Is former Utah AG John Swallow like Richard Nixon?

Posted at 4:49 PM, Jan 14, 2014
and last updated 2014-01-14 23:20:35-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- Lawyers for the Lt. Governor's Office compared former Utah Attorney General to Richard Nixon when laying out their case against him.

In remarks Tuesday to a House Special Investigative Committee, special counsel Matthew Lalli said Swallow did things he did not need to do to win the election to attorney general.

"We also found a disturbing pattern by Mr. Swallow to manage  or manipulate information, often retroactively, in an attempt to control what he repeatedly referred to as the 'optics' of various situations," Lalli told the committee.

Swallow was accused by the Lt. Governor's Office of not disclosing money he received and trying to hide business relationships and side-interests. Utah's Lt. Governor said it was enough that they would have sought to remove him from office.

"Had he not resigned, we would have moved forward with a civil prosecution to remove him from office," Lt. Governor Spencer Cox told FOX 13.

Presenting its findings to the House committee that was also investigating Swallow, the Lt. Governor's special counsel made recommendations to change Utah's campaign laws, including:

  • Full disclosure of business relationships and potential conflicts of interest;
  • More disclosure of side-businesses and moonlighting jobs;
  • Requiring campaign consultants to divulge more;
  • Revealing family and business ties, contributions and where money is spent.

Following the meeting on Tuesday, House Minority Leader Rep. Jennifer Seelig, D-Salt Lake City, said bills were being drafted for the upcoming legislative session.

"We do realize we need to tighten up our code and perhaps our regulatory structures in order to contemplate these types of shenanigans," she told FOX 13.

Cox said his report and the evidence collected with it has already been shared with the Salt Lake and Davis County attorneys, who are conducting a joint criminal investigation. Swallow resigned last month, maintaining his innocence.

The Lt. Governor's Office claimed Swallow resigned the day he found out their report would have been made public, not because he was facing mounting legal bills.

House Special Investigative Committee Chairman Rep. Jim Dunnigan, R-Taylorsville, said their final report was expected to be presented next month.

"Our final report will indicate that, 'We looked at this and we got this far along and somebody may want to look further at this,'" he said.

Dunnigan said the committee was waiting on data that had been recovered from a crashed hard drive belonging to Swallow.

The drive was handed over to Swallow's attorneys.

"Their responsibility was to go through and provide us with any pertinent information that was on that hard drive," Dunnigan said. "A week ago, we sent a follow up letter and said we'd still like that information."