Utah is no stranger to elected officials forced to resign under a cloud of controversy. There is, however, a pretty stark difference in how they do it.
Most recently, we saw John Swallow forced to finally resign as Attorney General as the evidence piled up that he ran a pay-to-play operation inherited from mentor and former Attorney General Mark Shurtleff. It took ten full months of near-daily bombshells in the news for him to make this decision. During that time employee morale sank and his office accomplished little. The scandal meant he couldn’t do his job, but that seemed to matter less than having the paychecks keep on coming. Ironically, he cited “financial strains” as the reason for stepping down.
Just a few years before that, Nancy Workman was also forced into resignation. In the midst of a re-election campaign, she was accused of improperly hiring an employee with public money. She dropped out of the campaign and resigned in just four months. Only a few months after that, she was found not guilty at trial. As a stark contrast to Swallow, her primary concerns for resigning were the impact to others, not herself. Workman made it clear that by staying in the race, she was impairing the county mayor’s office and the ability for the Republican Party to run an effective candidate.
This brings us to Representative Justin Miller and his current predicament. He seems to have been caught dead-to-rights embezzling upwards of $34,000 from the campaign of Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams. I’m not even sure he’s even disputing anything at this point because how could you when you more-or-less admitted it on tape? The question as to if he can effectively fulfill his duties as an elected official is barely even worth asking because it seems fairly obvious he cannot. The only question now is if he will fall on his sword like Nancy Workman (albeit with apparently a LOT higher likelihood of having done the thing) or drag things out in endless drama like John Swallow. For the good of our state, let’s hope he opts for the former.