Swallow resigns, says Utah House drove him from office

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah Attorney General John Swallow announced his resignation during a press conference Thursday afternoon. Swallow adamantly maintains his innocence concerning allegations of alleged ethical misconduct and wrongdoing. He said he came to the decision to resign on Sunday after he and his wife evaluated their resources – resources he said that can no longer stand up to the state’s investigation. Swallow blasted the House Special Investigative Committee currently investigating him, which, he said, was calculated to remove him from office and had access to resources with which he couldn’t keep up.

Swallow hopes to clear his name as a private citizen, he said, which he will become on Dec. 3, when his resignation takes effect.

“This is a somber day,” Swallow said, and related he had given Utah Gov. Gary Herbert his letter of resignation Wednesday.

Concerning allegations levied against him by people he said had personal and political agenda, he said: “I have vigorously maintaied my innocence … I have broken no laws.”

“Now is the time for the madness to stop,” Swallow said, and added that he hoped dropping out of the fish bowl of public service would help calm the media storm that has followed him the past 10 months.

When the U.S. Department of Justice dropped its investigation into former Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff and himself, Swallow said, he and his family hoped it would have had a calming effect on the various other investigations targeting him. Instead, those investigations – particularly that of the Utah House committee – went forward.

He had little good to say about the House committee which has thus far spent $1.5 million of its $3 million budget. By comparison, Swallow said he has spent around $300,000 in legal fees. The committee has the resources of the state of Utah, he said, while he had only private means to defend himself. When he asked the Utah House for funds to help go towards his part of the investigation, the House denied him, Swallow said.

“Pure and simple,” he said, “I believe the House investigation was calculated to drive me from office.”

Swallow said the committee, in his view, was motivated by political and personal agendas. He pointed to the behavior of Steven Reich, the special counsel hired by the committee to investigate him, as an example. He said Reich told the committee that the attorney general’s office was not cooperating with the investigation and that the committee never questioned that claim. Swallow maintains that his office has been cooperative from very the beginning.

“There’s an agenda here to try me in the press,” he said. Fifty front-page stories can destroy anyone, Swallow added, and again said he hopes going into private life will help removed some of the pressure brought on by political and media scrutiny would lessen.

“We have no choice but to step aside,” Swallow said of himself and his family.

As for the allegations brought on my Jeremy Johnson, the ones that started the feeding frenzy of investigations, Swallow said Johnson’s accusations were false and that he had seen documentation that proved it. If he had seen it, then others investigating him had as well, he said. Despite that the investigations continue.

“I’m heartbroken,” he said. “All I ever wanted to do was serve this state.”

Swallow believes his 10 months as the attorney general has left Utah safer, and he is honored to have served the state and its citizens.

“I maintain my innocence,” he said.

There had been reports that Swallows resignation was a part of a deal made with the lieutenant governor’s office to avoid criminal charges related to possible findings of election law violations. Both Swallow and the lieutenant governor’s office have denied any deal was made.

Though he will be stepping down and becoming a private citizen, investigations by the Salt Lake and Davis county attorneys’ offices remain. Swallow said he believes he will not be facing any criminal charges from those investigations as long as they are “fair and thorough.”

There has also been speculation as to whether or not the House committee investigation into Swallow will continue in the wake of the attorney general’s resignation. Some public officials believe it should end, while others have said it should continue.

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Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.

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8 Comments

  • Dana November 21, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    Don’t let the door hit your @$$ on the way out.

    • Sagemoon November 22, 2013 at 10:22 am

      That’s what I was going to say!

  • lshmot2 November 21, 2013 at 7:01 pm

    Anybody with an ounce of integrity would have resigned a long time ago. They think holding on makes them innocent.

    • Gunther November 21, 2013 at 7:51 pm

      Your first sentence mentioning “integrity” made me laugh put loud. If there was integrity involved here there wouldn’t be any accusations or possible charges in the works.

      And finally, if I knew I was innocent, I would tell them to bring it on. Why quit if there is no crime was committed? Hmmmmm

  • elliemae100 November 22, 2013 at 12:37 am

    So the recordings that the sleezy scammer Jeremy Johnson made of Mr. Swallow accepting bribes aren’t reflective of his lack of ethics? His office destroying thousand of emails? His behaviors while working for Shurtleff (fruit of the poisoned tree there) – none of these things show his true colors? Apparently he believes that all he must do is be a member of the church and take a freaky looking photo and we have to take his word that he’s the best guy for the job? He only left the office because he knew he’d be on his way out anyway. What a joke.

  • Me November 22, 2013 at 8:07 am

    Unfortunately, no matter how dirty his hands may or may not be, he is guilty by “JJ” association.

  • Combat Vet and Democrat November 22, 2013 at 8:08 am

    I hope there is no “deal” and if he is found guilty, he does time.

  • DoubleTap November 22, 2013 at 9:32 am

    If you are innocent, you don’t quit. Of course there was a deal. Do any of you really think the committee investigating is going to come out and say something like “a deal has been reached between Swallow and the investigating committee, that if he submits his resignation this committee will be real lenient with him once the investigation is concluded”??
    But you can bet that the committee will go through that $3 million one way or another. Your tax dollars hard at work. Both the investigating committee and Swallow are a joke.

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