Just when state officials were getting used to the jobs they were elected to last year, along comes an activist who tells them they really aren't in office.
Lawrence Topham, a constitutionalist who once paid a candidate filing fee with silver dollars worth far more than their face value, says every state officeholder in Utah has broken the law by failing to file an oath of office with the State Archives Division.Topham, who once ran for governor as an American Party candidate but was ousted from that party after an internal dispute last year, is linking that law with another one requiring elected officials to qualify for their offices within 60 days of the start of their terms.
In letters delivered to state officials this week, he says every elected official, including the governor, is no longer in office.
State officials acted puzzled Friday when confronted with the claims.
"The governor took the oath of office in January . . . Remember?" said Bud Scruggs, chief of staff to Gov. Norm Bangerter.
Jeffery Johnson, state archives director, said he believes the law requires oaths of office to be filed only for historical purposes. That law does not include a time limit, he said.
But, since Topham began his crusade last week, all the oaths of office from January have been placed on file, Johnson said.
Meanwhile, state officials say the public should rest assured that government is functioning normally and that the results of November's election still stand.
"We have a video tape of the swearing-in ceremony; the best proof you could have," said Lt. Gov. Val Oveson.