A number of people have questioned why the Alliance for a Better UTAH has been quiet about the McAdams/Miller situation. It seems appropriate to answer that question. One answer is fairly simple – we haven’t been. We have been asked by the media for our comments on this situation and we have responded. (See, for example: http://fox13now.com/2015/05/22/allianceforabetterutahweighsinonmcadamsmilleraccusations/).
This seems to have been overlooked or to have gone unnoticed by our detractors. The second answer, however, is that, when contrasted with the Swallow matter or other ethical or good government questions, the McAdams/Miller situation is being well and fully vetted in the public sphere and by the appropriate authorities. Quite frankly, there is little role for the Alliance for a Better UTAH as long as the situation appears as though it is being properly handled. Keep in mind, when the Alliance for a Better UTAH filed its Bar Complaint and Election Law Complaint against Swallow, there were rumors of his wrongdoing but there were no official investigations underway it was all, “move along, nothing to see here” rhetoric.
It is important to note that the Alliance for a Better UTAH learned of the crossallegations between McAdams and Miller at the same time as the general public – when first reported in the news media. We immediately engaged in a lengthy discussion between our staff and board – a bipartisan board that includes former Republican legislators and “wildly left liberals” – about our role in the matter. It was unanimously agreed that there was no role for us, other than to comment if asked, for these same reasons.
None of that, however, diminishes our belief in, or our calls for, full transparency and ethical behavior in government. As former State Senator Dan Liljenquist notes, “ethics is not a partisan issue.” We agree. So why might it seem that the Alliance for a Better UTAH, or anyone else for that matter, is more vocal about Republican scandals in Utah than Democratic scandals? Well, as we have stated before, with about 80% of the elected officials in the State, it is reasonable to expect that Republicans will be the proud owners of about 80% of the ethics scandals. The McAdams/Miller situation seems to be the first real Democratic “scandal” in recent memory.
It is our understanding that Miller has accused the McAdams campaign of some possible wrongdoing, that those accusations have been turned over to the District Attorney’s office and have been investigated, resulting in a finding that there was no wrongdoing. On the other side of the coin, McAdams has accused Miller of embezzlement and that this accusation has also been turned over to the District Attorney’s office and is still under investigation. Thus, Mr. Miller is entitled to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. (The same could be said for Mr. Swallow but his breach of trust was with the general public who he was sworn to represent, whereas Mr. Miller is not accused of stealing from the public or his constituents but from his direct employer – in this instance, the McAdams campaign, not Salt Lake County.)
Finally, it has been revealed that Miller has a previously undisclosed conviction for shoplifting. Interestingly, this may be the most interesting thing to come of this entire affair as a questionabout whether Miller had an obligation to disclose that to his voters before his election. Now, however, that the news is public, it seems that any call for his resignation should come from his constituents or should wait for the outcome of the investigation over his alleged theft. It is worth noting that the voters in Utah have elected people with known criminal records before. As they say, buyer beware.
We would add one final note – a shout out to District Attorneys Sim Gill and Troy Rawlings. When Gill thought his office might be deemed to have a conflict in this matter, he again teamed up with Davis County DA Rawlings. These two worked together in the Shurtleff/Swallow matter and seem to be a “dynamic duo” guarding over our State in a truly bipartisan manner. The only question that remains about these two is which is Batman and which is Robin.