A Republican lawmaker in Utah is facing allegations that he used taxpayer money to cover at least two hotel stays with prostitutes last year. Rep. Jon Stanard resigned his position at the state House of Representatives on Tuesday.
After the British newspaper the Daily Mail reported allegations Thursday that Republican Rep. Jon Stanard twice hired a prostitute in 2017, House and state elections officials said they were checking to see if taxpayer or campaign money was used for the hotel stays that the report alleges Stanard booked.
According to House Chief of Staff Greg Hartley, the hotel stays in Salt Lake City occurred during Stanard's trip to attend meetings at the state Capitol, which is four hours from his residence.
Hughes said he didn’t yet know if the House would ask Stanard to return the hotel reimbursements.
“If there has been an abuse of public funds or if public funds were used in a way that’s inappropriate, we would,” Hughes said. “I don’t have solid answers for those things. I would need to have a way that I would know conclusively that that is the case.”
According to the Daily Mail's report, the prostitute Stanard is alleged to have hired provided screenshots of text messages between them, but due to the fact that Stanard apparently wiped his phone clean, the claims have not been verified.
The Daily Mail reported that a prostitute, Brie Taylor, said Stanard twice paid her for sex last year during business trips to Salt Lake City and that he arranged the meetings with a number for a state-issued phone listed on his legislative profile.
The newspaper posted screenshots of messages that Taylor said came from Stanard, but the phone number was blurred out.
It remains unclear what, if anything, will come of the allegations. Because Stanard is no longer a lawmaker, an ethics investigation cannot take place.
Stanard, a married Republican from the southern Utah resort community of St. George, resigned after serving five years in the House. He voted last year in favor of a law that made state prostitution laws stricter, including raising the penalty for people who are convicted twice of solicitation.