**UPDATE 2:30pm: Attorney General Swallow has officially resigned. See our coverage of his press conference announcement here.
In a dramatic conclusion to an almost year-long scandal, two lawmakers tell Utah Political Capitol that Republican Attorney General John Swallow will resign from office by the end of Friday.
Back in March, political nonprofit Alliance for a Better UTAH filed a series of complaints with the Lieutenant Governor’s office against Swallow, alleging the Attorney General had purposefully filed misleading or inaccurate campaign documents in order to conceal some of his finances. This morning, the Salt Lake Tribune’s veteran political reporter Robert Gehrke reported that the Lieutenant Governor’s investigation had concluded and is recommending civil action be taken against Swallow for the election disclosure violations, and is also requesting that a judge invalidate Swallow’s 2012 election—declaring the office vacant.
Rather than go through the embarrassment of being booted from office (presumably), Swallow has elected to resign from office voluntarily.
On March 1st, Utah Political Capitol obtained and published copies of Mr. Swallow’s financial disclosures—he filed several versions—none of which disclosed his ownership of his company P-Solutions, the company through which Swallow accepted the alleged bribery money from the late Richard Rawle. Swallow transferred ownership of P-Solutions to his wife the same day he filed the campaign disclosures. But on the forms, which you can see here, Swallow lists his wife’s assets as “none” and lists here occupation as “housewife.”
A Yearlong Scandal:
Shortly after John Swallow’s election in November of 2012, news broke that he may have been involved in a plan to bribe a U.S. Senator on behalf of Swallow’s friend and former business associate Jeremy Johnson, who was being indicted for fraud. Johnson had secretly tape-recorded a meeting between himself and Swallow at a Krispy Kreme donut shop in Orem. Swallow could be heard on the tape making veiled references to the alleged bribe, and also admitted that he thought he might shortly be the target of an investigation.
Other recorded phone calls with Swallow then started to surface, between Swallow and other businessmen under indictment or investigation, which appeared to show Swallow offering favors in return for campaign donations for both himself and former Attorney General Mark Shurtleff.
News broke that Swallow was being investigated by the FBI, the SLCO and Davis County Attorneys, and the Utah Bar Association.
Lamakers on Utah’s capitol hill began whispering about possible impeachment or investigation of the state’s top cop. Then-Representative Spencer Cox (Republican – Fairview)—now the Lieutenant Governor—penned a widely-distributed blog post calling for Swallow’s resignation or impeachment.
Swallow and his attorney Rod Snow fired off warning letters to the Utah House of Representatives, the body which oversees impeachment proceedings, claiming that impeachment would be illegal because he hadn’t been convicted of a crime.
Despite his attempts to thwart the House, and the strong support Swallow received from Representative Ken Ivory (Republican – West Jordan), the House voted to immediately begin a public investigation.
A second and third accuser stepped forward, embattled businessmen who claimed they had been scammed by Swallow and his predecessor Shurtleff.
Marc Jenson provided receipts showing Swallow and Shurtleff had taken lavish vacations to Jenson’s villa in California, and enjoyed expensive meals and resort golf trips—all on Jenson’s dime—while Jenson was under investigation by the Attorney General’s office. Jenson claimed Shurtleff and Swallow promised him better deals on his case if he cooperated and gave them the expensive gifts and large campaign donations.
Brian Kitts wasn’t so lucky. The Utah businessman, now living in Canada, told Utah Political Capitol that he had been targeted by Swallow unfairly, after Kitts sued one of Swallow’s friends, George Evan Bybee.
Utah Political Capitol also revealed that Swallow had likely been lobbying lawmakers on behalf of former employers after he had become the Deputy Attorney General under Shurtleff (and without a license, too).
For the full story, check out all of our coverage of the John Swallow scandal here.
The Still-Open Investigations of John Swallow:
There are still several pending investigations into the soon-to-be-former Attorney General.
Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill and Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings are jointly investigating Swallow, an investigation which could lead to criminal charges. Gill said this morning that his office has no deal in place for Swallow, and for now the investigation will proceed as planned.
The Utah State House of Representatives is also halfway through their public investigation of the disgraced Attorney General, which recently discovered that massive amounts of data, including emails and calendar appointments, have mysteriously disappeared from Swallow’s work computer and cell phone, as well as his personal computer and cell phone. It is likely that this investigation will close, as the maximum possible result would be impeachment—a moot point now that Swallow is leaving office anyway.
We’ll post updates as they become available.
Because Swallow resigning office mid-term, a special election on December 14 will be held to replace him. In Utah, when an elected official resigns the political party he was affiliated with holds a special election on among their delegates to put forward their replacement the party will submit three names to the Governor, who will make the final decision. That means the Utah Republican Party delegates will select the next Attorney General, who will serve out the remainder of Swallow’s term, at which time the replacement could seek election for a full four year term.