John Swallow announced his resignation Thursday. It will be effective Tuesday, Dec. 3.
Swallow is under investigation for alleged bribery, extortion and campaign finance violations. Swallow said he did not resign as part of any deal to avoid criminal charges from a pending investigation.
He did admit that the investigations have taken a toll on his family, his office and his finances.
“I had to choose my family and my office over myself personally,” he said.
Swallow has spent roughly $300,000 of his own money fighting to defend himself. So far, the Special Legislative Committee has spent $1.5 million investigating him and trying to determine if changes need to be made to Utah election laws.
“Pure and simple I think the House investigation was calculated to drive me from office,” Swallow said.
But Jim Dunnigan, Chairman of the Special Legislative Committee, said the group was determined to be even handed, fair and thorough from the beginning.
“I take no pleasure in any results that have come from today,” Dunnigan said. My responsibility is to the State House and it’s a body that I greatly admire and to the public of Utah.”
Dunnigan said the committee will reevaluate where they will take their investigation, but said they are committed to finishing what they started.
“We await as a House, we await the final report of the Committee,” Speaker of the House Becky Lockhart said.
Governor Gary Herbert named Major General Brian Tarbet as the interim Attorney General. Herbert will soon pick a full replacement to serve until the next election cycle in November 2014.
In a statement, Tarbet wrote: “This has been a difficult time for the office of the Attorney General. The heart and soul of this office has always been the great attorneys and staff who strive to do the peoples’ work. I pledge to provide a steadying hand for the office and to assure that the significant legal work needed by the State will be accomplished until the new Attorney General is selected. The AG’s office will do all it can to aid the new Attorney General in assuming office.”
Republican Party Chairman James Evans said interested candidates in the position must file and campaign for votes to make sure they are one of the three names passed on to the governor.
“The governor will most certainly do his due diligence because it will rest with him to make the final decision,” Evans said.
Evans said the Republican Party will meet on Dec. 14 in what he called a “mini convention” to select the three candidates.
Swallow said being Utah’s Attorney General was one of the greatest blessings of his life, but it was hard than he had ever imagined.
“I loved this job not withstanding all the press,” he added.
Swallow said he looks forward to proving his innocence as a private citizen.