Attorney General must resign for sake of public confidence

Salt Lake City — In light of John Swallow’s private entreaties with key members of the Utah State legislature, the Alliance for a Better UTAH has issued the following statement:

“The allegations surrounding Attorney General John Swallow are sufficient to merit impeachment proceedings. Should Swallow feel the need to explain to legislators his side of the story, then the House Chamber is the proper place for him to do that. While lobbying legislators in a private home may be more in line with Swallow’s way of doing business, this sort of closed door lobbying is what got him in trouble in the first place. It only serves to further the public’s distrust in the governing process. If we can’t trust the Attorney General to do the right thing, the public should at least be able to trust the legislature.

“Rather than resign and save the state the millions of dollars it will otherwise spend in the impeachment process and the Lt. Governor’s special investigation into the alleged election law violations, Swallow seems intent on dragging Utah and the entire state legislature through a drawn-out impeachment process. Swallow has insisted that he has not broken any laws but by repeatedly making this statement he is showing his gross inability to grasp the core of the issue–his deliberate and willful ignorance of ethical and principled behavior befitting an elected official.

“Swallow’s refusal to step down from the office has caused immeasurable harm to the stature of the Attorney General’s Office and, by association, the very electoral process we hold dear in a democratic society. It is no longer about whether he committed a crime but about the harm he is continuing to do to the office of AG and the whole state of Utah by refusing to step aside. As we’ve consistently said over the last five months, this is not a partisan issue. Putting aside the apparent illegality of Swallow’s actions, he has still acted in a manner that is undoubtedly unethical and certainly unbecoming of the state’s leading law enforcement officer.”

Timeline:

January – Justice Department and FBI confirm investigation

January 23, 2013 – Ethics complaint filed with Utah State Bar by Alliance for a Better UTAH

March 8, 2013 – Election law violation complaint filed by Alliance for a Better UTAH with Lt. Gov’s Office

May 9, 2013 – House Speaker Becky Lockhart puts impeachment on the table

May 8, 2013 – Ethics complaint filed with Utah State Bar by former director of the Utah Division of Consumer Protection Traci Gundersen

May 15, 2013 – Salt Lake and Davis County DAs launch criminal probe

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Alliance for a Better UTAH |  801.557.1532   | www.betterutah.org
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The Alliance for a Better UTAH is a year-round, multi-issue education and advocacy organization providing resources, commentary, and action on important public policy matters.

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