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Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Report: Utah gov. says if embattled AG worked for him, he would be fired

By Jessica M. Karmasek | Jun 13, 2013

SALT LAKE CITY (Legal Newsline) -- Utah Gov. Gary Herbert said earlier this week that if Attorney General John Swallow, who is facing a growing list of legal troubles, worked for him, he would be fired.

Swallow, who took office in January, is under fire for possible election law violations and has been accused of various ethics violations in recent months.

The Sutherland Institute, a conservative public policy think tank, and the left-leaning Alliance for a Better Utah both have called for Swallow to step down.

Sutherland President Paul Mero issued the call during a four-minute weekly radio commentary last week.

The Alliance for a Better Utah filed its 18-page petition with the Lieutenant Governor's Office in March, alleging 12 election law violations by Swallow and requesting he be removed.

"I'm increasingly alarmed at the stuff that's bubbling out, what I consider ethical challenges, ethical violations," Herbert told reporters during a press conference on clean air Tuesday. "I can only say, if he worked for me before all that's come out, he wouldn't be working for me today."

But Herbert, a Republican like Swallow, would not go as far as call for the attorney general's resignation.

"You know, there are a lot of people that are calling for his resignation. I'm not one of them," the governor said, according to the Deseret News. "I think that's something that John Swallow needs to make a determination himself. He knows the facts better than probably anybody."

Herbert said Swallow needs to consider what is in the best interest of his family, and the state, and "make that decision."

In response to Herbert's comments, Swallow told The Associated Press Wednesday that he has nothing to hide.

In a wide-ranging interview with the news service, Swallow contends he is being tried in the media and says his name will be cleared after all investigations of him are complete.

Just last month, Traci Gunderson, the state's former consumer protection director, filed a separate complaint against Swallow with the Utah State Bar.

In the complaint, she alleges the attorney general -- inappropriately -- conducted preliminary settlement negotiations with a telemarketing company against which the Division of Consumer Protection had fined.

Swallow did not have permission from the division to do so, Gunderson, a former assistant attorney general, contends.

On top of that, the U.S. Attorney's Office for Utah confirmed in January that Swallow is being investigated, in coordination with the U.S. Department of Justice and FBI, for allegations that he helped make a federal investigation into a St. George businessman go away.

Jeremy Johnson is accused of running a multi-million-dollar fraudulent software scheme in which he billed hundreds of thousands of consumers for products they never ordered.

He has alleged that Swallow arranged a deal to pay U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., to stop a Federal Trade Commission investigation into his business.

Swallow has maintained he has done nothing wrong.

Still, state Democrats want legislative hearings to be held to look into the alleged violations. And Republicans are expected to meet next week to discuss possible impeachment proceedings against the attorney general.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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