Report: Utah lawmakers vote to investigate AG Swallow

By Jessica M. Karmasek | Jun 20, 2013

SALT LAKE CITY (Legal Newsline) -- Utah lawmakers have voted to launch an investigation into Attorney General John Swallow and the growing list of allegations against him.

According to The Associated Press, House Republicans held a three-hour caucus meeting Wednesday, and voted -- overwhelmingly -- to create a committee to gather more information about the attorney general's actions.

The GOP's action could lead to impeachment proceedings.

Since taking office in January, Swallow, a Republican, has been accused of various ethics and election law violations.

In recent weeks, both conservative and liberal groups have called for the embattled attorney general to step down.

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.

The Sutherland Institute, a conservative public policy think tank, also has issued the call, pointing to the Alliance's petition and other allegations.

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

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.

Last week, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert said if the attorney general worked for him, he would be fired.

But Herbert would not go as far as call for Swallow's resignation.

The attorney general has maintained he has done nothing wrong, and has refused to step down.

He also claims that state lawmakers don't have the authority to impeach him.

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

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