In response to questions from state lawmakers about the allegations surrounding Utah Attorney General John Swallow, the Utah House Majority leadership is sending out weekly informational emails to legislators while the body considers options for dealing with the embattled public official.
Utah House Speaker Rebecca Lockhart, R-Provo, says she and other leadership members have been sending the weekly emails for about three weeks now. They mostly contain information regarding the definition of impeachment, and the procedures the House would have to follow if that’s the route they decide to go.
“It’s somewhat uncharted territory," Lockhart says. "So, we’re engaged all of the information together so that when and if it were to happen that we would be prepared and it would be done correctly.”
Rep. Johnny Anderson, R-Taylorsville, is taking his research into the allegations one step further. He recently invited Swallow, a few legislators, and two members of the media to his home so that he could hear Swallow’s own version of the story. Due to scheduling conflicts Swallow ultimately canceled the meeting, but Anderson says he’d like to reschedule and set up a public town hall meeting.
“I think he should come out and talk directly to the people," Anderson says. Because he doesn’t, you know, he doesn’t own a newspaper and have that kind of mouthpiece, so he needs to go right to the people with any information he has.”
While the town hall meeting is still just an idea, the House Republican Caucus is set to have an open meeting on June 19 where they will discuss the possibility of impeachment. Lockhart says that for her, the decision to impeach won’t be about finding criminal wrongdoing.
“They are separate and distinct functions, if you will, or processes," Lockhart says. "Impeachment is a political process not based on whether, you know, the criminal standard, but the public trust standard.”
Swallow is a subject in a federal investigation into an alleged bribery scheme and an investigation by the Lt. Governor’s office concerning whether or not he broke Utah election laws. He recently reached out to legislators in a letter highlighting the work his office is doing. He has also said that he is not a criminal and that he will eventually be vindicated of all the allegations against him.