Never before has a panel of Utah lawmakers been charged with investigating a sitting official. The nine member panel, made up of five Republicans and four Democrats learned Tuesday this investigation is going to take a lot of time and a lot of money.
The committee won’t actually be doing the investigation; instead it plans to hire an out-of-state firm.
“We didn’t rank them on in-state or out-of-state. We based it on experience and ability,” said Rep James Dunnigan, chair of the committee. “We did have some excellent law firms from Utah apply, but frankly there are other states that have had more experience with this type of incident we’re addressing here.”
Hiring this outside firm could cost Utah taxpayers anywhere from $500,000 to $3 million. Ten finalists have been selected and one is expected to be chosen Friday.
“We have got to do this right and it is going to take some money,” said Rep. Dunnigan. “Believe me I’m going to watch our dollar very thoroughly.”
The cost could go up if lawsuits are filed to halt the investigation.
Rep. Francis Gibson explained, “Inevitably there will so someone who is going to sue to delay the process and I think maybe the closer we get to finding answers or just finding facts that may increase the potential of lawsuits and litigations.”
If that does happen the committee says it will seek speedy remedies in the courts, but again don’t expect them to be speedy in this investigative process.
Rep. Francis Gibson said, “Haste makes waste. So to go in kind of half-cocked and in a really rapid pace you may overlook some of the things you very well may be looking for.”
Rep. Dunnigan told ABC 4 Utah, “It takes time to do the investigation and so we need to allow time and to have our expectations to do it and to do it fairly. It’s going to take time.”
The committee expects the investigation will likely run into the next legislative session.