Leaked phone call has AG candidate proposing changes to CPA

Posted at 6:15 PM, Jun 01, 2012
and last updated 2012-06-02 06:21:18-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- A confidential conversation between a candidate for Utah Attorney General and the owner of a telemarketing business owner was leaked to the public.

During the recorded discussion, candidate John Swallow says, if elected, he wants Utah's Consumer Protection Agency to be under the Attorney General's Office.

Right now, the Division Of Consumer Protection is under the Department of Commerce, which is under the umbrella of the Governor's Office. However, Swallow thinks that should change, according to the leaked phone conversation with Aaron Christner, a telemarketing business owner.

“When I’m attorney general -- you know, this is kind of confidential -- but I am going to try to restructure it so that consumer protection is under the AG and the AG has more authority over those investigations. In fact, complete authority over that," Swallow tells Christner.

Christner is currently facing legal issues tied up in Salt Lake County's 3rd District Court.

Maryann Martindale, executive director of the Alliance for a Better Utah, says she finds the conversation "concerning."

"You know obviously there's a reason why you have that separation -- it's called checks and balances. You have investigation and then you have prosecution under two separate authorities so that you don't taint that process," said Martindale.

The Governor's Office released a statement saying, in part: "Consumer Protection is appropriately located in the Department of Commerce."

FOX 13 had an interview to speak with Swallow about the recorded conversation, but was cancelled at the last minute. His campaign released the following statement saying in part that reducing the size of government saves taxpayers money while "providing the same level of consumer protection."