The House Special Investigative Committee, tasked with investigating the many serious allegations against Republican Attorney General John Swallow, met today for only the second time since its creation. Besides committee members, Paul Murphy (spokesman for the Attorney General’s office) was in attendance as were members of the media. Virtually no members of the public were present to witness the hearing.
The agenda was short and the meeting brief.
Special Counsel, Steven Reich and Special Investigator James Mintz were introduced to the committee, and made brief comments. Mintz said he planned to “follow the facts wherever they lead” as he pledged to conduct a “full, fair and impartial” investigation. Representative Brad Dee made a motion that gave Reich and Mintz the authority to practice in Utah while serving for the committee.
“Welcome to Utah!” quipped Jim Dunnigan (R – Taylorsville), Chairman of the committee.
Reich was given the floor to explain to the committee what happens next. He laid out a “menu” of options and suggested all were on the table. Reich and Mintz will look at documents already in the public record and talk to witnesses already known. They plan to investigate non-public records, find and interview witnesses who have not spoken publicly and, if needed, use the subpoena power given to the committee to compel witnesses to testify.
Reich said that documents will help them know who to question – and witnesses will help them know what additional documents to look for as they move forward.
Once Reich finished his brief presentation, Dunnigan took questions from the committee. Representative Lee Perry (R – Perry) asked how long the investigation would take, “This investigation will take long as it takes to find all of the facts,” Reich responded.
Representative Rebecca Chavez-Houck (D – Salt Lake) asked if information submitted for the committee to investigate would be subject to records requests from the media or public through GRAMA laws. Reich informed the committee that during the active phase of the investigation, they documents would be protected. However, they could become public once the investigation has concluded.
Dunnigan also requested help from the public. Those that have information about John Swallow pertinent to the investigation may submit a hard copy in person or via mail to the members of the committee. The public can also submit any tips or information electronically by clicking here or visiting http://le.utah.gov/investigative/info.jsp
With the special council and investigator officially now on board, the work of the committee is now underway.