The Utah Lt. Governor’s office has picked the law firm Snell & Wilmer to be the special counsel in the investigation into whether or not Attorney General John Swallow violated state election laws.
The Lt. Governor’s office began their investigation into Attorney General John Swallow after the advocacy group Alliance for a Better Utah filed a complaint alleging that Swallow had violated several state election laws. The Lt. Governor’s office was able to dismiss several of the 12 complaints but found that three of them were credible enough to warrant a more thorough investigation. After receiving 14 bids, officials eventually decided on Snell & Wilmer. It is a national law firm with more than 400 attorneys based in several western states, including an office in Salt Lake City. The Lt. Governor’s Chief Deputy, Mark Thomas, says as part of the decision process they were extra careful when vetting the law firms for any potential conflicts of interest.
“We required each of the firms to list any conflict of interest they have, any potential conflict of interest, any appearance of conflict of interest, a list of campaign contributions they may have had, endorsements they may have done, that was all required up front,” he says.
Snell & Wilmer will now investigate the allegations that Swallow failed to report income received from several businesses on campaign financial disclosure forms. Thomas says he expects the investigation to last about 4 months. If Snell & Wilmer determine that there was a violation of law then a civil case will be brought against Swallow. If found guilty, a judge could force him to leave office, although Swallow’s attorney’s have said that such a removal would be unconstitutional on the basis that the legislature is the only body given power to remove a state officer.