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Group that sparked AG investigation hopes changes to state law will follow arrests

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah- (ABC 4 Utah) – Now that two former Utah attorneys general are facing felony charges, the group that initiated the investigation hopes the momentum will carry over to changes in state law.
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah- (ABC 4 Utah) – Now that two former Utah attorneys general are facing felony charges, the group that initiated the investigation hopes the momentum will carry over to changes in state law.

Alliance for a Better Utah noticed things weren't adding up in their minds and filed a complaint against John Swallow and Mark Shurtleff in March, 2013.

At the time they weren't sure if they'd ever see the day charges were filed.

"When we first submitted the complaint, I’ll tell you I had a lot of fear this was going to get swept under the rug. That's obviously a reality in politics across the country," said Executive Director, Maryann Martindale.

In this case the complaint gained traction and spawned investigations at the federal, state and legislative levels.

The former attorney’s general are now facing serious felony charges and up to 30 years in prison if convicted.

"We've believed all along in the charges that we have leveled against the former attorney general and the previous attorney general to him. And we feel like this is validation to the things we have done, all the research and work we've put into it," said Martindale.

Beyond the criminal charges the group wants reform to state law.

Representative Lynn Hemingway was one of nine members on the House Investigative Committee, he agrees the legislature has some work to do.

"We need to take a really hard look at our ethics laws and we need to take a really hard look at campaign contributions. We are one of a few states, maybe three states that don't have limits on campaign contributions. I think that's really critical," said Hemingway, (D) Salt Lake.

To Martindale the responsibility runs beyond the capitol.

"I hope this is a wake up call to our legislature, to voters, to the current attorney general and people who work in that office that we really need to change that."

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