A small but determined crowd hit the Hill Wednesday to call on legislators to begin the impeachment process against embattled and scandal-ridden Attorney General John Swallow.
Isaac Holyoak of the left-leaning Alliance for a Better Utah, the organization that set up the rally, says the public needs to understand that the impeachment process in the Legislature needs to start now, despite claims made by Attorney General John Swallow (pictured) that the process should wait until after multiple federal investigations have been resolved into his alleged facilitation of a bribe and involvement with convicted felon Marc Session Jenson, while Jenson hosted Swallow and others at a posh California resort on his dime.
“Those are all criminal investigations,” Holyoak says. “But there is also a political aspect to this that deals with public confidence; it deals with ethics, it deals with a betrayal of the public trust—and this is what impeachment [looks at]. Impeachment is a political process.”
Swallow surprised some by appearing at a breakfast meeting at the Legislature Wednesday morning prior to the GOP Caucus meeting to discuss impeachment. Swallow made a last-ditch appeal to those present to wait on impeachment until federal investigations concluded, estimating that it may take as long as October for those investigations to resolve.
Holyoak says the public can’t wait that long and wants legislators to begin their own investigation, through impeachment, into the ethics of Utah’s top cop.
“John Swallow is not going to resign because he feels like he has done nothing wrong, that’s why the Legislature has to act,” Holyoak says. “They should keep track of the executive branch.”
The crowd was “thin” for the rally, with only as many as 20 in attendance, but organizers say that the public is watching the Swallow scandal and wants action. A recent poll released by Brigham Young University found respondents giving Swallow only a 12 percent favorability rating, with 72 percent saying the Legislature should begin the impeachment process.
TJ Ellerbeck, President of the Young Democrats of Utah, said the ugliness of the Swallow scandals helps push young people further away from getting involved in government. “It’s hard for people to think things matter or that it's worth it to get involved when our government is full of stuff like this,” Ellerbeck says. While the rally may have been small today, Ellerbeck says the public momentum behind impeachment will keep pushing until the Legislature takes action.
“John swallow has proven that -- even if he is not guilty of everything he’s been accused of -- he’s not able to fulfill his office,” Ellerbeck says. “So, I think we should begin the process now.”