Paul Rolly: Winners and losers in the Swallow saga
Utah Attorney General John Swallow's resignation lands him in an unflattering place in Utah political history.
But there are many winners and losers in this nearly yearlong drama. Here is my list:
Winner • House Speaker Becky Lockhart, R-Provo, who called for and led the House in funding a special investigator to gather evidence for possible impeachment proceedings.
Loser • Payday lenders and their lobbyists.
Winner • Sen. Steve Urquhart, R-St. George, who called for a federal investigation of Swallow and his GOP predecessor, Mark Shurtleff, in 2009, alleging that the two conspired to use the attorney general's office to sell "fire insurance" to troubled businesses.
Loser • Rep. Ken Ivory, R-West Jordan, who led the charge against a House investigation.
Winner • New Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, who, as a member of the House, became the first legislator to call for impeachment proceedings against Swallow.
Loser • Utah Eagle Forum President Gayle Ruzicka, who led the campaign among the GOP delegate base to back Swallow.
Winner • Sen. Jim Dabakis, D-Salt Lake City and chairman of the State Democratic Party, who used his bully pulpit as a lawmaker and party boss to keep the pressure on the GOP to investigate Swallow.
Loser • Sen. Daniel Thatcher, R-West Valley City, who, while leading an appropriations committee hearing, showed blatant partisanship by ruling Democratic lawmakers out of order when they attempted to grill Swallow about the allegations surrounding his office.
Winner • The Salt Lake Tribune, which became the first newspaper to call for Swallow's resignation and is home to reporters Robert Gehrke and Tom Harvey, who hounded the story from the start and dug up scoop after scoop from secretly recorded encounters at Krispy Kreme and Mimi's Cafe to questionable excursions at Lake Powell and Newport Beach.
Loser • KSL Radio host Doug Wright, who for months used his program to be an unabashed apologist for Swallow, having the A.G. on several times for "exclusive" interviews and acting the sycophant while Swallow played the victim.
Winners • Prosecutors Sim Gill, a Democrat with Salt Lake County, and Troy Rawlings, a Republican with Davis County, who relentlessly continued a criminal investigation of Swallow and Shurtleff despite accusations that they were conducting a witch hunt to advance their own political agendas.
Loser • Republican activist Jeremy Roberts, who launched a website defending Swallow.
Winners • Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross; Sen. John Valentine, R-Orem; Sen. Lyle Hillyard, R-Logan; attorney Sean Reyes; and former legislator, congressional candidate and gubernatorial hopeful Morgan Philpot, all of whom have been mentioned as possible appointees to the soon-to-be-vacant attorney general position.
Loser • Political consultant Jason Powers, whose gravy train of political fundraising commissions and consulting fees from the Swallow campaign will be cut off.