Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
McEntee: Swallow should do what’s best — and bow out

Column » Utah needs an attorney general unsullied from scandal.

By peg mcentee

| Tribune Columnist

First Published Jan 16 2013 06:35 pm • Last Updated May 05 2013 11:32 pm

It’s time for John Swallow to cut his losses and go.

The baggage is piling up. Demands for answers are growing louder. And the feds have Utah’s new attorney general in their sights.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

The under-indictment businessman Jeremy Johnson, not an entirely solid witness, alleges Swallow helped arrange a bribe in 2010 in an effort to buy a U.S. senator’s influence in derailing a federal investigation into Johnson’s business dealings. Swallow denies that.

There also was an intriguing meeting at a doughnut shop, fishy emails and Swallow’s transfer of his company to his wife the day he filed to run for attorney general. He also did not disclose payments from a now-dead man he introduced to Johnson.

As attorney general, Swallow should be protecting the public’s best interest and its tax dollars. But he supports the Legislature’s campaign to force the United States to cede 30 million acres of federal public land in Utah to the state — despite its fatal flaws and the millions of dollars it would cost in court.

This is a man who gathered more than $1 million in campaign donations, including $250,000 from the Republican State Leadership Committee, which wants attorneys general nationwide to fight "the federal government’s overreach."

According to the Utah Constitution, the attorney general "shall be the legal adviser of the state officers, except as otherwise provided by this Constitution, and shall perform other duties as required by law."

One would think those state officers would want sound guidance from a "legal adviser" unsullied by politics, dogma and any hint of scandal.

The Utah Democratic Party has asked U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder for an investigation, and the left-leaning Alliance for a Better Utah wants the Utah State Bar to do the same. If it does not, the alliance plans to file a formal request for a probe.

Republicans Enid Greene Mickelsen, a former congresswoman, and Holly Richardson, a former legislator, also have called for inquiries.

story continues below
story continues below

Swallow has, of course, denied any misdeeds. But the damage to the reputation of the Attorney General’s Office — and its dedicated attorneys and staff — cannot be ignored.

This type of mess can take months, if not years, to sort out. Utahns deserve an attorney general who is able to perform his or her duties without the odor of even a possible scandal.

Swallow would do himself and the state a huge favor by walking away and letting someone without baggage do the job.

Peg McEntee is a news columnist. Reach her atpegmcentee@sltrib.com, facebook.com/pegmcentee and Twitter: @pegmcentee.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.