It looks like the honeymoon between Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes and San Juan County leaders — once united in their shared vitriol toward the federal government under a Democratic president — is over.
The attorney general’s office stated in a recent news release it was dropping its appeal of an earlier court ruling dismissing charges against San Juan County Sheriff Rick Eldredge.
You would think that would make those rural officials happy. But in its own news release, San Juan County issued a blistering rebuke of the attorney general’s office in a tone previously reserved for the Bureau of Land Management.
Citing the state officials’ stated reason for dropping the appeal as “limited resources,” the county said, “We would hope that they would also recognize their limited facts and evidence.” It described the attorney general’s probe as a “witch hunt” and accused the office of having “political motivations.”
Hey, how about a little gratitude for the attorney general’s past attempts to cover up allegations of wrongdoing by San Juan County officials and Reyes’ support for shrinking Bears Ears National Monument?
Reyes’ office fought mightily to keep allegations under wraps that County Commissioner Phil Lyman misused his office to get lower property tax assessments for clients.
And Reyes didn’t oppose some rural legislators’ attempts to tap taxpayer money for a legal defense fund for Lyman after he was convicted in federal court for organizing a protest ride in a protected area of Recapture Canyon that was closed to motorized vehicles.
The case against Eldredge stemmed from a deputy’s allegations that the sheriff playfully fired an unloaded gun at him on a firing range. Seventh District Judge George Harmond dismissed the case last November, citing a lack of evidence.
The attorney general’s office at first appealed, but in its motion to withdraw the appeal, it noted the office has “a long history of mutual respect and cooperation” with San Juan County and “we look forward to our continuing partnership.”
Good luck with that.
Speaking of breakups
The Black Republican Assembly is officially severing ties with the Utah GOP, citing the party’s continuing attempts boot the group from its ranks, according to the assembly’s chairman, Daryl Acumen.
“We are still Republicans,” Acumen said. “And we’re still committed to Republican principles and to electing Republican candidates.”
But he said his group no longer can work with the state party’s Central Committee, which he alleges has long shown animus toward the assembly.
The last straw came Saturday, when the committee passed a resolution to disband all of the party’s assemblies, made up of special interest groups for women, Latinos, teens, college students and so on.
The motion called for all the groups to reapply for assembly status as long at they complied with certain conditions imposed in the resolution.
Acumen called it a backdoor attempt to expel the Black Assembly because it would be hard for that group to meet some of the conditions, including the frequency of meetings and attendance.
Acumen and other GOP observers say the acrimony toward the Black Assembly is not racial. Instead, it is based on the hatred some Central Committee members have for Acumen.
He has been a vocal critic of the party’s lawsuit against SB54, the Legislature’s compromise bill with the Count My Vote movement to allow for multiple paths to the primary ballot.
Meanwhile, Acumen has threatened to take the Davis County Republican Party to small claims court for $900 he says he is owed for the time he spent developing a website and acting as the internet server for the party.
Davis County GOP officials told him in an email that the site has been the party’s property all along and that they owe him nothing.
So much for the Grand Old Party’s big tent.