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Invoices detail costs of Swallow investigation

- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 26, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - A legislative investigation into former Utah Attorney General John Swallow involved 17 investigators and 10 attorneys working for 9,300 hours in at least three states, according to invoices obtained by The Salt Lake Tribune.

The invoices for the outside attorneys and investigators detail a $3.36 million investigation, but some outstanding bills will push the figure higher to about $4 million, said Rep. Jim Dunnigan, R-Taylorsville, who chaired the panel investigating allegations against Swallow.

Time and costs for legislative staff attorneys that worked on the investigation are not included in the invoices, according to the Tribune (http://bit.ly/1gq7ZzW).

"There were many allegations that were made, so we had to kind of decide which ones to focus on and we kind of had ... to marshal our forces," Dunnigan said. He said the scope of the investigation kept growing as lawmakers dove in.

Swallow, a Republican, cited the toll of multiple investigations when stepping down, but denied any wrongdoing. He shot down accusations he offered protection to several businessmen in return for favors. Legislators wrapped up the fact-finding investigation after Swallow resigned late last year.

In the House investigative committee's final report released earlier this month, lawmakers said Swallow "hung a veritable 'for sale' sign" on door of the attorney general's office by inviting "moneyed interests to seek special treatment and favors."

One major cost of the investigation was about $250,000 spent last October. That went toward legal fights over the committee's subpoenas and the expense of hiring a technician to recover deleted data or documents from Swallow's computers and other devices.

Beyond the work in Utah, investigators traveled to Nevada and Arizona to seek out witness, documents and other leads.

Dunnigan said the investigation was worth the expense.

"There's no question in my mind that we hired the right firms to help us. I'm perfectly comfortable that we got the talent that was needed," Dunnigan said. "And I'm also very comfortable and assured it needed to be done and the comments I continue to get now that we've concluded our report just reaffirm that."

The report found Swallow stayed on a luxury houseboat with a businessman seeking legal favors, obscured campaign donations and destroyed records.

Swallow's attorney Rod Snow has said he and his client disagree with the report's conclusions and have repeatedly disputed lawmakers' findings. Snow has called their probe unfair and one-sided.

Besides the House investigation, Swallow was the subject of a U.S. Department of Justice bribery probe that closed last year without any charges.

An investigation from the Utah lieutenant governor's office, which oversees elections, concluded last year that Swallow likely broke state campaign laws in 2012 by failing to disclose multiple business interests. Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, a Republican, declined to pursue charges because Swallow had already announced his resignation.

Swallow, who has not been charged with any crimes, is the subject of two ongoing investigations_one at the Utah Star Bar and another led by two Utah county attorneys looking into possible criminal wrongdoing at the Utah attorney general's office.

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Information from: The Salt Lake Tribune, http://www.sltrib.com

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