Salt Lake City — Attorneys filed a petition with the Lt. Governor’s office this afternoon requesting an investigation into possible election law violations on the part of Attorney General John Swallow. A copy of the petition can be found here.
Attorneys David Irvine and Alan Smith have issued the following comments regarding the statutory background of the petition. Those comments can be found here.
Petitioners Crystal Young-Otterstrom and Maryann Martindale have issued the following statements:
“Several of Attorney General Swallow’s conflict of interest forms are at best misleading and at worst untrue. Included among the many possible violations of election law is an odd gap between the original filing and the amended filing. And yet, even after filing an amended form, he STILL left off a number of his ownerships and board/trustee positions. By filing this petition, I’m simply asking, why? Perhaps it’s an effort to hide questionable payments from Richard Rawle and other questionable business relationships. Perhaps it’s a simple matter of forgetting to cross every T. Either way, my fellow Utah citizens and I deserve more. We deserve the truth, and we deserve an investigation. More violations could be discovered. In fact, a simple records search reveals that there were several businesses in which Swallow was an officer or director within the reporting period, but they’re not even mentioned on any of the forms. Those forms were substantially inaccurate, and appear to me to be a betrayal of the public trust.
“The entire reason for requiring conflict of interest disclosures is to allow voters to make an informed judgment when they go to the ballot box to elect their leaders. Candidates must be honest in their dealings with voters by making a full and complete disclosure of their sources of income and business interests. This requirement is so important that state law requires elected officials to be removed from office when they violate this agreement. Utah deserves to know if our Attorney General violated election law. It doesn’t matter if he’s a Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, or Constitutionalist. Utah deserves a top law officer that follows the law. This investigation will bring the truth to light.”
“The legislative session this year has been loaded with message bills telling the federal government to stay out of Utah. They argue that the state is a better, more trustworthy agent of securing Utahns’ best interests. But the numerous ethics violations being brought against our state Attorney General seriously bring this claim into doubt. This complaint offers the Lt. Governor and Attorney General the opportunity to prove that Utah is capable of keeping its own house in order. If Bell and Swallow won’t act to enforce election laws, then there’s really no reason for pretending that the election laws mean anything in the first place.
“The bottom line is that state law has been violated. The good news is that, according to state law, we don’t have to wait for whatever conclusions the U.S. Department of Justice may reach. Removal of an offending state officer doesn’t have to wait for a lengthy, protracted criminal investigation — state or federal. In fact, there are civil remedies available that can and should be used to restore confidence in our state government. The citizens of this state can no longer afford to sit around, holding their collective breath, waiting for justice to be served. Immediate action within the confines already provided by the law is our right.”
Alliance for a Better Utah | 801.557.1532 | www.betterutah.org
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.