Posts Tagged DigitalBridge

AG Shurtleff, another ethically-challenged Utah official?

From January 2008 regarding perks Utah’s top cop received from Ameriquest and payday lenders (more about those debacles at the end of this post):

“In order for me to buy into this, the whole nature of your investigation, I have to accept your proposition that campaign contributions buy things for people. And until you can show me the case where that’s happened with me, we’re done talking.”

A few years ago Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff admitted to using his official stationery and the state seal for political purposes. “My bad,” he said at the time, and promised to be more careful in the future.

Oops, he did it again. Adding to the spate of questionable activities among Utah officials this year, Shurtleff used his official stationery and the state seal for a letter to attorneys general all across the U.S. praising Orem-based DigitalBridge’s digital technology for crime data sharing. The letter was coincidentally timed within days of receiving a $10,000 campaign contribution from DigitalBridge.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports:

“It’s not an endorsement , not an advertisement. It’s far from that,” Shurtleff said Thursday. “So it does not violate the code.”

“When a company comes up with technology that will save lives or help solve an identity theft problem, I let my fellow attorney generals know about it,” said Shurtleff.

The letter to attorneys general around the country was dated Sept. 29, within days of his receipt of a $10,000 campaign contribution from the company. Shurtleff and DigitalBridge say the timing was a simple coincidence and that the attorney general had offered to write the letter nearly a year ago. [emphasis mine]

Not an endorsement? You be the judge. Here are a couple of excerpts from the letter (which was still up on the web site as of this posting).

In light of the enormity of the information sharing problem and the lack of genuine solutions, I would encourage your attention to the technology presented at CWAG by Digital Bridge. In fundamental ways, Digital Bridge has conceived an approach to protected information sharing that, in my experience, is truly extraordinary. [snip]

Digital Bridge has developed a truly groundbreaking technology called Digital Packet Technology which enables sharing of processes, policies and information across organizational boundaries while maintaining context, security, privacy and control of the information as it is shared. For the first time, you can maintain control of your information as you share it with others in the justice and homeland security ecosystems.

Rather than try to describe the technology in any detail here, I would recommend that you see for yourselves its capabilities. . .[all emphasis mine]

When I was in marketing, we called this a testimonial letter—a highly desirable endorsement by one of your customers’ peers. And we particularly liked letters that actually included a sales pitch and a call to action.

Not quite a year ago I blogged on RedStateBlues about other, shall we say, lapses of judgment on the part of Utah’s top cop as reported on

in 2005 Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff accepted Rolling Stones concert tickets from Ameriquest — a company that was being sued by states all over the country “accused of deceiving customers, inadequate loan disclosures, and inflated appraisals.” But Shurtleff said it was okay since he and his daughter left the concert after the third song because his daughter didn’t “like” it. He joined the litigation against Ameriquest a month later.

Shurtleff also took a trip to the Bahamas, wherein “a national association representing payday lending companies paid for his plane ticket. Shurtleff accepted an invitation to give a speech at the group’s conference at a luxury resort in the Bahamas.” Shurtleff justified the trip by saying that he ended up taking his whole family on the trip and it cost him a lot of money.

At the time state records showed that Utahns had filed 120 complaints against payday lenders in the previous three years, but that Shurtleff said, ‘There have never been any criminal complaints or allegations filed against a group like that — and why not let them pay my trip?'”

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