Former lawmaker: talk of impeachment for A.G. Swallow

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SALT LAKE CITY — A former lawmaker claims Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill are talking about the possibility of impeachment for Utah Attorney General John Swallow.

The chatter follows a controversy that began with allegations that Swallow arranged a $600,000 bribe to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to get the Federal Trade Commission to back off the investigation of former St. George businessman Jeremy Johnson's company, iWorks.

Johnson brought Swallow into the spotlight by alleging he was part of the plan. Johnson released emails and a secret recording of a meeting between the two.

Swallow and Reid deny all allegations, but it's unclear whether Swallow will escape the controversy unscathed.

No one has come forward to start the impeachment process. But former lawmaker and well-known political blogger Holly Richardson, who has strong ties on Capitol Hill, said both Democrats and Republicans are talking about impeachment behind closed doors.

In an interview with KSL late Thursday night, Richardson would not name the lawmakers involved in these discussions, but said she has had conversations with at least a half-dozen of them.

She said on the Democrats' side, there has already been a call for Swallow to resign. Richardson said Republicans are now weighing the options, too.

"They're talking about some of the reasons," she said. "They're talking about the likelihood every time a new story comes out where there is more and more to the story. They are starting to see that this is something that might become inevitable."

Who is Holly Richardson?
  • Former member of the House from District 57
  • Served Jan. 2011 - Jan. 2012
  • Resigned to work on former senator Dan Liljenquist's U.S. Senate campaign

Swallow, who faces allegation of facilitating bribery, has denied any wrong-doing in relation to dealings with Johnson. Swallow's actions, however, are under federal investigation.

Richardson doesn't expect the investigation to wrap up until after the current legislative session.

"I think this is an issue that has not gone away and is not likely to go away soon," she said. "I'm disappointed to see that the public office of A.G. is now damaged in the public eye. It's going to be hard to rebuild that trust."

According to the Utah Constitution, the attorney general may be impeached for high crimes, misdemeanors or malfeasance in office. It would take a two-thirds vote from the House before an impeachment process could go to the Senate for an impeachment trial.

KSL recently asked House Speaker Rebecca Lockhart if any paperwork has come forward to have that happen. She said she was not aware of anything at this time.

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