Investigators refer to Swallow campaign as obscure and hidden

SALT LAKE CITY, (ABC 4 Utah) – For the second straight day members of the legislative committee investigating allegations against former Attorney General, John Swallow heard the case laid out by special counsel.
SALT LAKE CITY, (ABC 4 Utah) – For the second straight day members of the legislative committee investigating allegations against former Attorney General, John Swallow heard the case laid out by special counsel.

Friday, investigators shifted the focus to Swallow’s relationships and outlined a campaign they say was both obscure and hidden.

They presented a detailed look at the benefits investigators say businessmen provided to Swallow and he provided to them.

"The problem comes when there are benefits flowing in both directions and some of those benefits implicate the public official’s official duties," said Special Counsel, Steve Reich.

One example they outlined is Swallow's former boss, Richard Rawle.

Rawle owned Check City, but is now deceased.

Swallow allegedly received a $23,500 consulting fee from Rawle, $17,000 on a prepaid debit card, free, unreported office space for his campaign and other “sizable hidden donations.”

They also looked into relationships with indicted businessman, Jeremy Johnson and the owner of another pay day loan company, Kip Cashman.

The report goes on to tie Swallow to the pay day loan industry as a whole.

They cited an email from Swallow where he states he's hoping to raise $100,000 from the industry and said he would help others understand “the importance” of the industry.

Even so, investigators say Swallow wanted to keep the connection quiet.

"He desperately wants that money, you also see he wants that money quietly. He doesn't want it out in the public, because he's concerned that he not be perceived as the candidate of the pay day industry," said Reich.

Investigators say a complex web of entities followed.

The purpose was to funnel money from political action committees to nonprofit 501-C4's, which don't require donor disclosure.

"This just seems like a form of money laundering we're doing here, they are just moving the money around. The only thing they haven't presented to me is the offshore accounts," said Rep. Lee Perry, committee member.

Money, investigators say was used in predatory fashion against Swallow's main competitor, Sean Reyes and Representative Brad Daw, who introduced legislation to regulate the pay day loan industry.

They say in the end the industry helped Swallow defeat his opponent and he helped them defeat theirs.

"That kind of flow of benefits, back and forth with elected officials is pay to play. If it isn't dirty, why is it kept so secret," asked investigator, James Mintz.

This is not a criminal investigation, instead this committee is considering possible changes to state election laws based on this report.
Chairman, Jim Dunnigan tells ABC 4 Utah they will be assessing this evidence and will begin discussions in January.

Calls to Swallow's attorney for comment were not returned.

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