Lt. Governor Spencer Cox announced today that he will not pursue civil action against Utah Attorney General John Swallow.
Cox says he won’t pursue the case because Swallow has already resigned. He says because the outcome of resignation and civil action is the same, a vacated office, moving forward would only be a waste of time and taxpayer money.
“Short of spending $200,000 in a six month trial to end up exactly where we are today, I don’t know what else we could do except to forward it on to the other investigators,” he says.
The Lieutenant Governor also addressed claims made by the Utah Democratic party that if a judge invalidated the election it would mean Swallow never took office. Cox says there is no legal basis for that argument.
“I’ve talked to no fewer than five different attorneys and none of them could go through the mental gymnastics that allow for this concept that John Swallow never existed or never came into office,” Cox says.
Utah Democratic Party Chairman Jim Dabakis says he still still believes that if the party took a complaint to a judge he or she would rule in their favor, but for now he won’t be filing any lawsuit. Instead, he backs a suggestion made by Republican State Senator John Valentine who is asking the Governor to appoint a replacement who won’t run for Attorney General in the 2014 election.
“It’s certainly more pragmatic now to have this Valentine plan and proposal work," Dabakis says. "If the Governor’s on board we’ll certainly back off the less pragmatic and more philosophical idea of going to a judge.”
Both Dabakis and Cox say they expect that legislators will be proposing changes to state law in an attempt to fix some of the problems discovered by the events surrounding Swallow and his resignation.