Frank Pignanelli & LaVarr Webb: Is John Swallow the victim of a media witch hunt?

Published: Sunday, June 23 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

Thus, the mission of the legislative investigation is apparently to determine if Swallow committed impeachable offenses. But the standards set to make that determination are very murky — and very political. Will they try to decide if Swallow broke a law? Will they look at his personal morality and integrity? In addition, the powers, processes and procedures of the investigatory committee all have to be worked out.

So the legislative investigation is likely to drag on for a long time, and it will become a major public spectacle, unlike the other investigations occurring quietly and in private. Interestingly, Swallow said he welcomed this investigation, which will keep the story alive for months.

This is clearly far from over, but has Utah politics — in the long term — been impacted already?

Pignanelli: Nervous jokes from lawmakers such as, "Are you wearing a mike?" are more abundant. There is a hypersensitivity to the topics of fundraising, government regulations, economic incentives, etc. This may lead to legislation in the 2014 session regarding campaign limits, further restrictions on where donations are made and how, etc.

Webb: There are lots of lessons we all should have learned in kindergarten or soon thereafter: Don't skate close to the edge. Don't seek money from shady characters. Don't try to cover up bad behavior. Pay your own way. Don't be greedy. Don't shake anyone down. A lot of Utah politicians are being a lot more careful these days.

Republican LaVarr Webb is a political consultant and lobbyist. Previously he was policy deputy to Gov. Mike Leavitt and Deseret News managing editor. Email: lwebb@exoro.com. Democrat Frank Pignanelli is a Salt Lake attorney, lobbyist and political adviser. Pignanelli served 10 years in the Utah House of Representatives, six years as minority leader. His spouse, D'Arcy Dixon Pignanelli, is a state tax commissioner. Email: frankp@xmission.com.

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