Time to end the Culture of Corruption

Train wreck, AKA Utah's Attorneys General

Train wreck, AKA Utah’s Attorneys General

I’ve had it.

I’m disgusted at the stories that continue to come out about Utah’s Attorney General. Current guy, previous guy….it’s disgraceful.

And the hubris…..the hubris knows no bounds.  In a recent appearance on the Doug Wright show, current AG John Swallow said “I am not a crook” and “I did not have criminal relations with those men.” (OK, maybe those weren’t his exact words – but they sure sounded like them to me.) Swallow DID say he was not guilty of doing anything illegal and as long as he was not charged with a crime, well then, the people of Utah would know that he did nothing wrong.

It’s mind-boggling that someone has to explain to the state’s “top cop” that just because something might skirt the edge of “technically legal” does not make it RIGHT!!

(And conversely, “against the law” doesn’t make something wrong or immoral – sometimes we just have bad laws…..but I digress….)

We have had a plethora of stories about John Swallow and his – ahem – poor judgment.  We have multiple witnesses, multiple stories, multiple angles and more coming out all the time.  Just how many will it take, I wonder?

I’ve been calling for Swallow’s resignation since January. Some people agree with me (more and more all the time), but a few still want to know why I’m being “so hard” on poor John.  Here’s the real kicker – people are telling me to stand down because “That’s just how things are done.” What the wha?  What makes you think I would EVER be OK with corruption as the status quo?  I mean seriously…..

Those people were right about one thing, though – apparently in the Utah Attorney General’s office, that IS how things are done – at least when you’re the head honcho.

Today’s story about then-Attorney General Mark Shurtleff sitting down and offering a Utah businessman $2 million to shut up and go away is one more in an ever-widening sludge pond – a stinking, oozing, sticky mess. What the freaking heck?!?!

The arrogant, narcissistic, and by the looks of it, criminal behavior of these men is truly astounding. The fact that they don’t know or don’t care about the damage they are inflicting makes me wonder how tone-deaf they truly are.

They didn’t just damage the public trust.  They broke it, stomped on it, stabbed it, burned it, buried it and continue on their merry way, sometimes pausing to wonder why all those mean people are picking on them.

They have destroyed the reputation of the Attorney General’s office. It will take months of disinfecting, of sunlight and of a SCRUPULOUSLY squeaky-clean new Attorney General to repair the trail of devastation they are leaving behind. Can you even imagine being an employee in that office as more and more comes to light?  There are many good,, honorable people working in the AG’s office who are as horrified as I am and who cringe daily, wondering what new revelations the “story of the day” will bring.

Mark Shurtleff and his protege, John Swallow have cast a pall upon all elected officials. Good people, with the best of intentions, are in public office. I know many of them and would trust most of them with my life – and my tax dollars. But Shurtleff and Swallow make it darn hard to trust any elected official, don’t they?

They are trashing the reputation of the Republican party, again, with no apparent concern for anything but their own hide (and money. Can’t forget the money.) I am proud to be a Republican but gosh – I’m embarrassed to be in the same party with them.

I am a common-sense conservative – and I don’t see any common sense OR conservative values coming out of the AG’s office right now.

Yes, I know some people get annoyed when I call out Republicans but guess what – ethics is not partisan. And, I’ve never really been part of the good old boys club…but you knew that, right? RIGHT?

I also understand the caution when there’s only one story, two stories – maybe even three stories, but this whole scenario? This has legs. Big time. I read all those stories, but I can’t count ’em all. There are too many – and they continue to accumulate.

Maybe you caught the story earlier this month where Swallow’s attorney, Rod Snow, said his “sense of the investigation is that it’s broader than what any of us realize. I don’t think Swallow is the focus of it.  In other words, I think it may be broader or have expanded.” Um, yeah. It would appear that investigators have not yet found the bottom of the iceberg.

I want to be crystal clear. I am NOT OK with a culture of corruption. It’s wrong. It needs to end. And it needs to end now.

I suspect that by the time this is over, Robert Gehrke will get a fancy-shmancy award for investigative journalism, Utah will have a new Attorney General – and the Republican party will spend months cleaning up the debris field left behind by these two train wrecks.


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  1. And my children’s and others in their generation say “That is how it is, and that is why we choose not to participate.” The greatest loss in all of this, is that thousands and thousands of the brightest and smartest in our country have decided to stand on the side lines and watch. It breaks my heart.

  2. jbtalcott says:

    This is but another symptom of our “one party” system in Utah where there are no checks and balances. There were qualified, experienced candidates with integrity who were bypassed for this position simply because of the “D” beside their names.

    Those conservatives who constantly push for even more Republican control in this state not only deny those with different views representation and a voice in our state’s government, they make Utah politics ripe for this type of corruption. As such they bear part of the blame in this situation.

