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SL Co. GOP Chair Scott Miller quits over harassment, bullying accusations leveled at party

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Posted at 9:13 AM, Mar 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-28 21:50:54-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake County Republican Party Chair Scott Miller resigned early Sunday following reports of harassment and bullying involving top leadership.

Utah Republican Party Chair Derek Brown confirmed to FOX 13 on Sunday morning that Miller had resigned.

Read the full email here:

Miller faced condemnation from Republicans across the state from Utah’s governor down to local-level political leaders after he sent a lengthy email on Friday to party delegates detailing a pending Salt Lake Tribune report that would allege a number of Republican women candidates and elected officials had reported harassment and bullying behavior involving the county party leadership and a volunteer.

In that email, Miller called the accusations "salacious and false," and named each of the women accusers with criticism of his interactions with them. He also criticized the women for talking to the Tribune.

The Tribune report itself, which was rushed to publish on Saturday, detailed accusations against the county party’s “unofficial” communications director, David Robinson, accusing him of sexism and sexual harassment. (FOX 13 is in a news sharing agreement with The Salt Lake Tribune.)

“This shouldn’t be the behavior that someone should be subjected to if they want to run for office,” Erin Preston, who reported some of the behavior, said in an interview Saturday with FOX 13. “We already have thick enough skins. Allow us some dignity in running for office.”

Preston said Robinson had made vulgar and degrading comments about her body and her gender, as well as to other women. Salt Lake County Council member Aimee Winder Newton accused Miller of allowing Robinson to “run amok” and enabled his “bad behavior.”

Efforts by FOX 13 to reach Robinson for comment have so far not been successful.

The accusations generated fierce condemnation from Utah's Capitol Hill. Governor Spencer Cox and Lt. Governor Deidre Henderson issued a joint statement condemning Miller's initial email and the behavior within the party's ranks.

"We are deeply offended by the recent reprehensible communications to Salt Lake County delegates. Let us be clear: This type of behavior should never happen and when it does we will not tolerate it, ignore it, or explain it away. It is unacceptable. The Republican Party needs women in our policymaking and discussions. Sincere apologies are owed to the women who have been victimized and we admire their courage and strength in coming forward. That is not an easy thing to do," the joint statement said.

Republican lawmakers across the state issued statements condemning the treatment that was alleged by the women. Utah GOP Chair Derek Brown called Miller's efforts "an attempt to shield both he and Robinson from forthcoming allegations of bullying, intimidation, and harassment that they knew would soon be made public in an article that was released [Saturday]."

"Ironically, his statement proceeded to bully, intimidate, and harass individual women, by name, not only substantiating their allegations, but perhaps providing a public example of what they may have experienced privately," Brown wrote.

By Saturday, Miller had sent FOX 13 another email saying "I applaud these women for coming forward and I have encouraged any accusers to come forward. I take these allegations seriously. I want to be very clear, I do not and will not tolerate sexual harassment, sexual assault, etc."

He insisted that he had taken action, including releasing all county party volunteers from their jobs and asking for an investigation and "due process." He also proposed a draft policy on sexual harassment.

By Sunday morning, Miller had quit.

Miller is still listed as a candidate to take over the state Republican party, Brown confirmed to FOX 13.