Dan Liljenquist: Three ways to restore trust in Utah A.G.'s office

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  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    June 20, 2013 5:59 p.m.


    There are two completely different things going on.

    1. The voters looked at John Swallow, evaluated him and selected him as the person whom they wanted in the office of attorney general.

    2. Impeachment is for "high crimes and misdemeanors" after taking office (at least on the Federal Level).

    What has John Swallow done since taking office that is worthy of impeachment?

    What right does any party or any part of any party have to remove a person from office whom the people have selected? What right does any person in government have to infer that we are stupid for electing John Swallow?

    Many of the "allegations" were front page news before the general election. The people made their choice. It's time to get over the witch hunt and let Mr. Swallow do his job. If he has committed a felony, then let the court convict him and we'll deal with that after the trial.

  • one vote Salt Lake City, UT
    June 20, 2013 5:23 p.m.

    Maybe we should have a attorney general promote alleged felons projects?

  • Cincinnatus Kearns, UT
    June 20, 2013 4:18 p.m.

    Wrong Wasatch A1.

    It is to elect a Democrat, or Republican, or Libertarian, or Independent (or whomever) who has shown their integrity and is above reproach. It's not about parties. It's about individual.

    George Washington watched as Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson and James Madison battled it out, creating the first parties in our country, then warned us in his farewell address:

    [I] "warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party, generally."

    No one person, no one party has all the right answers. In this case, simply trading a Republican for a Democrat, is not the answer and that attitude is what has gotten this state and country into the mess it's in.

  • Wasatch Al South Jordan, UT
    June 20, 2013 3:36 p.m.

    Fourth way to return trust to the state AG office? Elect or appoint a Democrat.

  • Cincinnatus Kearns, UT
    June 20, 2013 3:33 p.m.


    You need to listen to the Google+ Hangout recording of Speaker of the House Lockhart and Rep. Cox. They specifically stated that impeachment is a process, and IS "the investigative tool of the House of Representatives." As they clearly stated, after having extensively studied the impeachment process, if there is a vote for impeachment in the House, then a committee is formed which INVESTIGATES the allegations and uses that investigative process to write up the articles of impeachment- the actual charges.

    Currently, they have chosen to convene a special investigative committee, rather than formally start the investigative process with impeachment. That is their choice. But, an actual vote for impeachment would start the formal investigative process, culminating in the House with article of impeachment, if they found there to be reason to write them.

    They Speaker Lockhart and Rep. Cox have been looking at this a lot harder than you or me and I'm inclined to take their word on how the process works over yours.

  • Noodlekaboodle Poplar Grove, UT
    June 20, 2013 2:02 p.m.

    However, when it comes to impeachment I think you might not understand the procedure correctly. If he is brought up on articles of impeachment it doesn't mean that he is automatically removed from office, far from it. The way it works is a House committee investigates(like what is happening now) if they decide to proceed it goes to the full body. If the full body votes yes to impeach in a simple up/down vote it goes to the Senate for trial. If the senate votes yes in a 2/3 majority to impeach then the official is removed from office. PBS NewsHour has a good article on it. It's speaking about the US constitution, but Utah's rules are identical so you can use any info on the federal rules and apply it to the state as well.

  • Noodlekaboodle Poplar Grove, UT
    June 20, 2013 2:02 p.m.

    No, it wasn't because of the R at all. It's because I met Mr. Swallow when he was running for Jim Matheson's seat in the House (2002?) I didn't like him then, I didn't like him when he was running for AG. So maybe I did have a bias, but not because of his political affiliation.

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    June 20, 2013 1:43 p.m.

    Actually I was for Impeaching Clinton because I was listening to Rush back then.

    I grew up a lot when I turned off Rush.

    If there was Anything on Obama besides opinuendo from the likes of Rush and his merry band of misinformation miscreants, Id say yes, but I've yet to see anything of substance.

    Besides you really don't know my voting habits, so I'm not sure why you think a personal attack on my comment is going to help you close personal friend buy some more time in office.

  • Cincinnatus Kearns, UT
    June 20, 2013 1:40 p.m.

    J Thompson-

    There are facts, beyond the allegations, that make me question John Swallow's honesty, integrity and ethics. These facts make the allegations worthy of more serious investigation (which is happening). The first step in impeachment IS an investigative process. The difference here is that an impeachment process is NOT a criminal proceeding. It takes away no rights. It is designed to protect the integrity of the office from lack of integrity of an officeholder.

    Holding an office is NOT a right. It is a privilege. A privilege that you win by convincing people to elect you. A privilege that can be lost if the voters and the legislature no longer trust you because of your questionable actions.

    If Swallow is found ultimately found guilty (by the Senate) of violating the public trust, he should be removed from office. If he is ultimately found guilty of criminal actions (by the courts) he should be punished accordingly. They are two separate paths.

  • aceroinox Farmington, UT
    June 20, 2013 1:08 p.m.

