Last week, Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams released a seven month old recording of Representative Justin Miller effectively admitting to stealing over $30,000.
Justin Miller should not resign as a member of the Utah House of Representatives. Yet.
Let me explain.
I realize that this is obvious as it relates to McAdams (who is more the victim in this case, albeit a victim that has waited the better part of a year to tell anyone), but it’s a little less obvious for Miller. After all, Miller is either a dreadful accountant, or he took the money. Either way, he struck a blow to the trust of his boss (McAdams fired him, both from his Deputy Mayor position and as campaign manager) and the trust of the public.
This second group–me, you, his constituents–is the one that really matters. As a constituent of Miller’s with a blog and a phone list, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that it’s hard to trust a guy that is confronted with his own dishonesty and demands an apology.
In no case should Miller resign. Not by a long shot, and here’s why: the minute Miller resigns, all investigations into Miller and any associated impropriety ends.
Take, for example, when Democratic consultant Donald Dunn, the third person in the recording, asks what is up with West PAC, almost begging any listener to figure out what’s going on with still young political action committee.
“There are plenty of things in West PAC that I have looked at, that I have wondered ‘what is this expense? Where are these receipts?” Dunn said adding that “West PAC is a separate political entity, and we are not going through that – I don’t know if we want to go through that.”
(Check out Haring’s blog post examining some of the connections)
But the minute Justin Miller steps down, though, the investigations into West PAC and anyone else who might be associated with it, will go away. The public will lose any opportunity for a full cleansing of the public house of the rats that tend to sneak in to infest the dark corners and lurk in the cracks.
Think about all the investigations that happened after John Swallow determined he wouldn’t resign from office in January 2013. Despite the numerous calls from members of both major political parties, Swallow soldiered on…and was investigated by the Utah House, the Lieutenant Governor’s office, and the Salt Lake and Davis Counties DAs. Not only did the investigations send him packing, they also exposed possibly illegal behavior of Swallow’s predecessor, Mark Shurtleff.
So, by all means, Justin, do not resign. There’s still too much that we need to find out about you, about West PAC, and anyone else involved.