2011, and is organized chronologically. It includes minutes of all public city council meetings including work sessions, study sessions, and meetings where the council was acting as the Redevelopment Agency Board or Municipal Building Authority. Only closed executive sessions are omitted.

Although the Ogden Ethics Project web site does not have custom search capability, the archive has been indexed by Google and will presumably be indexed by other major search engines in the near future. Thus, the public can now look up city council actions and discussions on any topic of interest over the last eleven years.

Minutes of selected city council meetings since 2008 can also be found on the Ogden City web site. However, the collection posted there is incomplete and its content is not accessible to search engines.

The Ogden Ethics Project would like to thank the Ogden City Recorder’s office for providing the electronic files that make up the newly posted archive.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Candidates asked to accept voluntary campaign finance limitations

This new press release describes our latest initiative...


The Ogden Ethics Project, a nonpartisan organization formed in May, is asking all Ogden City municipal election candidates to adopt a set of voluntary campaign contribution limitations.

The limitations will close loopholes in Ogden’s existing campaign finance disclosure law, ensure that voters know the sources of candidates’ funds, and encourage all candidates to represent a broad spectrum of citizens rather than just a few special interests. By city ordinance, campaign contributions are already limited to $5000 for mayoral candidates and $1500 for city council candidates.

In brief, the voluntary limitations would:

  • Prohibit campaign contributions from corporations, business entities, and unions;
  • Allow contributions from registered political action committees, but only if they are not being used to circumvent contribution limits or disclosure requirements;
  • Prohibit contributions that are made indirectly, through third parties;
  • Prohibit any coordination between a candidate’s campaign and anyone making independent political expenditures that bypass the campaign treasury;
  • Require individuals contributing $250 or more to report their employers’ names.

Restrictions such as these are already mandated in many states and at the federal level. The Ogden Ethics Project is asking candidates to voluntarily accept these limitations only if their opponents also agree to do so.

In past elections, contributions from business interests have dominated some of Ogden’s campaigns, and several candidates have accepted contributions from organizations that were used to avoid contribution limits and disclosure requirements.

The checklist of voluntary campaign contribution restrictions is being mailed today to all known candidates for mayor and city council, and will be mailed to newly declared candidates soon after they register with the city. The checklist can also be downloaded from http://ogdenethics.org/resources.html.

After all candidates have had an opportunity to respond, a summary of their responses will be posted at http://ogdenethics.org.