In Brief: Utah GOP Head Joins League Lobby Team

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SALT LAKE CITY - The Utah League of Credit Unions has added considerable muscle to its lobbying team by appointing Scott Simpson, who heads the Republican Party in Utah, as its new chief lobbyist.

The hiring of Mr. Simpson, who was a liaison to the powerful five-term Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, comes as the credit union league is gearing up for a major lobbying effort with a new legislative task force studying the possibility of taxing the largest state-chartered credit unions. Heading the task force are the two chief advocates of taxing credit unions in the Utah Legislature, Rep. Jeff Alexander and Sen. Dan Eastman, both Republicans.

Mr. Simpson served two terms as executive director of the state Republican Party. Scott Earl, the credit union league's president, said he hopes Mr. Simpson will give its members more clout with elected Republicans, many of whom he helped into office. Republicans control both houses of Utah's Legislature.

"What we hope is that he can help us translate the public support for credit unions into political support," Mr. Earl said.

A bill to apply the state's corporate franchise tax to large credit unions operating in multiple counties was defeated in the Utah Legislature last month. But debate on the bill, which had the support of banks, led to the creation of a task force to study the issue.

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