You ask an excellent question JWB and that is the reason this type of
discernment should not be left up to the politicians. They all knew about this
before the election and no one cared. It is very likely that none of them saw it
as a problem, which while that may be a problem, it doesn't leave Swallow
alone accountable. We can't rely on politicians to make good judgments all
of the time unfortunately, making a change in culture the necessity, but Swallow
should be given a chance to change with it.
The legislature has had plenty of opportunities over the past several decades to
do something about this type of ethics and conflict of interest actions. Many
legislators and others elected become lobbyists on departing their elected
office. The legislature and governor's offices have not pushed that type
of legislation as it is a money maker for those legislators that leave their
part time employment for a full-time or even part time lobbyist job. There are
loop holes and ways that people can talk around the requirements for filing and
disclosing. Some people are good talkers and can get you to by a bridge. Some
even use their church or association affiliation to get in with the in crowd.
I believe John Swallow knows if he is honest in all his dealings
with people he works, associates and deals with. I am sure that some of the
attorneys and staff members in the AGs office know some of the responses the new
AG has made as the Chief Deputy AG.If he was required to put down
businesses he was involved with, even though a trust, why wouldn't he put
down the company's or LLCs name?
Political appointees still had a requirement to disclose items or affairs that
may be in conflict with the performance of their job. As a lobbyist and as a
candidate for a Congressional office he would have had similar election
restrictions to disclose for the public and FEC. It is not the first time this
person had been in public office. I know that Mark Shurtleff had some medical
issues along his road but Paul Murphy or others in the AGs office would have or
should have had some knowledge of what this Chief Deputy was doing on the side.
When Shurtleff talked with the Federal investigators in October 2012 prior to
the election of Swallow, he should have come forth and pulled his support of
Swallow. We have had some great AGs in the past who have been Democrats and
were beneficial for our state of Utah. Swallows opponents, Sean Reyes and Mr.
Smith would have been a better choice with Shurtleff telling why he was
withdrawing his long term support for his Chief Deputy. Why didn't
Shurtleff fire Swallow when finding these ethical issues? It got worse when the
AG is involved with the Federal investigation that could expand
I think it is great to close this loophole and hold appointed officials to the
same standards as all other employees of the State. However, according to the
State of Utah's Employee Handbook:"State employment shall
be considered the principle vocation of full time employees. However, an
employee may engage in outside employment or dual state employment, providing it
does not:Interfere with efficient performance of the employee’s
state position.Conflict with the agency or the state of Utah’s
interest.Reasonably give rise to criticism or suspicion of conflicting
interests or duties.Violate the state ethics law or rules.An
employee shall be required to obtain written approval from the department head
to continue or to obtain outside employment in accordance with 67-16-4, UCA if
there is potential for conflict with primary employment."Had
Swallow been held accountable to these standards, this still doesn't mean
he did anything wrong. It's actually unfortunate this law wasn't in
place before he did this work. Maybe his outside work would have been allowed if
it was found to not impact his position negatively and he wouldn't be
facing all of this scrutiny.
Too bad they can't make it retroactive.
Want to bet that this turns out to be just more political posturing for points?
Will it die in some committee because it might prevent our legislators from
grabbing opportunities to make money?
It will be interesting to see Swallow get off the hook on this. Looks like he
didn't break any laws. However, I see some changes to the laws being made.
Swallow is changing the world for the better in every action he takes, good or
This bill would close a huge hole, and it should be enacted. No one in the
Attorney General's office should be doing any work for hire. The
possibilities of conflict of interest are obvious and enormous.