Constituents in House Majority Leader Jim Dunnigan's, R-Taylorsville, house district are being bombarded by mailers from both sides in the fight over Healthy Utah, including some paid for by a PAC controlled by House Speaker Greg Hughes.
This week the Alliance for a Better Utah sent mailers to residents in Dunnigan's district this week urging them to put pressure on the chair of the Health Reform Task Force to pass Healthy Utah.
Another mailer from Hughes PAC, the leadership PAC from Speaker Greg Hughes, urges residents to support Dunnigan in the fight against Obamacare.
The Hughes PAC mailer points residents to a website, also funded by Hughes PAC, that says Healthy Utah is "too costly, too unpredictable and too inflexible."
Speaker Hughes, R-Draper, has repeatedly said Healthy Utah will not get a hearing in the House because there is not enough support in the GOP caucus to support the bill.
Hughes has paid from his PAC to send thousands of mailers to the voters of House Majority Leader Jim Dunnigan, R-Taylorsville, defending his colleague and friend.
“If I have the money (in his political accounts), I will do this for any of my (GOP) members,” a grim-faced Hughes told UtahPolicy just before he gaveled the House into order this morning.
“As best as I can, I won’t allow any (GOP House member) to be bullied” over Healthy Utah or any other issue, Hughes added.
Dunnigan said he didn’t ask Hughes to put out such a defending mailer. “He offered.”
Dunnigan said the ABU piece about him said he was trying to hurt Utah families, which is not true.
The mailer “was basically an attack campaign piece,” said Dunnigan. “I’m glad to have a discussion anytime on the facts. But this (mailer) was full of mistruths and lies.” He didn’t know how many anti-Dunnigan mailers were sent out, but they were in the thousands, he estimated.
Hughes, R-Draper, likewise, said he doesn’t recall how many mailers he sent out on Dunnigan’s behalf, but hopes it was enough to counter what he termed attacks on his majority leader.
Such an “untruthful” attack ad is one reason, Hughes said, why he doesn’t want Healthy Utah or any other emotional issue, which does not have the votes to pass, out for debate — for that is when such pressure can be brought, and some legislators may not be able to “vote their conscience.” “And not voting your conscience can result in a law passing for “for all the wrong reasons — as we are seeing now” in the Alliance For A Better Utah mailing piece on Dunnigan.
An outside group, the Florida-based Foundation for Government Accountability is continuing their mail campaign against Healthy Utah in Dunnigan's district, too. Their most recent mailer also urges residents to support Dunnigan.