Utah attorney general candidate under police investigation for alleged election bribe

"If you could endorse me before the convention I would definitely include you in my office."

A Utah attorney general candidate has come under a police investigation for allegedly bribing a fellow candidate to drop out the race in exchange for an endorsement and a potential position in the AG office.

GOP candidates Frank Mylar, Rachel Terry, and Derek Brown are competing for the GOP attorney general primary coming up in June. However, during April, Mylar sent a text to then-AG candidate Trent Christensen asking him for an endorsement prior to the Utah GOP convention in exchange for a job in Mylar's office if he was elected.

Christensen did not make it past the convention system in April, however, he reported the alleged bribe to the police as well as Lt. Governor Deidre Henderson's office. According to the Deseret News, the Murray police have undertaken an investigation into the allegations against Mylar. 

The text from Mylar, sent to Christensen on April 19 at 8:03 am local time, read, “Hey Trent. In my last day of trial and by God’s grace my campaign has picked up more steam. I won Weber and was there only 10 minutes. Overwhelmingly won Davis. If you could endorse me before the convention I would definitely include you in my office. Think about it for a few days. Thx. Good luck today.”

The Post Millennial spoke to Christensen about the text and he stated that after it was sent he shared it with his office, wondering what to do about the situation. He told TPM he did not want to accept the offer and chose not to respond, alleging that it was an example of a quid-pro-quo bribe, citing Utah code, 20A-1-601.

Several hours later that day at 2:21 pm, Mylar sent another text to say he didn’t mean to send it and that he was in error. “Please disregard that text. I'm internal. Didn't mean to send it. Sorry to bother you. It is not an offer etc. hope you are feeling better. I'm in trial. Didn't mean to send. It's a mistake.” 

Christensen then texted back asking Mylar to call him later that day. According to the Deseret News, Mylar recounted the call, saying, “I called him, reiterated that it was a mistake, should not have been sent and I was in trial at the time.”

“He said it was all good and he understood, and he had no problem with me and would not say anything about it to anyone,” Mylar added. He claimed to have thought Christensen dropped out of the race. 

Christensen said that they did not speak about the text, according to Deseret News. The investigation comes as there have been reported allegations of corruption within the Utah governor’s office in the AG race as well as questions regarding Lt. Governor Henderson serving as chair of the finance committee for Derek Brown in the race. Henderson's office oversees elections in the state. 

When contacted about the investiation, a spokesman from Henderson's office told the Deseret News, "We are aware of the complaint and the report that was filed with Murray City police. We do not conduct or comment on criminal investigations.”

According to a KSL report, a similar situation in the election of a Utah state treasurer in 2009 where candidate Mark Walker pleaded guilty to a bribery investigation after he asked then-Deputy Treasurer Richard Ellis to drop out of the race in an exchange for a $56,000 pay raise. If the investigation leads to Mylar dropping out, the only GOP candidates left for the AG position are Derek Brown and Rachel Terry.
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