Utah lawmaker quits before ethics hearing

July 7, 2008 at 3:48 PM

SALT LAKE CITY, July 7 (UPI) -- A Utah state lawmaker has resigned on the eve of a bribery investigation hearing even while insisting he did nothing wrong.

Rep. Mark Walker, R-Sandy, was accused of having offered his opponent, Deputy Treasurer Richard Ellis, the opportunity to keep his job and a robust raise if he would drop out of the race for state treasurer. The matter had been scheduled to go to a House Ethics Committee but was canceled after Walker resigned, citing family concerns, the Salt Lake Tribune reported Monday.

"By resigning and not participating in the pending ethics proceeding, I am not in any sense conceding unethical or illegal conduct. Rather, I must resign because I find myself in the crossfire of a political battle that seems to have an intensity completely unrelated to me or anything I have done," Walker wrote in his letter House Speaker Greg Curtis. "I choose to not participate further because the toll on my family and me is just too great."

Two county attorneys have been appointed by the Utah state attorney general to investigate whether state bribery laws were violated by Walker.

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