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House committee finishes Swallow investigation

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Posted at 1:25 PM, Mar 11, 2014
and last updated 2014-03-12 10:17:30-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- A special committee set up to investigate then-Utah Attorney General John Swallow finished its work, with plans to make public a massive report on alleged misdeeds.

"The public will be very interested in the information that is released," said House Minority Leader Jennifer Seelig, D-Salt Lake City, a member of the House Special Investigative Committee.

The report is nearly a foot thick, complete with thousands of pages of exhibits. The Utah State Legislature's General Counsel John Fellows said it will be divided into four parts:

    • Allegations of Swallow's efforts to benefit himself, his friends and political supporters while he was in office related to Jeremy Johnson, the payday lending industry, the Bank of America foreclosure and Tim and Jennifer Bell;
    • Swallow's alleged fabrication and elimination of evidence to impede the legislature's investigation into misconduct;
    • Things the legislative investigators looked into but were not fruitful or they ceased to find because of time;
    • Things for the Utah State Legislature to consider in the future.

Committee chairman Rep. Jim Dunnigan, R-Taylorsville, said he believed the investigation, which lasted months and cost millions of dollars, was "overall worthwhile."

"I think if we had not done this, this type of regime or program would have continued on to the detriment of Utah," he told reporters on Tuesday. "The attorney general's office is the highest law enforcement office in the state and people have to feel like everyone is treated fairly and equally. There are no nods or no special favors given."

Dunnigan said most recently, the committee was able to recover thousands of missing emails from an external drive that Swallow had.

"In January, we got 1,300 emails. About two weeks ago, we got an additional 430 emails," Dunnigan said. "They corroborate our findings. There are some new bits of information."

The report will be presented to the full House of Representatives on Wednesday morning, then it will be made public online.

Swallow resigned after another investigation into alleged misconduct. The Salt Lake and Davis County attorneys are conducting a joint criminal investigation. Seelig told FOX 13 "the book is not closed" on Swallow.

"Now it is up to others, and I believe that we have left a document that the public and other investigatory agencies can use to continue down the road if they would like," she said.