Utah A.G. John Swallow resigns, citing toll on family, finances
Utah Democrats are considering a lawsuit to require a special election to replace the attorney general, rather than leaving the decision to Republicans. The Democratic Party said the lieutenant governor's report recommends a judge invalidate Swallow's election last November.
"This is a critical issue. We risk an appointment tainted by corruption," said Utah Democratic Party Chairman Jim Dabakis. "If Swallow cheated, the law says that his election was invalid and Utah voters, all of them, must pick his successor."
The Alliance for a Better Utah filed the elections complaint against Swallow in March, alleging 12 violations of state election law. The elections office dismissed nine counts in May but said three called for further investigation.
Better Utah executive director Maryann Martindale said the organization believed from the beginning its claims against Swallow were serious.
"I wish we had the final report so we could say definitively, but we've been confident all along that there's merit to what we were claiming," she said.
The lieutenant governor's office hired the law firm of Snell & Wilmer as special counsel in July to look into the allegations in what it said would be a four-month investigation costing $200,000.
Two of the counts allege Swallow failed to disclose that he was an owner or manager of a consulting firm and that he received income from another consulting business. The third alleges he made false and misleading statements about his personal financial condition on campaign disclosure forms.
Thomas, the state elections director, earlier said the special counsel would be free to review all of the issues Better Utah raised in its complaint.
Swallow said he's "heartbroken" about stepping down and all he wanted to do was serve the state.
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"I'm proud of my service and I'm deeply disappointed that what I believe is the agenda of political enemies and people with a partial agenda to hurt me or to help themselves at my expense," he said.
"I believe the things I've done have been cast in the worst possible light, and I maintain that I have been 100 percent ethical and honest in all my dealings.”
— John Swallow, who resigned as attorney general effective Dec. 3
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“(John Swallow’s) decision is in the best interests of his family, his constituents and the state of Utah.”
— Gov. Gary Herbert
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“ We've been confident all along that there's merit to what we were claiming."
— Maryann Martindale, executive director of the Alliance for a Better Utah, which filed elections complaints against John Swallow
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“I take no pleasure in the results that have come today.”
— Rep. Jim Dunnigan, R-Taylorsville, chairman of the House committee investigating John Swallow
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"This is a critical issue. We risk an appointment tainted by corruption. If Swallow cheated, the law says that his election was invalid and Utah voters, all of them, must pick his successor."
— Jim Dabakis, D-Salt Lake City, and Utah Democratic Party chairman
* * *
* The Utah Lieutenant Governor’s Office will release the report of an investigation into alleged elections violations against Attorney General John Swallow as soon as Friday.
* The Utah Republican Party will hold a special state Central Committee meeting Dec. 14 to nominate three names to be forwarded to the governor, who will select from them a replacement attorney general.
* The Republican selected by Gov. Gary Herbert would face an election in 2014 to fill the remainder of John Swallow's four-year term.
* Utah Democrats are considering a lawsuit to require a special election to replace the attorney general. Party officials said the lieutenant governor's report recommends a judge invalidate John Swallow's election last November.
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