January 22, 2018

More information on Impeachment from Lockhart to House Members [Documents]

lockhartSpeaker Becky Lockhart has sent another email to legislators on the impeachment process. It is the third such email, and her efforts to provide a cornucopia of information to legislators speaks highly of her office’s professionalism and due diligence. (In case you haven’t read the email or the documents attached to it, they’re embedded below).


Meanwhile, with the vast, left-wing conspiracy between Utah’s AWOL Democrats  and the Marxist media (i.e. the Salt Lake Tribune) in full swing, John Swallow is feeling “a little picked on” by the press.

Because, you know, the press likes to makes stuff up.

Except that the press hasn’t made stuff up. They’re just reporting what’s out there, much of which Swallow has already admitted.

For example:

  • Swallow was recorded having a conversation with Aaron Christner in which he told Christner, who was at the time pursued by Utah’s consumer protection agency and dodging $400,000 in civil penalties, that he–Swallow–wanted to take over consumer protection in the state from his client, the Division of Consumer Protection, so he could help out people like Christner. In the attorney world, we call this a violation of the client – attorney relationship. On KSL News Radio, Swallow said he was proud of the conversation.
  • SwallowSwallow’s campaign has admitted to repeatedly filing false or deceptive campaign finance documents, including some that hide Swallow’s last-minute change of ownership interest in companies to his wife. His campaign has called these “mistakes” or blamed the accountant. Nevermind that Swallow has a pattern of misleading campaign finance filings reaching back to his run for Congress. See here, here, and especially here. Suffice to say, after two federal campaigns, a stint in the Utah legislature, and several years as a lobbyist, Swallow either still hasn’t figured out how to accurately appraise the public of his campaign finances, or he really doesn’t want the public to know where his money is coming from and going to.
  • Swallow has admitted to repeated conversations with members of industries that receive high levels of scrutiny from government regulators due to their propensity to scam us, not to mention accepting a large portion of his campaign donations from them…not that there’s anything wrong with talking. It’s just that the talking–and the emails that have been published–seem to make it look like Swallow was not just talking, but also in business with them, and playing golf with them…and using their giant house boats….and so on.

And the allegations go on. It’s all in the public record. None of  this is spurious or made up stuff, but it does leave us all wondering: what is still out there that we don’t know about?

Even if none of what has been reported is illegal, it is costing Swallow the public’s trust, and that is the standard that legislators must use as they evaluate Swallow’s “side of the story.”


becky lockhartAnd so, Lockhart has provided more information to the House members on the impeachment process. If you ask me, she’s done a very good job of providing lots of information about how the process works, complete with legal analysis, quotes, and direction. Rather than a rush to judgement, it almost feels like she’s trying to hold temper passions and assure that legislators walk into the process informed and educated about the standards.

The documents sent out under Lockhart’s email address seem to urge caution, but also to allow broad leeway for the members of the House to exercise their judgment. After all, while they will decide whether to bring charges against Swallow (and then send him on to the presently taciturn Senate to pass judgment on the charges), they are not judges and many, if not most, lack professional legal credentials.

Among other things, the documents discuss:

  • “political crimes” (“the kinds of abuses of power or injuries to the Republic that only could be committed by public officials by virtue of the public offices or privileges that they held. Although the concept ‘political crimes’ uses the term ‘crimes,’ the phrase did not necessarily include all indictable offenses. Nor were all indictable offenses considered ‘political crimes.’”),
  • the lack of debate during the constitutional convention about the meaning of “impeachable crimes,”
  • the purpose of impeachment (“removal from office and potential disqualification from future office”)
  • the legitimacy of the impeachment process (the charges “must be so grave and the evidence for them so weighty that members of both parties agree on the necessity of considering the drastic remedy of removal from office”)
  • the necessity of impeachment as a check on corruption between elections (to show a “public commitment to honest government”),
  • and that an impeachment trial is not the same thing as a criminal trial (“The U.S. Constitution specifically differentiates between impeachment proceedings and criminal proceedings. For example, the impeached official has no right to a jury trial. Also, the President cannot pardon a conviction arising out of an impeachment.”)

I find this last point tell, especially since the spin coming out of the AGs office, and the AG’s surrogates, has tended to argue that we should all wait for criminal proceedings to come to fruition before passing judgment on Swallow’s fitness to remain in office.

Bollocks, according to this. They aren’t the same thing.

Read the documents below. They’re informative, educational, and, to wit, a fascinating look at a rarely used (thank heavens!) but essential part of the checks and balances in our republican form of democracy.


 

  Various Quotes[1] (regarding impeachment)

Assorted Materials (regarding impeachment)

About Daniel Burton

Daniel Burton lives in Salt Lake County, Utah, where he practices law by day and everything else by night. You can follow him on his blog PubliusOnline.com where he muses on politics, the law, books and ideas. He is active on social media, Republican politics, and has been named to PoliticIt’s list of the “Top-50 Utah Political Opinion Leaders” on Twitter. You can reach him directly at dan.burton@gmail.com

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