Utah State Bar neglects its duties; declines to investigate Swallow

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Sunday, October 13, 2013

Salt Lake City — The Alliance for a Better UTAH learned through the media Sunday that the Utah Bar Association has decided to forgo their responsibility to investigate ethical misconduct on the part of State Attorney General John Swallow. Maryann Martindale, executive director, has released the following statement:

“We have only one agenda: bringing balance, transparency, and accountability to Utah political institutions and elected officials. This is an agenda that, apparently, the Utah Bar Association does not share with us. Though the Bar Association castigated us for discussing our complaint with the media, we did not learn that the Bar had dismissed our complaint except through the media. Such administrative incompetence should be deeply concerning for the people of Utah. In fact, we are still waiting to receive the letter dated October 8 that was made available to the media before it was made available to us. The State Bar should have properly alerted us to the letter and the contents of the letter before engaging in their own media campaign to protect their own.

“But news that the Bar has dismissed the complaint is only one facet of this troubling issue. The other, more crucial concern, is that there are apparently no ethical prohibitions on public attorneys’ fund-raising practices and the conflicts of interest they may create–and that the Bar apparently has no independent investigative authority even if such rules existed. The Bar must revisit its own procedures for determining ethical conduct on the part of its attorneys and revise the necessary rules that currently excuse unethical behavior. The Bar must also take on the responsibility of using its significant power to investigate citizen complaints rather than requiring citizens to engage in the investigation themselves.

“Today’s announcement by the Utah Bar Association may not be an indictment of the Attorney General, but it is certainly an indictment of the Bar itself. This is an unfortunate day for Utah.”

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.

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