More than a month ago, allegations of embezzling more than $30,000 were levied against Representative Justin Miller (Democrat – Salt Lake City) by Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams (Democrat). Yesterday, representatives from the Utah Democratic Party and Utah House Democrats made formal calls for the embattled freshman to step down, just 2 days after the party’s nominating convention, where Miller was noticeably absent.
“I have asked Representative Miller to resign his seat as a Representative in the Utah State House.” Democratic Minority Leader Brian King (Salt Lake City) said in a prepared statement, “the information that has been made available in the media undermines the confidence our constituents should have in their legislature. The ongoing investigations significantly impair the ability of Representative Miller to effectively represent the constituents of House District 40.”
King is referring to the damning audio recording released to the media last month, where Miller is heard admitting to writing four checks to himself from the Ben McAdams for Mayor campaign in 2014 that totaled over $10,000. In addition, Miller was unable to answer on the tape as to why there was a double payment to a catering company of $24,000; the first was written by Miller to Miller, the second by the campaign to the caterer.
For the first time, the Utah Democratic Party also made the call for Miller to resign if he is unable to provide evidence that the charges are unfounded.
“We urge [Miller], if he has information to exonerate himself, to release the information to the public as soon as possible. His constituents and the people of Utah deserve to know the reality of this situation. If he doesn’t have this information, we believe he should deal with these allegations as a private citizen,” Utah Democratic Party Chairman, Peter Corroon, provided in a written statement.
Miller, for his part, appeared to be taken aback by the statement.
“It is unfortunate that despite an ongoing investigation, the House Democrats have rushed to judgment (sic) and called for my resignation,” Miller wrote in an email to Fox 13’s Ben Winslow, “I take their position on this matter very seriously and will be taking the next couple of days to discuss with family the next actions to take.”
This stance appears to be a softening from Miller, who, last week, stated that he had no intention to resign the post.
On Wednesday, Miller is scheduled to appear with his fellow lawmakers for the monthly interim session. Miller did not attend the first session last month, and it is unknown if Miller will be present at either the Public Utilities or Natural Resources’ meetings.