At a press conference Thursday afternoon at the Utah State Capitol, Republican Attorney General John Swallow officially resigned. “This is a somber day,” Swallow told members of the media and public in attendance, “An election has been overturned.”
Swallow says he and his wife came to the decision he would resign last Sunday, after examining their finances and determining that they were unable to continue fighting against what he called “a politically motivated and biased investigation,” by the House of Representatives.
“The House has a $3 million budget to perform their investigation, but the state has not allocated even a single dollar for me to defend myself against these salacious charges,” said Swallow. “I had hoped that when the [FBI] ended their investigation, and decided not to proceed against me, it would effect the House as well. But I obviously misjudged the politics of people with a political agenda.” Swallow also called the Houses investigation an “unconstitutional assault on the Executive Branch by the Legislative Branch.”
Swallow also says the Utah media is to blame for his leaving office. “50 front page news stories can take down anyone, regardless of their innocence.”
Swallow said that it was unfair of the Utah media to attack him by publishing stories about “baseless” accusations only five days into his term “before anyone got a chance to know me.” He compared it to the chickens on the farm he grew up on. “When chickens see a chick with a small spot on it, the peck it to death. And that’s exactly what has happened to me here.”
He also compared himself to Sarah Palin, who spent $500,000 of her own money to defend herself against ethical violations charges in Alaska. Swallow claims to have spent roughly $300,000 of his own personal money on his legal defense.
As for things Swallow could have done differently? “There are people I never wish I had met. Read into that what you will.”
Swallow’s resignation will officially take effect on December 3rd. The Utah Republican Central Committee will meet on December 14th to select three nominees to replace him. Governor Herbert will then select Swallow’s interim replacement, who will have to run for the office in a general election next year.
The most likely name put forward thus far is Senator John Valentine (Republican – Orem). Also on the list may be Senator Steve Urquhart (Republican – St. George).
“I want you all to know that I have been honored to serve the state,” Swallow said as he concluded the press conference. “If I am innocent like I claim I am, today is a sad day for the state.. I’m heartbroken. All I wanted to do was serve the state.”
For more details on why Swallow is resigning, see our story here.