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Swallow probe panel to meet Wednesday

Published February 11, 2014 6:42 am

Scandal • Committee to discuss possible changes to state ethics, election laws.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The House Special Investigative Committee will hold one of its final meetings Wednesday to discuss recommended changes to state ethics and campaign laws in the aftermath of the scandal that drove Attorney General John Swallow from office.

The bipartisan panel's chairman, Rep. Jim Dunnigan, R-Taylorsville, said the committee has received recommendations from the special counsel hired to investigate Swallow, as well as the Legislature's own counsel and attorneys tapped by the Lieutenant Governor's Office to conduct a probe into violations of state election laws.

Dunnigan said he has opened bill files to deal with the recommendations.

He currently has bill files dealing with campaign-finance amendments and changes to legislative powers. He also has files titled "Special Investigation of Campaign Finance Issues" and "Pattern of Unlawful Activities Amendments" that may be related to the probe as well.

Dunnigan said the delivery of the draft of the final report from the committee's special counsel is "imminent." Once the report is received, the panel has a mandatory three-week period during which members can make comments or recommend changes before it is released.

The committee spent an estimated $3.5 million on its fact-finding mission. The committee's counsel and investigators reported finding a pervasive "pay-to-play" atmosphere in the Attorney General's Office, special favors and access for big donors, and a pattern of Swallow trying to destroy records and fabricate a paper trail to cover his actions.

Swallow announced his resignation in November, bringing the House inquiry to an early close.

Dunnigan said that within the past month, the committee has received information recovered from Swallow's home computer, which crashed in January 2012. The home computer was one of several of Swallow's electronic devices that crashed, were lost or were erased.

gehrke@sltrib.com