An employee of a prominent developer said she was forced to give $2,000 to the campaign of Lohra Miller, Republican candidate for Salt Lake County district attorney.

Shauna Hardy says that if she had refused to make the political donation, her boss said it would hurt her politically at Wasatch Property Management. Hardy was one of 12 employees who received $2,000 bonuses, but they didn't receive the checks until they signed a $2,000 check to Miller's campaign fund, Hardy said.

"I knew it was wrong," Hardy said Tuesday. "I knew in my gut I shouldn't have done it, but I did it anyway."

Hardy felt so guilty about the forced donation that she called Miller and asked her to give the "dirty money" to Primary Children's Medical Center. Miller complied, and the check was signed on Sept. 22.

Hardy said her boss first came to her and asked if she would be willing to donate money to Miller's campaign if the company gave her a bonus. She refused, but then reluctantly gave in after warnings of political fallout within company ranks.

A former University of Utah law professor this week called for an investigation into the proxy campaign contributions. Donors cannot make a contribution with someone else's funds, according to county election law.

John Flynn, who taught ethics and constitutional law at the U. for 42 years, said he has no affiliation with either Democratic candidate Sim Gill or Miller but said he was enraged after reading news reports about proxy contributions to Miller's campaign coffers.

"I've just been appalled by money and politics and the games these people play," Flynn said.

Flynn, who was a special counsel in Washington during Watergate, sent a letter to the county district attorney, Utah attorney general and lieutenant governor that said an investigation must be completed soon to maintain "the integrity and outcome of the Salt Lake County district attorney race."

Miller said she is completely open to an investigation and insists she did nothing wrong.

"I did not know anything, and if it harms my campaign to stand up and do the right thing, then so be it," Miller said. "I think it should be investigated. I am frustrated because I have acted in good faith and tried to do the right thing."

Attempts to reach Wasatch Property Management executives were unsuccessful Tuesday.

Miller admits she accepted $24,000 in donations from Wasatch executives, including $2,000 from Dell Loy Hansen, the company's chief executive officer. After reading a City Weekly article alleging employees were forced to make the donations, Miller says she called every employee who made a donation.

But Hardy says she knows of some employees who have never been contacted and who also feel that they were forced to make the contributions. Even so, Hardy said she is not sure if Miller was involved in the scheme but said Wasatch Property Management should be punished.

"The sad thing is (Miller) is going to take the fall for it, and there are going to be no repercussions for the company," Hardy said. "Maybe she's totally innocent."

Meanwhile, the Republican camp is taking aim at Miller's opponent, Gill. County GOP leader James Evans on Tuesday said Gill's slogan, "Time tested, court approved," implies that state courts endorse Gill while in fact the courts do not take political stands.

The state Administrative Office of the Courts has received multiple complaints about what they say is an inappropriate implied endorsement. And Evans said he plans to file a complaint with the Utah State Bar because he says the slogan violates professional standards of conduct.

Utah courts spokeswoman Nancy Volmer said the slogan is vague and does not explicitly say the courts endorse Gill for the county's next district attorney. But after receiving multiple complaints about the slogan, Volmer reiterated that Utah's state and federal courts will never back any candidate.

"We cannot, we have not and we will not endorse any political candidates," Volmer said.

Gill said the slogan is one of many on his billboards and handouts that emphasize that he has more experience than Miller.

"It's a campaign slogan for God's sake, just a blah campaign slogan," Gill said. "I'm not saying any court out there is supporting my candidacy. This is absolutely frustrating."


E-mail: ldethman@desnews.com