Utah AG John Swallow Resigns

Utah Attorney General John Swallow speaks to members of the media at a press conference on November 21, 2013. Swallow announced he will resign from office effective December 3, 2013.

Utah Attorney General John Swallow speaks to members of the media at a press conference on November 21, 2013. Swallow announced he will resign from office effective December 3, 2013.

(KCPW News) After a year in office and facing ever-increasing scrutiny from a House inquiry and criminal investigations, Utah Attorney General John Swallow has announced his resignation — effective Tuesday, December 3rd.

Earlier in the day on Thursday, Salt Lake Tribune reporter Robert Gehrke reported that the Attorney General was expected to resign in light of a forthcoming report by the Lieutenant Governor’s office. Though Swallow has now denied that the report weighed on his decision to resign, the report is expected to cite several election-law infractions committed by Swallow.

Just hours later, Swallow confirmed to KSL NewsRadio’s Doug Wright that he would indeed be stepping down on Thursday, with an announcement coming later in the day at a press conference.

Speaking to reporters at the Capitol Boardroom, Swallow was defiant, maintaining that he was innocent of any wrongdoing.

“I have broken no laws and have vowed to fight for my honor and good name with my very last dollar,” he said. “And we have done, as a family, basically that. The strain on my office has been far beyond what I ever anticipated, and the cost to the state taxpayers has been enormous. Now is the time for the madness to stop, and for the state to move forward.”

Despite firmly denying the charges against him, Swallow did admit that he regretted not being more careful when filing to run for Attorney General.

“When I was making my filings for Attorney General, there were some legal questions I had about what I needed to include in the filing or not,” Swallow said. “In hindsight, if I had known it would be an issue at all, I wish I would’ve just disclosed it anyway.

“Now, the problem with that was,” he continued, “I had to sign on the line saying that what I was writing was true and accurate to the best of my belief. So when I talked to my lawyer about it — and then later when I talked to the election lawyer for the state about it — they both agreed that it was not something that I needed to disclose. So I didn’t.

“But I wish, in hindsight, that I had just taken that off the table. But you just don’t know in the present that something might become an issue later on,” he said.

Swallow’s interim replacement is expected to be nominated sometime next month, but it remains to be seen whether the special House investigation of the Attorney General will continue.

Governor Gary Herbert issued a brief statement on Swallow’s announcement, saying he had accepted his letter of resignation and requested that the Republican State Central Committee “convene as soon as is practical” to pick three potential appointees for the governor to choose from. He added, “John’s decision is in the best interests of his family, his constituents and the State of Utah.”

Swallow was elected to office last year, but has been dogged by implications of wrongdoing for virtually his entire tenure. Accusations against the Attorney General range from failing to disclose business dealings as part of elections filings to improper influence-peddling in exchange for donations.

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill says that the announcement won’t likely have an effect on the criminal investigation of the Attorney General by his office.

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