Gov. Gary Herbert: Swallow resignation 'no cause for jubilation'
Swallow said he and his wife, Suzanne, talked about how much money they were spending to defend him. "We looked at each other and said, 'This is insane.'"
He took particular aim at the Utah House special investigative committee. He said he couldn't match its $3 million budget and that it wanted him out of office because he was "damaged goods."
"I can't believe for a moment that I am the worst public official ever in Utah. I am completely innocent. I can't believe they thought that," he said.
Swallow, who is expected to leave on a vacation Saturday, said he believes the House investigation should go away because he's no longer going to be the attorney general.
The governor, however, suggested the House's special investigative committee still has work to do.
"That's a decision they need to make," Herbert said. "I know the intent was to find out if there is any truth to the allegations and to clear the air and to regain the public's confidence. I think that is still an appropriate goal."
The chairman of the committee, Rep. Jim Dunnigan, R-Taylorsville, said he will meet with the special counsel hired to assist in the investigation into Swallow within a week to decide what's next.
Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy, said with impeachment off the table, the House needs a good reason to continue to spend money on the investigation. To date, the price tag is $1.5 million.
"I think the public is going to want to have answers," Niederhauser said. "We're not trying to get in their business, but I guarantee the question is going to be raised."
Sean Reyes, who lost to Swallow in the 2012 Republican primary, announced Friday he will file with the state party to be one of the three names submitted to the governor as replacements for Swallow. Herbert will make the final choice.
"The (attorney general's) office is the law firm for the people. Utah needs an office run efficiently and effectively that is beyond reproach," Reyes said in a statement. "There is a reason I ran before."
Sen. John Valentine, R-Orem, who considered a run for attorney general in 2012, said he will decide over the weekend whether to submit his candidacy. He said Reyes' announcement has no impact on his decision.
"If he's in, that's fine," Valentine said.
The GOP state Central Committee will meet Dec. 14 to choose the three names that will go to the governor. Herbert said it's time for the attorney general's office to move forward.
"It's a day we can start to rebuild the trust in the attorney general's office," the governor said. "I look to a new beginning, and I look forward to moving forward."
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