District Attorney says house investigation played an essential role in the criminal investigation of Swallow and Shurtleff

By Glen Mills

Published 07/15 2014 09:32PM

Updated 07/16 2014 12:58PM

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah- (ABC 4 Utah) – There were many moving parts in the criminal investigation of former Attorney’s General, John Swallow and Mark Shurtleff.

One was the final report from the House Investigative Committee.

Speaker of the House, Becky Lockhart commissioned the five republican, four democrat committee to get to the bottom of allegations against then AG, John Swallow.

They were on a fact finding mission to determine if changes needed to be made to state law, but it ended up going beyond that.

As criminal charges were named off one by one it came as no surprise to Representative Jim Dunnigan, (R) Taylorsville.

"Certainly a number of the charges seemed to correlate directly with the findings of our report."

Dunnigan chaired the committee, their report was the result of some 165 witness interviews and analysis of tens of thousands of documents over about seven months.

The more than 3000 page final report concluded the Attorney General's Office was up for sale under Swallow.

It claimed he cultivated relationships with individuals and particular Utah-based industries that resulted in a pattern of benefits, including campaign contributions, political favors, cash and other benefits, flowing back and forth between him and them.

"We came across a number of things that we thought somebody might want to look at this further. And we highlighted those things when we passed the baton over the district attorney's," said Dunnigan.

That report implicated names other than Swallow, like his predecessor, Mark Shurtleff among others.

Salt Lake County District Attorney, Sim Gill says it was essential to the criminal investigation.

"I think the house panel investigation needs to be really commended, because they stepped forward when they didn't have any obligation to do so," said Gill.

Even though it assisted the committee's focus wasn't criminal, it was about public trust and policy changes.

Dunnigan believes it resulted in substantive changes in campaign finance and conflict of interest reporting laws, but admits there is more that needs to happen on the legislative side.

"One of the things we still need to resolve is a more timely response to legislative subpoenas. And there's been some suggestion that we might want to try to modify the grand jury law in Utah and try to use that as an avenue," said Dunnigan.

That's because about nine subpoenas were not responded to during the investigation.

Dunnigan says it delayed their efforts and cost more money.

The final price tag for that investigation was $3.8 million.

Dunnigan and the Lt. Governor’s Office presented their reform suggestions to a legislative committee last month.

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