- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 12, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Utah lawmakers investigating former Attorney General John Swallow are working on proposals that tighten campaign reporting requirements and laws about evidence tampering, among other regulations.

The nine-member bipartisan House committee reviewed two draft proposals Wednesday afternoon that were prompted by the investigation.

Rep. Jim Dunnigan, a Taylorsville Republican who chairs the House committee, said two other bills are in the works.

Dunnigan said it’s difficult to say whether the legislation they’re working on will prevent a similar situation with an elected official, but it will add clarity to the law.

“I don’t expect that we’re going to prohibit any bad acts somebody wants to do,” Dunnigan said to reporters after the committee’s meeting. “But I think if we update it, we’ll have a good tool going forward.”

One proposal addresses state laws about tampering with witnesses and evidence.

A draft of the bill states it would be a violation if someone interfered with a legislative investigation, audit, proceeding or other civil process. It would also add evidence tampering or falsifying a government record as offenses under an existing law against any pattern of unlawful activity.

Violations under that law are a felony that carries a possible prison term of one to 15 years.

The other proposal spells out explicitly which business entities and conflicts of interest candidates are required to disclose.

The committee discussed the proposals but did not take any action. They can make changes and recommend a proposal. Any official votes approving and advancing the legislation would be done by a legislative committee once the bills are formally introduced.

Dunnigan said the first of the bills should be available in a week or so.

He said the committee will have to meet again soon to discuss the other proposals, which clarify the powers of legislative investigations and make additional campaign finance regulations.

He said lawmakers will have to continue to study other lingering issues, such as outside employment by state workers, once the legislative session ends this year.

Swallow, a Republican, resigned late last year. His nearly 11 months in office were overshadowed by accusations of misconduct, including allegations he offered to protect several businessmen in return for favors.

He repeatedly denied wrongdoing and has pledged to clear his name.

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