< Previous Page
Swallow said he is not concerned about the prospect of criminal charges. "I feel that if the county attorneys are fair and thorough, that I have no worries about any criminal charges."
Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy, said Swallow’s representatives contacted him recently, hoping to discuss the possibility of the attorney general’s resignation with the president. Fearing he might have to preside over a future impeachment trial, Niederhauser declined, and asked Sen. Curt Bramble, R-Provo, to meet with Swallow instead.
The four remaining probes
» Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill, a Democrat, and Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings, a Republican, are investigating whether John Swallow and his predecessor, Mark Shurtleff, broke any state laws. The U.S. Justice Department has declined to prosecute Swallow or Shurtleff, but the FBI is assisting the county prosecutors’ probe.
» The lieutenant governor’s office hired a special counsel, the Snell & Wilmer law firm, to investigate whether Swallow violated Utah election laws by failing to disclose his role and financial stake in several businesses. The office’s special counsel has wrapped up its report, which is expected to be released any day. Sources say it will accuse Swallow of multiple violations of election laws.
» A special Utah House committee is investigating a series of allegations against Swallow. With his resignation, House leaders are re-evaluating the bipartisan panel’s next move. At the least, the committee will issue a report of its fact-finding mission. Investigators already have interviewed more than 140 witnesses, served 15 subpoenas and received thousands of documents. They also have been working to retrieve a significant amount of electronic data missing from Swallow’s email account, office laptop and desktop computers, home computer and cellphone. The committee says Swallow lost a campaign iPad as well. In addition, legislative leaders have authorized an audit of the attorney general’s office.
» At least two ethics complaints were filed with the Utah State Bar about Swallow. One came from the state’s former director of consumer protection, alleging Swallow violated attorney-client rules by discussing a consumer-protection case with a potential donor and suggesting the target meet with Shurtleff. The A.G.’s office represents the consumer division. The other complaint came from the left-leaning Alliance for a Better Utah, alleging Swallow’s payments for consulting work on a cement plant while he was chief deputy attorney general violated attorney ethics rules. On Oct. 8, the bar “declined to prosecute” the alliance matter.
Go to sltrib.com for a multimedia look at the Swallow scandal — the players, the probes, the allegations — along with an interactive timeline, complete with links to past stories, pivotal documents and secret recordings (including the now-infamous Krispy Kreme meeting).
Bramble huddled with Swallow on Wednesday afternoon in his office, where Bramble said the attorney general floated the idea of resigning at year’s end and asked what the Senate would think of such a plan.
"My only reaction to him," Bramble said, "was: ‘You want to know my reaction? Resign immediately.’ "
Swallow said Thursday he walks away pleased with what he was able to accomplish during his 10 months in office, in particular his work to keep children safe and fight for Utah’s right to manage its public lands.
Blaming political enemies and the news media for spreading stories he insists were false, Swallow likened himself to a baby chick born with a speck, saying that other chicks will peck at the speck until the chick is dead.
"The first week in office I had this little speck and people kept pecking at it," he said. "I think there are many things we do in our lives that, put in the worst possible light, can raise a question or two. I believe the things I’ve done have been cast in the worst possible light, and I maintain I’ve been 100 percent ethical and honest in my dealings."
In January, allegations emerged that Swallow had helped St. George businessman Jeremy Johnson arrange $250,000 in payments to Swallow’s former employer, Richard Rawle, founder of the Provo-based Check City payday-loan chain. Swallow said Rawle used the money to hire lobbyists to help Johnson deal with a federal investigation into his I Works business. Johnson has said it was meant to bribe Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.
Johnson, who faces 86 federal charges and a Federal Trade Commission lawsuit, is under a gag order from a federal judge and declined to comment on Swallow’s resignation.
Other alleged misconduct also rolled out, including Swallow visiting businessman Marc Sessions Jenson’s posh Newport Beach villa and taking rounds of golf and shopping trips at Jenson’s expense — although Swallow said some of the receipts from those trips were forged and he denied buying an argyle sweater.
Jenson, who is doing time for securities violations, alleges Swallow and Shurtleff extorted thousands of dollars’ worth of favors at a time the businessman was on a plea deal arranged by the attorney general’s office.
Swallow did not name any of his accusers directly Thursday, but when asked if he had any regrets said that "there are people I wish I’d never met."
"That’s just the way life is," he added. "You just don’t know at the time that there are people who are going to have serious problems."
Swallow’s attorney, Rod Snow, called his client’s resignation a "sad day."
"I’ve gotten to know him well," Snow said. "Given half a chance, he would have made a pretty good attorney general."
Tribune reporter Tom Harvey and Washington reporter Thomas Burr contributed to this story.
Behind the Headlines
The resignation of embattled Utah Attorney General John Swallow has spawned a host of questions about the fate of current investigations of his conduct, the timing of his departure and the selection of his replacement.
On Friday at 9 a.m., Jennifer Napier-Pearce will discuss the Swallow scandal with Tribune reporters Robert Gehrke and Tom Harvey as well as editorial writer George Pyle.
In addition, Tribune reporter Brooke Adams will describe her reporting trip to Missouri this week focused on the execution of serial killer Joseph Paul Franklin, convicted of murdering two Utahns in 1980.
Tune in to KCPW 88.3/105.3 FM at 9 a.m. for the live broadcast. You can also listen to it live-streamed here.
Join the discussion by calling 801-355-TALK, by sending questions and comments to the hashtag #UTReview on Twitter and Google+, or submitting comments in the comment section below this story.
The program will be rebroadcast on KCPW Sunday at 8 a.m.
Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.