Utah House panel delays final report on ex-Attorney General John Swallow
Laura Seitz, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — More information retrieved from former Utah Attorney General John Swallow's personal computer delayed release Friday of the House Special Investigative Committee's final report.
An electronic copy of the report, anticipated to be 215 pages long with 3,700 pages of exhibits, won't be ready until the middle of next week, said Rep. Jim Dunnigan, R-Taylorsville, committee chairman. The panel had anticipated having it ready Friday.
"We hope to get the information out as soon as we can. It's just the gymnastics of getting it out on the Web," Dunnigan said.
The committee met behind closed doors Friday to discuss a draft of the report, including new emails recovered from the crashed hard drive of Swallow's personal computer.
Legislative general counsel John Fellows said Swallow's attorney gave investigators an additional 400 emails about 10 days ago after the committee paid a computer forensics expert $100,000 to recover the data. Some of them were relevant to the investigation, he said.
Fellows said the emails showed that Swallow had knowledge of the political action committees and nonprofit entities that investigators say his campaign consultant, Jason Powers, set up to hide $400,000 in contributions. Much of the money came from the payday loan industry to which Swallow had close ties.
The emails also showed Swallow knew about the effort to oust former Republican state Rep. Brad Daw using the campaign funds, he said. Daw, of Orem, was running legislation to put more restrictions on payday lenders.
In all, investigators were able to recover about 2,000 emails from the crashed hard drive that Swallow's attorney said wasn't recoverable, Fellows said.
The new information makes for "substantial" additions to the final report, he said.
Rod Snow, Swallow's attorney, said he submitted a brief response to some of the committee's findings presented in a two-day meeting in December, about two weeks after Swallow resigned. Snow said he didn't know if they would be included in the report, and the committee has refused to give him an advance copy.
"It appears they have no interest in hearing both sides to their version of events and their distortions of the facts," Snow said in an email.
Dunnigan said he anticipates the committee will present the final report to the full House by the middle of next week. The report also would be made available to the public online in an easily searchable format that includes responses to subpoenas, correspondence and expenditures, he said.
The investigation, which began last August, has cost the state about $4 million — $1 million more than originally estimated.
"They want to try and justify the money they have spent when there were so many other compelling needs for that money," Snow said. "This entire process has been unfair to Mr. Swallow, and that should be obvious to everyone."
Swallow remains the subject of a joint criminal investigation by the Salt Lake and Davis county attorneys.