Legislative Coverage

Swallow Investigators Suggest Changes, Make New Discoveries

(KCPW News) A host of bills have been introduced in this legislative session in response to wrongdoings by former Attorney General John Swallow. But on Wednesday, special counsel for the House Special Investigative Committee revealed their recommendations for legislative solutions in order to prevent a similar scandal from happening in the future.

Special counsel proposed a number of changes in the first draft of a bill they presented to the committee. The bill attempts to tackle loopholes exploited by Swallow, such as a loose definition of coordination and financial reporting gaps.

Committee members carefully vetted the changes, and the question of “How far is too far?” came up time and again.

Democratic Rep. Rebecca Chavez-Houck commented on the delicate balance needed when scrutinizing the income of family members, such as spouses.

“If I look at it on a personal note, the primary interest that’s held in terms of the various holdings that my husband and I have are mostly his, and I think that, you know, we kind of got into this gig together, and we had those conversations before I got into this gig,” Chavez-Houck said.

She added, “I mean, I think we can explore it further, but given what happened in this particular circumstance, I think we shouldn’t quite put that to the side yet.”

In addition to discussions of possible legislation, the committee revealed that over 1,300 emails were recovered from John Swallow’s personal computer, and that those emails back up prior evidence of wrongdoing.

Committee Chair Rep. Jim Dunnigan: “We are still in the process, and our investigators and special counsel are in the process of going through (the emails). My initial blush is that, largely, the emails that are recovered corroborate the information that we presented in our December two-day committee hearing.”

Special counsel will present four bills in total to the special investigative committee, but none of those bills can be brought to the legislature before the committee finalizes its report on the investigation—at which point, lawmakers will have a week to debate the bills before the session ends.

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