Scandal-plagued Attorney General John Swallow just can’t get out from under the storm clouds. A new complaint has been launched against him for breaking attorney ethics rules in a recorded phone call.
The official bar complaint against Swallow is being brought by outgoing Director of the Utah Division of Consumer Protection, Traci Gundersen, who says that the then-Deputy Attorney General violated ethical standards by having private conversations with a business owner who was the subject of an investigation.
Aaron Christner, whose telemarketing company was being fined $400,000, and who was being sued by the AG’s office to collect the fine, reached out to Swallow in April of 2012 (while Swallow was then the Deputy Attorney General and a candidate for the AG slot being vacated by Mark Shurtleff), and recorded his phone call while he asked Swallow for advice.
According to a transcript of the call published by the Salt Lake Tribune, Swallow told Christner:
I’d be more than happy to, to um, you know, have you sit down with the attorney general. I’m not the attorney general yet, but that’s not, I’m not over those areas yet,” Swallow tells Christner, who recorded the phone call.
“If he [Shurtleff] thinks it’s a good idea,” Swallow continues, “or he thinks you’re right, or at least, or at least he can help you see if there is something to be done to get it worked out with the lawyers here.”.
“Now when I’m attorney general — this is kind of confidential — I’m going to try to restructure it so Consumer Protection is under the AG and the AG has more, more authority over those investigations, right, in fact, complete authority over that.”
Gundersen says that because of Christner’s legal troubles with the state, Swallow was required by law to notify the Utah Division of Consumer Protection about the phone call with the target of their investigation. And instead of speaking with Christner, Swallow should have immediately consulted with the Agency because the Attorney General was representing them in the case.
This bar complaint is the latest in a string of allegations against the newly elected Republican Attorney General, who is also under criminal investigation by the FBI for allegedly facilitating a bribe of a US Senator for indicted businessman Jeremy Johnson. He is also being investigated for allegedly taking gifts from other businessmen who were under investigation, and an alleged campaign violation of not disclosing his business interests on his campaign filings.
You can see a full copy of the newest complaint HERE.