Photo: Rick Bowmer, AP
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 16, 2016
Contact: Daniel Stevens, email@example.com, 202.780.5750
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Campaign for Accountability (CfA) asked Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes to investigate State Rep. Ken Ivory (R-West Jordan) for obstructing justice by lying to state investigators and for misusing official resources to promote a nonprofit he started, the American Lands Council (ALC).
CfA Executive Director Anne Weismann stated, “Not only has Rep. Ivory manipulated county governments throughout the West into paying him to promote his cockamamie scheme to force the transfer of federal lands to the states, but when questioned by state investigators, he lied about the use of official resources.”
Last June, CfA called on Attorneys General in Utah, Arizona, and Montana to investigate Rep. Ivory for fraud. CfA’s complaints alleged Rep. Ivory, as the then-president of ALC, had defrauded local governments by soliciting funds to advocate for a patently unconstitutional proposition: the transfer of federal states to state control. The Utah Attorney General’s office investigated, interviewing Rep. Ivory and members of ALC’s board of directors, but ultimately concluded it did not have a strong enough case to obtain a conviction. CfA then filed an open records request to obtain the office’s investigative files.
The released documents show Rep. Ivory unequivocally told investigators he did not use “the state email system with his activities with ALC.” In fact, however, Rep. Ivory’s own emails reveal he repeatedly used his legislative email and other state government resources to promote the interests of ALC. Furthermore, by using government resources to conduct ALC business, Rep. Ivory conveyed the impression he was performing official state work.
On June 5, 2012, for example, Rep. Ivory emailed the Oregon state director for Americans for Prosperity from his legislative email account asking:
If you can cover my travel expenses and perhaps consider some support to ALC and help set up meetings with key opinion leaders, county commissioners, like minded public officials, farm bureaus, etc. that would be great.
On November 1, 2013, Rep. Ivory used his official email account to try to recruit a Wyoming County to join ALC:
Please don’t ever hesitate to let me know how we can help you with additional materials or information and what you might need to help Natrona County join the many others throughout the West in seizing this critical opportunity to go on offense to secure and defend local control of land access, use, and ownership.
Yet another email indicates Rep. Ivory planned to use meeting space in the Utah State Capitol to host an ALC meeting.
By falsely telling investigators he had not used his official email account to promote and conduct ALC business, Rep. Ivory appears to have hindered the investigation into his improper use of state resources in violation of Utah state law. In addition, by misusing official government resources, Rep. Ivory appears to have used state resources for unauthorized purposes in violation of Utah’s wrongful appropriations statute.
Weismann stated, “Not only did Rep. Ivory break laws by misusing official government resources, he then lied about it to state investigators. Rep. Ivory must be held accountable for violating the public trust.”
Read the full complaint below.
CfA is nonprofit watchdog organization that uses research, litigation, and aggressive communications to expose misconduct and malfeasance in public life and hold those who act at the expense of the public good accountable for their actions.