The Leavitts have a bit of a shady reputation in Utah, amongst Republicans and Democrats alike.  The family has been linked to the introduction of whirling disease, which is threatening southern utah fisheries, then Gov. Leavitt was quite possibly a key participating member of the infamous Utah Olympic Scandal, not to mention a few other thiings that were fairly detrimental to the state of Utah.  Now Gov. Leavitt is now Sec. Leavitt and he along with his family made it to the front page of the Washington Post due to a family foundation that may or may not be ethical

 

While Mike Leavitt alone has claimed about $1.2 million in tax write-offs since 2000, the foundation gave away only $49,000 in 2002 and $52,000 the next year, according to tax returns and other documents filed by the foundation. Meanwhile, the foundation’s assets have been used for a $332,000 loan to Leavitt Land and Investment Inc., in which the secretary owns a significant stake, and other secured loans for insurance and real estate deals, said Alan A. Jones, a trustee of the organization.

Leavitt Land and Investment, in turn, extended an interest-free loan to Leavitt in 2002 valued at more than $250,001, according to a recent financial disclosure.

“The foundation’s activities are totally legal and proper,” Christina Pearson, an HHS spokeswoman, said this week on the secretary’s behalf.

But Rick Cohen, executive director of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, said that “the Leavitts are using the foundation as a personal piggy bank, and that’s not what the public — or Congress — ought to tolerate.” Cohen reviewed the family foundation’s records and tax returns at the request of The Washington Post.

So, while the foundation’s loaning of money to the family for business interests may be under the law..is it ethical?

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