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Two Swallow-related bills overwhelmingly pass House

Published March 6, 2014 8:48 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated.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.

A pair of bills arising from the legislative investigation into former Attorney General John Swallow passed the House with overwhelming support Thursday, the day before the committee approves the final report of the $4 million investigation.

"We have diligently tried to craft legislation that tries to get at some of the more open or perhaps egregious things that could be done without trying to put [in] so many more rules that we wouldn't be able to function," said Rep. Jim Dunnigan, R-Taylorsville, sponsor of HB394 and chairman of the committee that investigated Swallow.

Dunnigan's bill would require candidates to itemize how money from their account is spent rather than being able to make lump-sum payments to consultants or credit-card companies for expenses.

It also would require candidates to provide additional details about their finances on conflict-of-interest forms when they file to run.

The second bill, HB390 sponsored by Rep. Rebecca Chavez-Houck, D-Salt Lake City, would make it a crime to obstruct a legislative investigation.

During the Swallow probe, investigators found that Swallow and a political action committee supporting him paid nearly $450,000 to a political consultant for campaign expenses with little or no disclosure of how the money was spent.

It also reported that Swallow transferred companies into his wife's name on the day he filed to run so he didn't have to disclose his role in the companies on his conflict-of-interest forms.

Investigators also said Swallow fabricated and destroyed documents to try to hide his associations with various businessmen who were at the heart of the committee's probe.

HB394 passed unanimously; HB390 received one dissenting vote from Rep. Jacob Anderegg, R-Lehi.