Friday, March 15 2013, 05:16 PM MDT
Bill Launched To Ban Swallow From Investigating Self
By Brian Mullahy
(KUTV) Utah lawmakers, on the last day of the session, went into hurry up offense on a bill related to Attorney General John Swallow---who is accused of a raft of elections law violations by a citizens group.
The measure had a quick hearing from a panel, which launched the bill to certain approval by the House and Senate.
SB 289, a measure cast as preventing the attorney general from investigating himself, had no opposition inside the committee room.
Sen. Pete Knudson, R-Box Elder County, said the bill "fixes an unanticipated flaw in the existing statute."
Right now, if the Lieutenant Governor's Office---which oversees Utah elections---determines a special investigation is needed on election law violations, it refers information to the attorney general.
The attorney general brings "a special proceeding to investigate," and appoints "special counsel."
The new measure would have the Lieutenant Governor's Office make the appointment.
Swallow is under federal investigation, accused by an indicted businessman of working to arrange a bribe---an allegation the attorney general firmly denies.
But he is also accused by the group, Alliance for a Better Utah, of filing "false, and in several instances, deliberately misleading" financial disclosures.
The new bill would only address how the latter would be handled in the future.
"This isn't about guilt or innocence," said Maryann Martindale of the Alliance. "This is really about a code change."
(Copyright 2013 Sinclair Broadcasting Group)