Utah has some of the highest payday lending rates in the nation. That’s according to a new report released this week from the Pew Charitable Trusts. The research indicates that a state’s limit on interest rates is the key factor driving loan pricing. Utah is one of seven states where there is no legal limit.
Members of the House Special Investigative Committee of former Attorney General John Swallow presented their final report to the full body of the Utah House of Representatives Wednesday. The presentation on the House floor marked the conclusion of the nearly 9 month long investigation into Swallow.
The House Committee investigating former Attorney General John Swallow pushed back the release of their final report Friday. It is now scheduled for public release some time next week. Committee Chairman Rep. Jim Dunnigan, R-Taylorsville, says he delayed the release to be able to include information they only recently recovered from a crashed hard drive in one of Swallow’s personal computers.
A bill imposing new restrictions on payday lenders in Utah passed a crucial vote in the Utah Senate today. HB127 requires payday lenders to disclose the terms of their consumer loans, including the typically high interest rates, before a contract is signed. And the Lenders won’t be allowed to pick the courts where they file lawsuits against borrowers who default either.
Sen. John Valentine, R-Orem, cited the example of a payday lender in St. George.
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.
Governor Gary Herbert has selected Sean Reyes to be Utah’s next Attorney General. He says all three of the candidates referred to him were qualified for the job, but ultimately it was Sean Reyes’ experience in both the public and private sector that made him the one who would fit best.
“He is eminently qualified for this responsibility and this job and I think it comes at a time that is unique in our state’s history, that’s going to take a unique personality to come in and turn the office around,” Herbert says.
During day two of the House Investigative Committee’s report on former Attorney General John Swallow, investigators described a web of organizations that Swallow used to hide and obscure money received from payday lending companies. Chief investigator James Mintz said he accomplished this with the help of campaign consultant Jason Powers, who created most of the shell organizations.
In a day long meeting, special counsel Steve Reich revealed information that former Attorney General John Swallow intentionally created and deleted data in an effort to mislead the Utah House investigation.
Members of the Utah Republican state central committee selected Sean Reyes, Robert Smith and Brian Tarbet as their nominees for Attorney General. Governor Gary Herbert will now choose one of these candidates to replace John Swallow. He says he hopes to do it as soon as possible, and hopefully before Christmas.
“I’m going to interview them, I’m going to talk with them. It’s about restoring trust in the AG’s office and confidence for the people of Utah. And I think I’ve got three great people to choose from.”
The Salt Lake County District Attorney’s office and the Davis County Attorney’s office have filed six felony charges against Timothy Lawson. Lawson is an associate of Former Attorneys General Mark Shurtleff and John Swallow and is sometimes referred to as a “Fixer.” Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill says the charges suggest Lawson engaged in consistent criminal activity.
Republican Candidates vying to replace former Attorney General John Swallow, faced off in a debate on Wednesday night. They answered questions that came from across the state using the Utah Education Network’s video conferencing infrastructure.
At midnight on Monday John Swallow officially became the former Attorney General of Utah. And while there are several Republicans vying to become the appointed replacement, the Governor won’t make that decision for another few weeks. Until then, Major General Brian Tarbet will be the acting Attorney General and dealing with the transition won't be easy.
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.
Leaders of the Utah Democratic Party are calling on Governor Gary Herbert to hold a special election to replace Attorney General John Swallow, instead of appointing the replacement himself. But, there might not be a legal path for what the Democrats want.
Several investigations into Utah Attorney General John Swallow will continue to move forward despite his resignation from office.
Democratic Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill and Republican Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings have been investigating Swallow since early this year. They’re trying to determine if he’s violated any state laws, specifically those against selling influence. Because of that, Gill says Swallow’s resignation will have little, if any, effect on what they’re doing.
Utah Attorney General John Swallow has submitted his letter of resignation to Governor Gary Herbert and will leave his office on December 3rd.
John Swallow said he decided to resign from office because the pressure on his family from the several ongoing investigations into his conduct had just become too strong. He said he’s spent nearly $300 thousand of his own money in his defense and that he couldn’t see an end in sight.
Embattled Utah Attorney General John Swallow is denying that he ever intentionally deleted emails from his computers. He’s also accusing the special counsel for the House committee investigating him of being inflammatory and unprofessional.
A week before their second meeting, the House Special Investigative Committee is already collecting documents and creating a list of potential witnesses as it looks into allegations against Utah Attorney General John Swallow.