  3. I’d be interested in reading about specific examples that have led to you feeling so passionately about Swallow’s resignation – I couldn’t find an obvious link in your post above. This post would be a good place for one though. You caught my attention.

  4. Bob Henline says:

    I agree with most of this, Holly, but I would rather see this investigation continue than see Swallow step down. This is deeper than just Swallow, and I want to see the entire corruption culture exposed. Swallow’s resignation would undoubtedly be part of some deal that would close the investigation, which just leaves us plodding along as usual.

  5. Kathie Johnson says:

    We all need to take responsibility for what is going on. When we are so busy with our day to day life and become uninformed we allow these things to happen. We need to get down to the truth of the situation and then deal with it.

  6. Chris Sloan says:

    My favorite line: “Ethics is not partisan”. Truer words never spoken (or written). Thank Holly!

  7. Kory Holdaway says:

    When the issues in the Attorney Generals office first surfaced I thought they would be investigated and very little would come from it. As time has continued the pale over the AG office has just gotten darker and darker. Something needs to be done on this in short order…it is this type of behavior that deminishes the public trust and hurts our republic. Let’s hope all questions and associatoins will be revealed and dealt with and that public trust can be repaired.

  8. Aimee Newton says:

    You are right on! Shady behavior should never be tolerated.

  9. Don Bixby says:

    Maybe the problem is that we’re trying to find ethical lawyers? We’re talking needle in a haystack here. Scott Wyatt is the only lawyer in the state I think I could really trust.

    But I agree that what is going on in the AG office seems more egregious than what I’d expect from most lawyers, and I think it’s because of the combination of lawyer and politician that has multiplied the problems. So how do we truly remove the politician aspect of the AG job, aside from appointing rather than electing the position?

  10. For every instance that makes it to the public, I am sure that there are at least three or four that don’t. In the words of one friend, if the Gehrke’s story last night was about Swallow, the ball game would be over. As it is, it feels like we’re just looking at the tip of an iceberg, and it’s threatening to take down more than just a ship.

  11. Tracy Taylor says:

    Concerned citizens in Wasatch County have tried to go to the AG, in the last decade, over numerous well documented concerns. The county attorneys over the years were not helpful. We were finally told by Shurtleff that his office has a fiduciary duty to the very public entity that we were reporting misuse of millions. This is a broken system, and the sad part is that the citizens of Utah believe this is where they are supposed to go for oversight of local public entities. Where can citizens go, besides expensive legal avenues, to get oversight and checks and balances in the system?

  12. Connie Fielding says:

    By time we are done — “being done” is years away. This is just the start. I guess you haven’t seen video on MERS? These boys are members of organized crime family called the Sucato Crime Family (aka East Valley Group, East Group and E G). And Shurtleff goes quickly to Hatch/Reid, Leavitt, Huntsman Jr., GAL Director Rick Smith, former CPS Dir. DePaulis, — just to name a few. There is no GOP, and there will not be anything to clean up. A third party will need to rise from the evil. Prophesies are being fulfilled before our very eyes. And the clue is when they ask Feds to investigate themselves, and if I’m not in jail that means I did nothing wrong. It is because their mafia boys are the FEDS that won’t touch them. It is Utah’s job to expose all of them and put them behind bars, but don’t worry, not just Mormon Utah boys, in ever state.

  13. laytonian says:

    The problem in Utah, starts with the Republican party’s stranglehold on every office — and every primary.

    Until we have a balanced Legislature, get rid of straight-ticket voting and have representation for ALL citizens, this isn’t going to get cleaned up.

    There are too many in power at the top of the pyramid in Utah’s one-party political system.

    (Sadly, Kevin Garn was OUR state senator. He wouldn’t even respond to anyone who offered an opposing opinion.)

    What will it take to change?
    The powerful calling someone else out. You can start that ball rolling, Holly. You can.

    • Whom are you suggesting I call out?

    • …and why does the Republican party have a stranglehold on every office? Could it be that the Democrats aren’t willing to compete for the hearts and minds of Utahns? Dabakis has given some lip service to the notion, but then he slips up and lets us know how he really feels about things, like his moronic tweet on the occasion of Lady Thatcher’s death. As long as the Democratic Party of Utah wants to be a haven for anti-Mormons, militant atheists, and socialists, we’re probably going to stay the course.

  14. One more comment, if I may. I lack the skill to articulate the disappointment I feel in failing, as a state delegate to the GOP convention, to have heard anything about the allegations against Mr. Swallow. Sean Reyes must have known, as well as Troy Rawlings. But how much were delegates told? Nothing. Maybe Sean and Troy were afraid they would be accused of negative campaigning or something. Congratulations for having the good sense to vote for Dee Smith, Holly; I now wish I had done likewise.

    Congratulations as well for receiving the Chairman’s Award at the organizing convention! I wish we had been successful at getting Dan elected. We sorely need him and others like him in Washington.


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