Breakdown of an impeachment process

By Cristina Rendon

Published 06/07 2013 05:46PM

Updated 06/07 2013 07:16PM

SALT LAKE CITY, (ABC 4 Utah) – Impeachment is a strong word floating around Utah’s Capitol as investigations loom over embattled Attorney General John Swallow, but if Swallow is in impeachment proceedings, it does not necessarily mean he will be impeached or removed from office.

Isaac Holyoak with Alliance for a Better Utah said impeachment is a long and costly process.

“It’s an extremely complex process and there's no precedence here in Utah, everyone is kind of figuring out as they go,” Holyoak said.

A member of Utah’s House of Representatives estimated an impeachment could cost taxpayers roughly $2 to $4 million.

But there is a difference between someone being impeached and removed from office.

“Impeachment does not necessarily mean removal,” Holyoak said. “If you remember, Clinton was impeached, but not removed from office.”

Here is a breakdown of the impeachment process.

The House of Representatives acts like a grand jury in the impeachment process. They will consider articles of impeachment and if any one passes with a 2/3 majority vote, the person in question in automatically impeached.

The Senate takes over during the trial phase and the impeached party is automatically suspended from office.

If the Senate finds the person innocent, he/she will stay in office, despite being impeached. If the Senate finds the person guilty, he/she will be removed from office.

An impeachment could be avoided if a person voluntarily steps down or resigns. Alliance for Better Utah believes as resignation by Swallow would be in the best interest of for the state.

“Independent of whether John Swallow has done anything illegal, he’s acted unethically and that is reason for resignation,” Holyoak added.

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