Legislative probe of Swallow wrapping up

Posted at 2:53 PM, Dec 07, 2013
and last updated 2013-12-07 16:53:13-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- Members of the House Special Investigative Committee looking into allegations leveled against now-former Utah Attorney General John Swallow plan to reveal details of their findings later this month.

The committee met for nearly four hours behind closed doors on Saturday to discuss their investigation into Swallow.

"We have to decide where to go from here," Rep. Jim Dunnigan, R-Taylorsville, said.

The committee voted unanimously to make their findings public in two weeks, winding down the investigation. The findings will be presented in public hearings scheduled for Dec. 19-20.

"Once he resigned, it certainly makes it difficult for us to go forward," said Rep. Lee Perry, R-Perry. "But I think we owe it to the taxpayers and citizens to put the information forward as we prepare the final report."

The committee was formed to investigate allegations of wrongdoing by Swallow, who resigned earlier this month maintaining his innocence. A recent report by the Lt. Governor's Office accused him of breaking campaign finance laws, and two men facing criminal charges have accused Swallow of influence peddling.

Committee members said their investigation was frustrated by missing data from the Utah Attorney General's computers and cell phone. On Saturday, it was revealed that another device containing data was lost -- an external hard drive that Swallow had apparently left on an airplane in 2012.

Even though the committee is finishing its work, investigators may be tasked by the Utah State Legislature with more work.

"If there's some limited investigation to close some loops or connect the dots, the investigators may be authorized to do that," said Dunnigan.

The information gleaned from this investigation may be shared with Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill and Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings, who are conducting a joint criminal investigation into allegations against Swallow. The U.S. Justice Department declined to pursue a case against the attorney general, but the FBI has been cooperating with the local prosecutors.

The House Special Investigative Committee could have recommended impeachment against Swallow, but with his resignation it is a moot point. The committee may now recommend changes to Utah's election laws.

The committee has spent $2.3 million to date to investigate Swallow, but Perry told FOX 13 News he believed it was money well spent.

"I think it was worth it," he said Saturday. "I think the taxpayers deserve to know the truth."