State auditors to perform in-depth study of Utah Attorney General’s office

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SALT LAKE CITY -- As investigations continue into the actions of Utah Attorney General John Swallow, state lawmakers called Monday for an audit of his office.

Lawmakers said with Swallow already under investigation, it’s a good time to take an in-depth look at the entire operation.

House Speaker Becky Lockhart, R- District 64, said the time was ripe for such a review.

“It has been a long time since the Attorney General's Office has had an audit such as this, and so we were reflecting the will of the House, if you will,” she said.

Rep. LaVar Christensen, R-District 32, requested the probe in a meeting of the legislative audit subcommittee, but Legislative Auditor General John Schaff said a full-blown audit was too much for his office to handle. The committee approved a two-month study into the Attorney General’s Office.

“My concern is that an in-depth budget review and performance audit would take about 27 percent of the capacity of my office, and right now, everybody’s fully staffed,” Schaff said.

Lockhart said the political pressure means pushing the Swallow investigation to the front of the State Auditor’s two-year backlog.

“I don’t think you can take the politics out of it,” she said. “This came up in discussions with the House of Representatives, as we’ve been discussing in investigative committee.”

Schaff said his office hopes to have the study completed by November.