FARMINGTON — A criminal investigation into the state treasurer's race is under way, but the special counsel appointed to look into the controversial case says it could be some time before they decide on leveling charges.

"We've got a decent amount of work to do and investigation to do to come to some fair and reasonable conclusions as to what happened here," Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings said Wednesday. "But most importantly, what can and can't be proven."

Rawlings, a Republican, and Weber County Attorney Mark DeCaria, a Democrat, have both been appointed to investigate the race between Richard Ellis and his opponent, Rep. Mark Walker, R-Sandy. They are looking into a possible criminal violation of state elections laws after Ellis accused Walker of offering him a job and a raise if he'd drop out of the treasurer's race. Ellis won the GOP primary election. Walker denies any wrongdoing, saying he never offered Ellis a raise but said that treasurer's office employees would still keep their jobs if he won the November election.

The two county attorneys were appointed by the Utah Attorney General's Office to investigate any criminal violations . The attorney general himself had endorsed Walker in the primary, as well as most of the GOP leadership in the Utah Legislature.

The criminal probe is centering around a class B misdemeanor charge of promise to appoint to office.

"Multiple people are going to have to be talked to or interviewed and possibly subpoenas issued," he said. "Mark and I have both realized we need to do this right and we need to be able to explain to people what we did and why we came to the conclusions we came to because a lot of people are interested in this case."

A House Ethics Committee hearing on the matter is scheduled for Monday, but Rawlings said the special counsel investigation will be independent of any political inquiries. To that end, Rawlings said he has received "zero political pressure" over the criminal inquiry.

DeCaria did not immediately return a call seeking comment on Wednesday.


E-mail: bwinslow@desnews.com