New Lawsuit Filed by Trump’s DOJ Highlights Abuse & Misuse Rampant Among Top Public Safety Officials in Utah
In a new lawsuit filed this month, the U.S. Attorney for Utah, John W. Huber, who was appointed by President Trump to serve an additional four years in 2017, alleges “that Utah officials defrauded the federal government out of more than $17 million using four grant programs.”
“Replacing state budgeted money with federal funds, called supplanting, is prohibited in the grant program and is one of the ‘central restrictions,’ federal attorneys wrote in the court filing.”
Rather than use federal grant money to hire new employees struggling during the Great Recession, these state officials kept the money in their budgets to pay their own salaries.
Although the fraud happened before current Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes was elected, he couldn’t help but weigh in on the issue with a statement that shows he favors friends and political allies over the law. Reyes called the defendants accused of fraud “upstanding public servants” and said that he plans to “vigorously defend” these officials. He further said that “the notion that these individuals and their agencies were involved in some massive predatory and prolonged conspiracy to defraud the federal government is not only far-fetched, but simply wrong.”
It’s no surprise to see Utah AG Sean Reyes blindly stepping up to defend people he feels might be helpful to him in his re-election bid like former statewide officials. Protecting friends, even if they are accused of misdeeds like using Federal grants to benefit themselves rather than expand jobs in the state, is par for the course for Reyes. As a reminder, it’s already widely known he’s cozy with a secret surveillance company, Banjo, which has concerning data privacy practices, lacks transparency, and puts Utahns’ right to privacy at risk.
The State Attorney General should be a watchdog on both the State and Federal Government, and what is becoming more obvious with each day is that Sean Reyes is focused more on putting his interests and his political cronies above the people of Utah.
Based on how many challengers he has attracted in the GOP AG primary; it appears that even his own party isn’t sure they want Reyes sticking around for another term.