Utah State Senator Stuart Reid, showing his displeasure with Attorney General John Swallow’s lack of regard for public opinion during a recent press conference, sent a letter to many of his Senate colleagues with the subject: “My loss of impartiality.”
Senator Reid provided Sutherland with a copy of the letter:
Leaders and Colleagues,
Both the Senate and the House have already spent an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out the best approach to recover public trust in the Attorney General’s office and in state government generally. It is apparent that we will spend even more time and possibly millions of dollars trying to restore public trust. This is and has been our primary focus, as it should be in this case, particularly while numerous other investigatory agencies are trying to discover if any of the accusations of criminality against General Swallow can be substantiated. In the face of our reasonable efforts to secure the faith of the people in our government and on the heals of the House’s decision not to impeach at this time, General Swallow declared to the press that he does not care about public opinion. That declaration was sandwiched between both a celebratory attitude and at moments flippant responses to the press.
The only thing that could be worse than the untruthfulness of General Swallow’s declaration that public opinion did not matter to him, is in fact that his declaration was truthful and thereby further undermines efforts and resources expended to restore the public’s trust. To me this is unacceptable and deserves to be publicly acknowledged as such.
How others feel about it and what they do about it is entirely up to them. But for myself alone, I cannot and will not camouflage that what occurred at General Swallow’s press conference has significantly affected my impartiality.
I think all of the senators know that heretofore I have been very aggressive safeguarding impartiality for myself and the body, even to the point of frustrating some who wanted to speak out earlier. I apologize to them, apparently I was wrong in my assessment of the situation. With the loss of personal trust and confidence in General Swallow, I will no longer intervene to protect impartiality as I have in the past. In fact, considering the Senate’s circumscribed role, I am now considering whether I should now altogether withdraw my participation from the Senate’s adjudication process under the state constitution.
Stuart C. Reid
Utah State Senate