Did Utah Officials Lie to Obtain Grants? Feds Are Investigating.

July 25, 2019 AT 7:49 AM

By Lee Davidson

The Department of Justice says the Utah attorney general’s office is stonewalling its subpoenas as it repeatedly promises but fails to turn over documents as part of an investigation into whether state officials lied to obtain federal grants.

Attorney General Sean Reyes’ office disputes that but adds it can’t say much because of a secrecy order in the case.

The fight is over whether state officials falsely asserted that budget cuts during the Great Recession eliminated many state jobs and fraudulently sought Obama-era grants from 2009 to 2013 to restore them. The grants were awarded to the attorney general’s office, state courts administration, Utah Juvenile Justice Services and the Utah Department of Public Safety.

A new federal court filing in Salt Lake City by the Justice Department says Utah “has failed to produce a single document in response to the subpoena” from its inspector general — so it asks the court to compel compliance.

“The United States has formally requested that respondent [Utah] fully comply with the subpoena, but it has refused to do so without any stated reason,” it said, adding that it asked Reyes’ office for documents numerous times since April without success.

“Many of the United States’ requests were met with promises to produce documents," it said, “but no documents have ever been produced.”

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