Swallow investigation comes with hefty price tag

Posted at 5:58 PM, Aug 06, 2013

SALT LAKE CITY -- The price to investigate Utah’s Attorney General John Swallow will cost taxpayers thousands if not millions of dollars, officials said Tuesday.

The special legislative committee assigned to investigate Swallow plans to hire a firm outside the state. The investigation could cost anywhere from $500,000 to $3 million.

“We have got to do this right and it is going to take some money,” said Rep. James A. Dunnigan, chair of the committee. “We feel that this is our duty and our responsibility as a legislature to try to restore the public trust in the attorney general's office.”

The Utah Legislature created the special committee to investigate the allegations of bribery and ethics violations against Swallow.

Since the committee isn’t qualified to do the factual digging, it’s hiring a law firm out of state.

Ten finalists have been selected and will be interviewed this week. The firm chosen will be picked by Friday.

Dunnigan said their decision to pick an outside firm was based on experience and ability.

“We did have some excellent law firms from Utah apply but frankly there are some other states that have had more experience with the type of incident we're addressing here,” Dunnigan said.

The legislature is addressing unchartered territory.

The millions of dollars that will be spent on this investigation could have been saved, said officials from Alliance for a Better Utah.

Swallow should have resigned months ago, said MaryAnn Martindale, executive director for Alliance for a Better Utah.

Martindale said Swallow could have saved the taxpayers millions of dollars

“I think the result is ultimately going to be the same,” she said.