Utah Independent Puts State Lawmakers up for Sale Online


Bidding opened early last Friday on an eBay auction for Utah State Sen. Jerry Stevenson.  The seller was Randy Miller, founder and president of the Utah League of Independent Voters.  Judging from the original listing, which has since been deleted by eBay, Miller was not confident that he would find a buyer.  Indeed, he even warned: “Buyer beware. This toy is broken. I wish it would be recalled. It is a representative that does not represent.”  The opening price for Sen. Stevenson was just one penny, and the seller stated that he would even consider a simple trade for a representative that represents the people of its district rather than the interests of its party.

The occasion for the sale was the conclusion of Utah’s 2011 legislative session.  As Miller wrote in the listing, he decided to sell Stevenson because of the Senator’s votes in support of bills that would prohibit the use of electronic signatures on voter petition drives, restrict access to the electronic correspondence of the legislature and governor, place the state school board under the direct control of the governor’s office and raise the sales tax on food, among other things . . .

Of course, Miller had no intention of “selling” the Senator or the Representative.  As he wrote in the listing, all proceeds would be used to support and expand outreach efforts for the Utah League of Independent Voters.  In that regard, the media stunt was a great success.  Miller says he received pledges totaling almost $1000, and there is now a movement to transform ULiV into an officially recognized political action committee . . .

Read the whole thing.  You can also read an interview with Miller at Third Party and Independent Daily in which he provides a bit more information on the ULiV and the media stunt, which is actually still ongoing.  Utah State Sen. Stevenson is currently listed in an auction at eBay rival boocoo.com.  Miller tells TPID:

The mission of ULiV is to open up the democratic process to the people to whom our government rightfully belongs–the people. We are not concerned about ideological differences. I am not concerned if the voice of the people goes in a direction that I think is imprudent or doesn’t fit with my ideology. The mission of ULiV is to act as a voice for the nearly 800,000 strong, 51.5% plus majority of [Independent] voters in Utah. These independents no doubt are concerned about the partisan filters of caucuses, primaries and redistricting which are not legally contemplated to be controlled by factions through which candidates must pass before being presented to the voters. The folly of that arrangement has come to the forefront after this legislative session. Perhaps we are building enough political will to turn the corner and instill some equity into our governing processes.

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