Wed February 12, 2014
House Committee Debuts First Bills to Come Out of Swallow Investigation
Candidates for state office and the Utah legislature could soon be required to disclose a lot more information when they run for office, and they’ll have former Utah Attorney General John Swallow to thank for it.
Members of the House Special Investigative Committee of John Swallow introduced drafts of four bills they plan to run this year in response to their findings about the former Attorney General’s conduct. One of the bills would require candidates to disclose detailed information about campaign spending, including itemizing expenditures made on behalf of the candidate by someone else like a political consultant. Committee Chairman Jim Dunnigan, R-Taylorsville, says finding the right balance will be key to the success of any legislation.
“We are trying to address things that a small group of people or an individual, an action or actions that they do, and then we have to be careful that we don’t overreach and make it practically impossible for good actors to try and comply and then they get swept up in this, and that’s not our intent,” he says.
Committee members debated several items in the draft bill. The most debated issue was a provision that would require the spouse of the candidate to also disclose detailed employment information. But Rep. Rebecca Chavez-Houck, D-Salt Lake, says in light of how Swallow used his wife to hide ties to certain businesses, they shouldn’t be too quick to dismiss that part of the proposal.
“Given what happened in this particular circumstance I think we shouldn’t quite put that to the side yet," she says. "I think we just need to continue to look at that because it was abused.”
Rep. Dunnigan says he expects two of the four drafts to become officially numbered bills sometime next week.