Investigations of Attorney General John Swallow to stretch into next year
, Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — Two investigations of Utah Attorney General John Swallow ended without prosecution in a relatively short time, but other pending inquiries will likely extend into next year.
Though many of the allegations against the first-term Republican are related, various investigators are going down separate paths.
"I'm hopeful the resolutions will come soon and not later," Swallow said Sunday after announcing the Utah State Bar informed him it would not prosecute a complaint the Alliance for a Better Utah filed.
Last month, the U.S. Department of Justice's Public Integrity Section told Swallow it would not file criminal charges against him after a monthslong investigation.
The Utah House Special Investigative Committee is taking a methodical approach in what Chairman Rep. Jim Dunnigan has described as an all-encompassing investigation. He acknowledged it could spill into the legislative session starting in January. The bill creating the committee gives it until the end of 2014 to report its findings.
Swallow and his office responded to the committee's first two subpoenas for various documents and records with what Dunnigan, R-Taylorsville, called a "good faith" effort to meet last Friday's deadline.
"We expect more to be provided this week," he said.
An investigation by Salt Lake County Attorney Sim Gill and Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings that became public in May but dates back to last year continues, with help from the FBI. They're looking at possible violations of more than a dozen state laws but haven't filed any criminal charges to date.
A law firm the lieutenant governor's office hired to investigate whether Swallow has broken any state campaign finance laws is expected to wrap up its work no earlier than the end of December.
Swallow maintains he has done nothing wrong.
"We've said all along this is a rush to judgment," he said.
Left-leaning Better Utah alleged Swallow breached professional standards in dealings with indicted businessman Jeremy Johnson, consulting work on a Nevada cement plant and campaigning for attorney general. In a letter to the group, the bar's Office of Professional Conduct said it didn't receive enough evidence to find whether Swallow violated any rules.
The bar, however, noted the separate and ongoing investigations in other forums and left the door open for further inquiry depending on the outcomes.
A second bar complaint filed by former state Division of Consumer Protection Director Traci Gundersen also remains outstanding. She contends Swallow neither informed nor obtained permission from the division, which is represented by the attorney general's office in legal matters, to hold settlement talks with a telemarketing company facing a $400,000 fine.
The complaint stems from an April 7, 2012, recorded telephone conservation between Swallow and Aaron Christner, co-founder of Mad Cow Productions and Level 11 Mentoring. Swallow served as chief deputy attorney general and was seeking the Republican nomination for attorney general at the time.
Swallow is heard offering to set up a meeting for Christner with then-Attorney General Mark Shurtleff. He also told Christner that when he becomes attorney general, he would take over the consumer protection division.
On Sunday, Swallow said he's "not at all" concerned about the second bar complaint and that he's cooperating with all the pending investigations.
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