    @2 Bits--I think you have a mistaken notion of what impeachment entails. The impeachment process IS an investigation, not a conviction. Impeaching someone does not remove them from office, it merely launches an investigation into the alleged misconduct. I don't mean to trivialize impeachment, but if Attorney General Swallow is indeed innocent, the sooner the facts come to light the better it is for him, for the AG's office and for the citizens of Utah.

  • J Thompson SPRINGVILLE, UT
    June 20, 2013 1:04 p.m.

    Allegation vs evidence. What is the difference? Apparently there is no difference when it comes to John Swallow. A felon makes an allegation and suddenly that "allegation" is treated as evidence.

    Dan wants to take away our right to elect someone for public office. It's a good thing that he's not running for office this year or he'd be laughed off the ballot. Just in case he missed class, maybe he'd better look up "Boss Tweed" or the "Daley Machine". When someone has the authority to appoint, corruption is just around the bend.

    Stop spreading gossip, I.e., allegations, and present evidence that is worthy of stripping someone of his rights as an American because that's what happens when people are convicted.

  • mcclark Salt Lake City, UT
    June 20, 2013 12:49 p.m.

    The head of the Republican Party in Utah runs a payday loan scam, er business. Fraudsters, rip off artists, and corrupt property developers own the state government. It is indeed time to clean house. Too bad so many people refuse to vote for a Democrat, leaving the corrupt in power.Get ready to be ripped off again when the prison is moved. A few insiders will make a fortune, while the rest of us pay for it. And you will keep voting for the people who rob you.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    June 20, 2013 12:43 p.m.

    Happy Heretic,
    So it's NOT a party thing with you... Oh... I get it now. You are real consistent. But if your consistent and party doesn't matter... why are you with the "Hang him NOW" crowd for the Republican Attorney General, but not with the "Impeach Obama" crowd? That's FOR impeaching the "R" and AGAINST impeaching the "D". Is THAT consistent?

    I'm AGAINST impeaching the "D" (because it's not called for and I'm not a blind party partisan). And I'm AGAINST impeaching the "R" (because it's not called for until a REAL investigation is done). THAT's consistent.

    Lets check your consistency...
    -Were you FOR impeaching Bill Clinton? Because he ABSOLUTELY was guilty of the charges brought and was impeached and disbarred because of them. But the Democrat controlled Senate decided it didn't matter. But Swallow MUST be impeached without investigation?

    -Are you FOR impeaching Eric Holder Attorney General, was held in Contempt of Congress?

    -Jesse L. Jackson Jr. (D-IL) pled guilty
    -Laura Richardson (D-CA) found guilty on seven counts of violating House rules

    I'm out of words... not examples.

  • Cincinnatus Kearns, UT
    June 20, 2013 12:32 p.m.

    Mike Richards,

    You seem to ignore the realities of the situation (and the article):

    Liljenquist was not specifically stating in this article what should be done to Swallow. He was advocating what he thinks could be done to protect the trust in the office of the AG, regardless of the occupant (Shurtleff may have started this whole mess).

    You also have a fixation on the "facts" of a convicts statements. The facts here go beyond their statements. There are actual, substantiated facts that make most Utahns questions Swallows ethics.

    The Justice department is investigating the allegations of bribery- that includes whether or not Harry Reid had any involvement. Reid is not our Senator and we can't do anything to him directly from our state. Swallow on the other hand is our elected AG and we have the right to deal with him as we see fit (exonerating him, censuring him, or removing him from office).

    Impeachment proceedings ARE the political way we have of deciding whether a politician is guilty of violating the trust placed in them and their office. It is not a criminal trial- you seem to have the two confused.

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    June 20, 2013 11:42 a.m.

    "He accepts as "fact" the statements of a convicted fellon,"
    "based on sensationalized news coverage"

    Like the recording of him asking "do they know about the boat?" or "Is there a paper trail?"
    Or the receipts from his criminally paid vacation with his signature on them?
    or the 2 others who are Not convicted of anything substantiating what the "criminals" have said?

    all speculation yep.

    If he were a democrat I would still be treating this situation the same.
    But I know from the hang Obama team here on these comments that a democrat would already have been gone.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    June 20, 2013 11:24 a.m.

    Come on... be honest with yourself. We all know you better than that. In your mind he was "Guilty" as soon as you saw the "R" by his name.

    I'm not saying he's innocent. I'm just saying "do the investigation so we KNOW"!
    Is that really too much to ask?

    So many Democrats want him thrown out, based on sensationalized news coverage and political polls.... I just don't get that logic. Especially when they would NEVER apply that same standard to their own people (throw them out first, there's no time to wait, investigate later).

    This would be our first impeachment in Utah. If we start doing that now... (throw them out now, it's too dangerous to wait for the investigation).... I guarantee the same logic would be used against a Democrat in the future, and you will complain.

    I'm just trying to bring some sense to the breathless people how say "It's too dangerous to wait... we have to throw him out NOW!!!". What's the big danger??? Why NOW? Why not let an independent investigation be done?

  • Vaughn J Kearns, UT
    June 20, 2013 11:18 a.m.

