BY MELINDA WILLIAMS
Clipper Staff Writer
FARMINGTON — Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings has cleared Utah Lt. Gov. Greg Bell of any criminal charges relating to an audit Bell commissioned of the state Division of Child and Family Services.
“We have determined, based on fact and the law, that criminal charges are not warranted and prosecution would not result in conviction,” Rawlings said in a letter released Thursday to John Pearce, general counsel to Gov. Gary Herbert.
Rawlings served as special prosecutor in the case.
Bell asked for the audit after he was contacted by someone he knew from church who complained about the treatment the man’s daughter allegedly received during a Division of Child and Family Services investigation.
Others, however, complained that Bell abused government power and taxpayer money when he asked for the review of the case.
Davis County and the FBI opened an investigation of misconduct by Bell and other state personnel in 2011, Rawling’s letter said.
“After reviewing roughly 40 interviews, thousands of pages of documents, and applicable Utah law, the Davis County Attorney’s Office finds no crimes were committed,” Rawlings wrote.
“There is no evidence that the lieutenant governor benefitted personally from the audit, Rawlings said. “There is no evidence that he received or solicited campaign contributions in exchange for intervention or influence.”
Rawlings went on to note that no grant money or other non-allowable federal sources funded the audit, nor did the family who asked for the investigation benefit.
“The audit was broader in scope than just one case,” reviewing underlying policies and procedures, Rawlings said.
At the time the investigation into Bell’s conduct opened, Bell said he had turned the information he received from the family over to the division and was told the case was being handled correctly.
However, as time passed, “I could not reconcile the widely divergent accounts from DCFS and the family,” Bell said, leading to him asking for the audit.
“While it is true that some are annoyed and frustrated by the performance audit ... others applaud the audit and feel Child Protective Services needs outside periodic performance reviews,” Rawlings wrote.
Bell released a statement on Thursday, saying, “our duty as elected officers is to ensure constituents are well-served by administrative process. My actions were to simply ensure the integrity of the process and the DCFS complied with the law.”
Before his appointment as lieutenant governor, Bell was mayor of Farmington.