SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — Twenty-six Utah state lawmakers are requesting an audit of the Utah Attorney General’s Office, asking for, in part, a look into the relationship between Attorney General Sean Reyes and former Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.) founder Tim Ballard.
The audit request was approved by the Legislative Audit Subcommittee on Tuesday.
The request, which was issued by the lawmakers on Monday, Nov. 14, began by saying they had concerns about the AG’s Office before any of the Tim Ballard allegations came to light. They are requesting several evaluations, one of which would focus on the extent to which Attorney General Sean Reyes’ relationship with Ballard affected state resources and the prosecution process.
Last month, Ballard — former CEO and founder of the anti-sex-trafficking nonprofit O.U.R. — was named in a lawsuit by the attorneys of five women who allege he manipulated and sexually assaulted them while under the guise of fighting human trafficking. A second lawsuit was filed days later representing a married couple with similar complaints.
An amended complaint was filed by attorney Suzette Rasmussen and her colleagues, claiming Reyes worked with O.U.R. to preempt fraud accusations against Ballard and intimidate those who filed them.
A lawsuit only represents one side of a story.
Lawmakers are also asking auditors to evaluate the administrative decision-making process, travel policies, office culture and efficiency as part of the requested legislative audit.
The Utah Attorney General’s Office issued the following statement in response to the approval of the legislative audit request:
“We welcome working with legislative auditors to get them the information they seek. We are confident they will see what we already know: the Office of the Utah Attorney General’s Office does great work. We are proud of our personnel, leadership, and the cases we file to protect the people of Utah.”
The exact requests can be found in the document below: