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Beginning of the end for Swallow?

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Posted at 8:36 PM, Jun 18, 2013
and last updated 2013-06-18 22:44:31-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- Republican leaders publicly discussed the process of impeachment for Utah Attorney General John Swallow during a caucus meeting Wednesday.

A rally was also held Wednesday in the rotunda at the State Capitol Building. The rally was organized by the liberal group, Alliance for a Better Utah. Organizers said the rally was a stand against corruption in the Utah Attorney General's office, and they are calling for Swallow's impeachment.

The House Caucus met to discuss what the impeachment process entails.

In an interview with FOX 13, House Speaker Becky Lockhart said it could be potentially historic.

"Some are saying let's impeach him tomorrow or yesterday if you will, and there are others that say, no, nothing has happened that rises to that level. We need to wait,” she said.

Lockhart is referring to Republican House members; some want the state's newly elected Attorney General out, while others think that's too extreme. Regardless, the allegations against the AG are serious enough for the legislature to be weighing its option of impeachment.

"In terms of this serious, or potentially this historic, not sure it's happened in a very a long time," Lockhart said.

Minority Leader of the House Jennifer Seelig said Republicans know where House Democrats stand on the issue.

"What we would like is an open, bipartisan investigation either through a special committee or through the beginning of an impeachment process,” Seelig said.

Now it's a question of whether House Republicans are on the same page.

Lockhart said, "One of the conclusions of the committee could be nothing, and another conclusion would be, or could be, draft articles of impeachment and then, and only then, would the House of Representatives even consider an actual impeachment and then potentially vote on that."

Whatever happens, expect a spirited debate.

Lockhart said, "I think what you'll see is we'll end the caucus with having a much better idea, the leadership team in the caucus will have a much better idea, of where our members are on this issue."

While Swallow said he respects the legislature's decision to discuss the process, in an interview with FOX 13 last week he said, "I know what I have and haven`t done, and I certainly don`t believe anything I've ever done in my life reaches the threshold of high crimes, misdemeanors and malfeasance in office, and I`m a little shocked that anybody is even talking about it right now."

In other words, Swallow doesn't think lawmakers can legally impeach him. To that, Lockhart said, "I would respectfully disagree."

Swallow said Wednesday he had a last-minute meeting with lawmakers because he wanted them to know his side of the story.

"I have no concerns," Swallow said. "I really believe that these legislators are trying to do the work of the people, and people should be proud that the legislature is interested enough, based on what they've seen and heard, to really try and dig in and find out what's really going on. And I think that's a healthy process. All I want to do is answer questions and restore public trust."

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