< Previous Page
"Nobody wants a long-term thing," he said. "Go to the places that need to be investigated, talk to them and find out right from the outset through testimony if there are things that are substantive and, if they aren’t, then fold this thing up and let’s move on."
Rep. Joel Briscoe, D-Salt Lake City, said enough uncertainty remains to justify the House investigation.
"The Salt Lake and Davis county attorneys’ investigation is continuing. My understanding is the FBI is continuing to investigate. Just because a federal prosecutor elects not to prosecute doesn’t mean a person isn’t guilty," Briscoe said. "It doesn’t shut all the doors for me."
Rep. Derek Brown, R-Cottonwood Heights, said the responsibilities of the committee — with its five Republicans and four Democrats — are different than those of the federal prosecutors.
"We only know that the federal authorities don’t have enough information to indict, but what they are looking at differs qualitatively from the committee investigation," Brown said. "So, at this point, I don’t believe for that reason that the committee needs to shut its doors."
Rep. Jake Anderegg, R-Lehi, said that in the conversations he’s had with House colleagues, those who "were against it before are emboldened. Those who were for it before are, ‘Well, are we wasting taxpayer money?’ "
"If we get six months, 12 months down the road and spend $2 to $3 million and say, ‘Yeah, he was stupid, but we’re not going to impeach him,’ then that’s going to be a black eye," Anderegg said. "I would be in favor of it continuing, but I’m also very cognizant of the fact we’re spending real money on something that may not even be there."
Legislators aren’t the only ones questioning the House probe.
In a pair of meetings — one Friday with Senate staff and another Monday with House staff and legislative general counsel John Fellows — Brian Tarbet, general counsel to the attorney general, and one of Swallow’s top deputies, Wade Faraway, voiced their concerns about the scope of the House probe and the disruption it may cause.
"There’s a lot of people on that [investigative] team so the question is: ‘Why do you need that many people? What’s going to be the scope of the investigation? Are we to expect 500 subpoenas?’ " Chief Deputy Attorney General Kirk Torgensen said of the meeting. "So a lot of this is just: How is the attorney general’s office going to respond appropriately to whatever is coming our way."
Joe Pyrah, chief deputy of the House, said the meeting wasn’t a challenge to the committee’s authority, but a discussion of how the investigators planned to interact with the office.
"We just assured them that the committee is limited in scope by the resolution. They’re limited in scope to issues related to Attorney General Swallow, and we’re not investigating the attorney general’s office," Pyrah said. "I think there’s a better understanding and I think the conversation about scope was healthy for them and it was healthy for us."
Torgensen said there were no firm answers to what the attorney general’s office should brace for, but he anticipates future discussions.
"A lot of that takes a lot of time. So are we all of a sudden going to swamp 30 people in the attorney general’s office responding to this?" Torgensen said. "I think there’s a fair point that the state’s business needs to get done."
Copyright 2013 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.