The scandal whirling around Rep. Justin Miller and Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams threatens to do the most damage to Miller's political reputation according to our "Political Insider" panel.
As reported by Salt Lake City Weekly, McAdams alleges Miller stole $30,000 from his campaign account while serving as his campaign manager. McAdams fired Miller from his Salt Lake County job in October of 2014.
Miller has accused McAdams of financial improprieties in the awarding of county contracts. Miller's charges were investigated by Davis County prosecutors and found to be without merit.
Nearly 70% of Republicans and 63% of Democrats think the scandal is more damaging to Miller than McAdams.
Even though he has not yet been charged with a crime, some are calling for Miller to resign from the Utah Legislature because of the charges of financial impropriety. A slight majority of Republicans and Democrats on our panel agree that Miller should step down, while a majority of our readers think he should go.
Selected anonymous comments:
"McAdams has been criticized for not informing the public of this issue sooner, particularly prior to the election. However, it does not seem to be a fair criticism. It would seem that McAdams was concerned that $30,000, as was put in the survey, issue was not the only issue and likely vetted out everything else. In other words, based upon McAdams own representations on how messy the books were, it seems that there was a lot due diligence to make sure this was the only issue with Miller. Besides, what does McAdams have to gain to wait until after Miller is an elected legislator."
"Innocent until proven guilty, but nevertheless I believe McAdams not Miller, so Miller is harmed."
"If it were two Republicans involved in this scandal, Alliance For a Better Utah would be calling for their heads to roll. Alliance For a Better Utah's hypocrisy on this issue is outrageous."
"He's not been charged, let alone convicted, of a crime yet. Maybe I'm the last one around who still believes a person is innocent until proven guilty."
"Miller is a disgruntled former employee who was fired for cause and is slinging as much mud as possible to distract from his crimes of embezzlement."
"Utah's press continues to ignore this story. I never again want to hear anyone repeat the lie that Utah's media leans right. Nothing could be further from the truth."
"Let the justice system work its way through this. If charges are filed, Miller should step down."
"Super-majority Republicans are foaming at the mouth over this little scandal."
"The audio recording is pretty clear that Miller didn't deny he took the money in a way that was against a written policy and didn't communicate what he had done until he was confronted with it months later."
"Miller has not only damaged his own credibility, but any lasting 'good-government' credentials that the Utah Democrats had after the Swallow/Shurtleff scandal. Additionally, if any of the allegations prove to be true, he's endangering a normally safe Democratic seat. So he should resign."
"As a conservative republican I actually believe everything McAdams is saying and Miller's story clearly doesn't add up. But I'm equally upset they kept this fraud a secret and let Millcreek voters decide without the facts."
"I'm not sure how an entire state can say John Swallow should resign, but that Rep. Miller should get a pass. Have we all turned into the 'Ken Ivory Wait For Charges Express' because the letter at the end of Miller's title is a D and not an R?"
"It is remarkable how little benefit of the doubt has been given to Ben McAdams on this. This is not a he-said, he-said kind of situation. Ben is a known, trusted and credible pillar of our community. Justin has a track record of reckless shortcuts and abusing other peoples' trust. Justin clearly had an axe to grind and is posturing as a whistleblower in order to distract from his behavior. Justin has no reputation and nothing left to lose so no skin off his nose to sling mud at the Mayor. Someone remarked the other day that where there's smoke there's fire. That overly simplistic sentiment is simply not always the case. This is clearly a situation where Mayor Ben did the right thing from start to finish and is getting dragged through the mud by a disgruntled former employee."
" You mean neglecting to tell anyone about $30,000 in theft prior to the election might be considered electioneering? NO WAY!"
"Why is this now just coming out? Looks like McAdams had something to hide."
"Allegations are easy to make. Even being charged with a crime is not necessarily grounds for resignation. In this case, we should wait and see what comes of the situation before jumping to any conclusions."
"It hurts the whole Democrat Party but it has not made the news coverage top ten. They knew about this but said nothing."