Outgoing Utah Attorney General John Swallow is one of those politicians who attract investigations in swarms.
There was the federal investigation, which fizzled. There’s the probe going on in the Utah House of Representatives. A couple of district attorneys in Utah are digging around, too. And then there’s the investigation conducted on behalf of Utah’s lieutenant governor’s office, which culminated in a report released last week.
The report found probable cause that Swallow committed multiple violations of state law by failing to disclose ties to several business entities. It could have led to Swallow being removed from office, had he not announced his resignation the day before it was released. And it goes in the win column for Alliance for a Better Utah, the small advocacy group that in March filed the initial complaint about Swallow with the lieutenant governor’s office.
Across the country, there are groups — advocacy groups, watchdog groups, ethics groups, political groups — that file complaints about officials, office holders, and government agencies. Often nothing happens. The Swallow saga in Utah is a rare example of a complaint making good. And while Swallow has insisted that his decision to resign was not influenced by the report from the lieutenant governor’s office, his opponents think otherwise.
“I have no doubt that Swallow knew [what the report would find],” Maryann Martindale, executive director of Alliance for a Better Utah, told TPM in an interview this week. “Because the timing of that is not just suspect, it’s just not possible for him to have done that. When only a few months prior he said, ‘I will never resign, I’ve never done anything wrong.’ … He was planning on sticking this out, I really think he thought he was going to skate by.”
Something to be thankful for.
Of course, Republicans also called for AG Swallow to resign. For example, blogger Holly Richardson has been on this theme all year.
Alliance for a Better Utah