SALT LAKE CITY – It was announced Sunday that the Utah State Bar will close one of its investigations into Utah Attorney General John Swallow, and will not prosecute him concerning allegations that Swallow violated rules of professional conduct.
The investigation, closed earlier this week by the Utah State Bar, was prompted by a complaint filed in January 2013 by the group Alliance for a Better Utah. In an Oct. 8 letter to Maryann Martindale, the group’s executive director, the Utah State Bar said it was closing the investigation, stating that Martindale had not supplied sufficient evidence of Swallow’s alleged wrongdoings beyond news media reports. The letter also stated that Martindale breached confidentiality provisions by discussing the investigation with the media.
The Alliance’s accusations of Swallow’s ethical misconduct are largely related to the attorney general’s previous dealings with indicted St. George businessman Jeremy Johnson. Johnson has alleged that the attorney general helped arrange to bribe Nevada Sen. Harry Reid in order to stop a federal investigation into Johnson’s company. Both Reid and Swallow have denied the accusation.
“I am grateful to the bar for its careful consideration of the allegations and for its reasoned analysis in closing the case,” Swallow said in a statement. “Despite the early rush to judgment, it is now becoming clear that people with an agenda have made unsubstantiated allegations.”
Martindale also issued a statement concerning the closure of the investigation, claiming the Utah State Bar has neglected its duties in the matter.
“We have only one agenda: bringing balance, transparency, and accountability to Utah political institutions and elected officials,” she said. “This is an agenda that, apparently, the Utah Bar Association does not share with us.”
Martindale also stated that she only learned that they were dropping the investigation on Sunday through the media, and never received the Oct. 8 letter.
“Though the bar association castigated us for discussing our complaint with the media, we did not learn that the bar had dismissed our complaint except through the media. Such administrative incompetence should be deeply concerning for the people of Utah,” Martindale said.
The Utah State Bar’s decision to drop this part of their investigation into Swallow comes a month after the U.S. Department of Justice dropped its own investigation into the attorney general. However, the Salt Lake and Davis County attorney’s offices are still investigating Swallow, as is a Special Investigative Committee appointed by the Utah House.
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