Report: D.C. firm picked to investigate Utah AG

By Jessica M. Karmasek | Aug 19, 2013

SALT LAKE CITY (Legal Newsline) -- Washington, D.C.-based law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld has been selected to investigate embattled Utah Attorney General John Swallow.

The chairman of the special House committee in charge of the investigation made the announcement earlier this month.

"The firm has strong experience right where we need it most," said state Rep. Jim Dunnigan, according to The Deseret News.

The newspaper reported that the lead attorney will be Steven Reich, who served as special counsel in a Connecticut House investigation of then-Gov. John Rowland in 2004.

Rowland ended up resigning and served time in a federal prison after pleading guilty to corruption charges.

Reich also was the deputy chief investigative counsel during the impeachment proceedings against former President Bill Clinton.

Akin Gump, founded in 1945, is one of the world's largest law firms.

Steven Ross, who leads the firm's congressional investigations practice and is a senior member of its public law and police practice, will join Reich in heading up the investigation.

According to the News, none of the 10 finalists were Utah firms.

More than 60 law firms submitted bids to the state Legislature for a chance to investigate Swallow.

It is estimated that the House investigation could cost anywhere from $500,000 to $3 million. Most of that money will end up going to outside, special counsel.

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

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 -- which still remains a possibility.

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

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