A bill to clamp down on the consulting work that state officials do — spurred by a side deal that new Attorney General John Swallow engaged in when he was a top deputy in the office — breezed through a committee hearing Tuesday.
SB83, sponsored by Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, would require the governor’s office, attorney general, auditor and treasurer to implement policies that require the top appointees in the office to abide by the same rules as other office staff.
Weiler said state employees are “already overworked and underpaid,” and his aim isn’t to keep state workers from moonlighting, but he wants everyone playing by the same rules.
The issue came to Weiler’s attention when it was revealed that Swallow was doing consulting work on a cement project for a friend who also owned a chain of payday-lending companies. Swallow made $23,500 on the deal while he was Utah’s chief deputy attorney general.
Swallow’s boss at the time, Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, did not know about the side deal and said in an interview it was not a good idea. But because Swallow was a political appointee, the policies governing outside work did not apply to him.
The measure now moves to the full Senate for consideration.
The John Swallow case
Indicted St. George businessman Jeremy Johnson has alleged that Utah’s new attorney general, John Swallow, helped broker payoffs to enlist the aid of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in derailing a Federal Trade Commission investigation of Johnson’s I Works business. Swallow and Reid deny the allegations. The U.S. Attorney’s Office is investigating.