Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Salt Lake Tribune: Swallow Suggested Cash in Exchange for Protection, Sources Say

Suffice it to say that Utah Lumpencitizens are keeping their fingers crossed that federal prosecutors will continue digging into this grubby can of worms with the utmost vigor
That’s straight-up pay to play; and I don’t see any way that a prosecutor could consider that to be a legal, legitimate transaction or discussion.
Former GOP Legislator and SLC Attorney David Irvine
Swallow suggested cash in exchange for protection, sources say
February 12, 2013
Just from a smell test, it’s something that a prosecutor is going to have to look long and hard at.
Former Federal Prosecutor Brett Parkinson
February 12, 2013

"Honest" John Swallow
There's more devastating news for beleaguered Utah Attorney General John Swallow, as the Salt Lake Tribune delivers the blockbuster news this morning that three 2009 Mark Shurtleff campaign contributors have stepped forward suggesting that the Utah attorney General's Office has been running what looks suspiciously like a protection racket.  Here's the lede from this morning's SL-Trib story:
Three Utah businessmen say John Swallow suggested they would have protection in the Attorney General’s Office if they were willing to contribute to Mark Shurtleff’s campaign fund.
The three men independently tell strikingly similar stories. In separate 2009 meetings, Swallow indicated that donors would get special consideration if the Attorney General’s Office ever had to pursue complaints against their businesses.
Read the whole mind-boggling story here, WCF readers:
"Two of the three have been interviewed by the FBI, which is investigating Swallow," Trib columnist Robert Gehrke also reports.

So just as the Deseret News reported yesterday, it becomes clear that the ongoing federal investigation has expanded beyond a mere attempted bribery probe to investigating misconduct more broadly resembling racketeering.

Adding insult to injury, these so-far anonymous allegations, if proven true, could also amount to a violation of  Utah Code Section 78-8-105, which prohibits "soliciting campaign funds with the promise of any official action," thus raising the additional question of whether Swallow's inherent conflict of interest, as both Utah's top prosecutor and a public official accused of this statutory violation, disqualifies him to continue serving as Utah Attorney General.

It thus appears that even former Attorney General Mark Shurtleff might quite possibly be drawn into Swallow's mess, which might explain why Shurtleff is now scrambling to distance himself from Mr. Swallow.  And this tidbit is also most interesting, wethinks:
In 2009, state Sen. Steve Urquhart, R-St. George, took his concerns to the U.S. attorney and met with federal agents to discuss his suspicion that Shurtleff was protecting big donors.
Suffice it to say that Utah Lumpencitizens are keeping their fingers crossed that federal prosecutors (and the Salt Lake Tribune) will continue digging into this grubby can of worms with the utmost vigor.

"That Sinking Feeling" Via Pat Bagley (Salt Lake Tribune)


Blackrulon said...

It's a world gone crazy. The top elected law enforcement individual  in Utah could take ethics lessons from Matthew Godfrey.

Danny said...

Ever since I've lived here, I've always voted Democrat or Libertarian for attorney general.  It just makes sense to do that, since the dominant party is Republican.   You need that balance but in Utah there is never any balance.

It is great that the Trib is all over this story.  One supposes as the rot comes out, people will think about voting out the party that has controlled Utah for decades.

But I'll bet they won't.  Utah's political establishment may start ratting each other out for awhile, but eventually they will close ranks and cover the whole thing up when they realize the public will never vote them out no matter what they do.

Dan S. said...

I commend the Tribune (and the anonymous sources) for reporting this. But it's business as usual and no surprise whatsoever. Reminds me of the reasons our two local hospitals gave for contributing to Envision Ogden.

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