As news broke this week that Lieutenant Governor Greg Bell is under investigation by the FBI for allegedly using the power of his office to influence a Child Protective Services (CPS) investigation, we found ourselves once again asking, “Why weren’t voters told about this before the election?”
Utahns are still reeling from the news that newly-elected Attorney General John Swallow is under a criminal investigation by the FBI for allegedly facilitating a bribe of a US Senator, and offering protection from investigations from the AG’s office for donors if they gave money to his and former Attorney General Mark Shurtleff’s election campaigns.
Recently, news broke that Shurtleff knew about the allegations against Swallow prior to the November 2012 election, and thought they were serious enough that he spoke with he approached and met with the FBI on several occasions to discuss them. Other elected officials, such as Republican speaker of the House Becky Lockhart, were quick to condemn Shurtleff, saying that the information should have been shared with the public pre-election, because it might have swayed their votes.
But unlike Swallow and Shurtleff, who have received no support or defense from anybody within their parties (at a recent Republican event, no one would even sit with Swallow and his wife at their table until the GOP Party specifically asked them to), Mr. Bell has received numerous outpourings of support, mainly from State Legislators with whom Bell formerly served as a State Senator.
Our question is this: Governor Herbert knew that his running mate was the subject of a criminal investigation, so why was the public kept in the dark during the election?
The FBI is infamously tight-lipped, and rarely divulges the nature, subjects, or even the existence of an investigation. But our elected officials hold a sacred obligation to the general welfare of the citizenry, and that includes fair elections. Even if it might have cost him the election, both Governor Gary Herbert and Lieutenant Governor Greg Bell had a duty to tell the public about the criminal investigation, and then exercise their right to tell their side of the story.
Representative Democracy cannot work unless the public can trust those we elect to represent us to be honest with us.