Utah Speaker of the House, Becky Lockhart (Republican, Provo), sent out a mass email to members of the Utah House of Representatives Thursday evening, including detailed instructions on how to impeach Attorney General John Swallow should the time come.
Over the past 5 months, it has been revealed that recently elected Republican Attorney General John Swallow is under criminal investigation by multiple state and federal agencies for corruption. The allegations against him include: the facilitation of a bribe, extortion, filing false or misleading public financial disclosures, and attorney ethics violations.
While Speaker Lockhart was very clear in her letter that she hopes impeachment of the Attorney General won’t be necessary, it sends a loud message that the powerful Republican is becoming increasingly frustrated with Swallow.
The email included the following letter, infographic on the impeachment process, and impeachment memo from the Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel.
Thank you for the opportunity I have had over the past few months to speak with many of you and share thoughts and concerns about the various reports regarding our Attorney General. These conversations and considerations have led me to deep reflection. These are serious issues with serious potential consequences. I appreciate and value your insights and opinions. It is not surprising that our constituents are asking questions and offering input. I have always believed that good and accurate information enables us to make appropriate decisions. As Speaker, it is my responsibility to make sure you are prepared for any and all circumstances that may arise.
The Utah Constitution vests the Legislature with the power to make laws and appropriate taxpayer dollars. And we take these responsibilities very seriously. It also vests the House of Representatives with the power to impeach.
Impeachment is a process that is often misunderstood, and because of its rarity, seldom researched. As Speaker of the House, I’ve put considerable time and effort into this topic over the past several months — not as a reflection of someone’s innocence or guilt, but rather to be prepared for any situation with which we may be presented.
To that end, I’ve attached a few documents to this e-mail that will hopefully answer many of your questions. The first is a flow chart prepared by OLRGC that outlines the impeachment process and references the Utah Constitution, state statute and legislative rule where appropriate. Second, is a copy of the memo our General Counsel prepared for the Senate in late January of this year in response to their questions. I repeat, I do not send you these materials with any pre-determined outcome in mind. Please consider them as information to enable us to be prepared and informed about our responsibilities and to be the best possible representatives of the people.
One of the singular privileges of serving in the Utah House of Representatives is that we meet each challenge head on. We make difficult decisions. We carry out our fiduciary duties. We represent our constituents with fidelity.
It is my sincere hope that impeachment be something we never have to address. But in the event it has to happen, we will certainly be prepared.
Speaker Becky Lockhart
(click the image to enlarge)