    My concerns are that with the claim that Swallow's contact was prior to joining the AG office is that he was associated with Johnson, accompanied Shurtleff to California, and then shortly was appointed by Shurtleff to the AG office as a "Chief Deputy" (one of three but broadly disseminated as "The Chief Deputy" during the campaign) and preferred successor. Why was an attorney that was apparently primarily a lobbyist for the previous several years, who was associated with a potential criminal defendant, selected by Shurtleff to become his Deputy and endorsed as his successor?

  • Noodlekaboodle Poplar Grove, UT
    June 20, 2013 11:12 a.m.

    If he was a private attorney I might agree. But he was the Deputy Attorney General at the time of these incidents. If you work for the AG's office you work for the people of Utah, not people under investigation by the AG. People who are being investigated by the AG's office do need an attorney. It's just entirely inappropriate for that attorney to be employed by the AG's office.

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    June 20, 2013 10:44 a.m.

    I would prefer this to be an appointed position. Sometimes things should be elected, sometimes appointed. We elect the President but Secretary of State, which requires specialized knowledge and skills, is appointed. I think the AG falls into this category. This would open the position, as chief prosecutor or lawyer, to the most qualified individual regardless of party. That person would also have a direct supervisor who could dismiss him/her. Yes, you could say the office has a boss with the people but unless there is a recall election or impeachment, both arduous processes, this person can stay in office until the next election. I do recognize that appointed positions also come with flaws. I do feel there is just certain offices or roles in government that work best in the appointed format and AG is one of them.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    June 20, 2013 10:38 a.m.

    How does just removing him (without investigation results) automagically restore trust?

    The guy before him was corruptible. HE was corruptible. What insurance do we have that the NEXT guy WON'T be corruptible? And don't say make sure he has a 'D' by his name, because we already know that doesn't always work.

    My understanding is that politicians are just people (not super human). And if I'm corruptible, they probably are too. So with that understanding... I just assume that politicians are as corruptible as every other human being, and by the position their job puts them in, they have even MORE opportunities to be corrupted and act on that weakness. So I don't expect politicians to be perfect, that's why I think it's important to keep an eye on them, so we can use what we learn about them when making our voting decision the next election cycle.

    Problem is... to many people just vote for the "R" or the "D" without looking at the individual they are voting for. So we keep getting the same people. Since people are corruptible... replacing them with new people frequently is a GOOD idea.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    June 20, 2013 10:03 a.m.

    Dan forgot the fourth way to restore trust: remove Mr. Swallow from office.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    June 20, 2013 9:44 a.m.

    I think he's totally trustworthy. The (R) and the other affiliation prove it.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    June 20, 2013 9:04 a.m.

    I know this case has been well sensationalized in the news, but to get back to what actually happened (as I understand just from what I've heard).

    His contact with the guy was before he was an elected official (When he was an attorney). People blame him for being in contact with a person under investigation. Isn't it an attorneys JOB to work with people with legal problems? And to be paid by those people with legal problems?

    I admit that trying to connect him with politicians that could possibly help was a bad move. But remember that this all happened BEFORE he was an elected official... When he was an attorney... who's supposed to try to do what he can to help his clients.

    It was obviously bad judgement, and I'm pretty sure he wishes he could go back and change it. But obviously he can't. But we can be big about it and forgive him (IF we want) or we can judge him with a critical eye and pretend if WE were an attorney in his situation we would have just turned they guy away.

  • mitchjensen sandy, UT
    June 20, 2013 8:39 a.m.

    How about a 4th option?: Clean house.

    Let an impeachment today serve as a lesson for tomorrow. Rid the A.G.'s office of this unscrupulous pay-for-play (aka "quid pro quo campaign donation") mentality which has become "business-as-usual", not only in the attorney general's office, but in the entire Beehive state election process.

    Now THAT might be a good first step in attempting to restore public trust.

  • Noodlekaboodle Poplar Grove, UT
    June 20, 2013 8:31 a.m.

    @Mike Richards
    Although the director of the Division of Consumer Protection did file a complaint to the bar saying swallow should be disciplined.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    June 20, 2013 7:57 a.m.

    I'm re-evaluating my preference for Dan Liljenquist as a Senator. He is much too quick to be the judge, jury and executioner when it comes to John Swallow. He accepts as "fact" the statements of a convicted fellon, but he refuses to give John Swallow his day in court. If Mr. Liljenquist were a Senator, he would be expected to protect the rights of the citizens, yet he is stomping all over the rights of a citizen, John Swallow. Dan Liljenquist seems to ignore that Harry Reid was named as a participant in the allegations. Why is he not demanding sanctions against Harry Reid?

    We have a process in America. That process requires that the "State" prove that a citizen is guilty. If John Swallow is guilty, then let the "State" prove its case. Unlike the "mountain" of evidence against the Obama administration from people inside and outside the government, the only person claiming that Swallow participated in criminal activity is a convicted fellon.

  • Utah_1 Salt Lake City, UT
    June 20, 2013 12:06 a.m.

    Typically appointing the AG is a bad idea. Do we really need our current Governor to get enough power we lose him?