The FBI, the Utah Bar Association, and the Lieutenant Governor’s special counsel aren’t the only ones investigating Attorney General John Swallow. According to information obtained by Utah Political Capitol, a parallel investigation is being run out of the Salt Lake County District Attorney and Davis County Attorney’s offices.
Last week, convicted fraudster Marc Jenson provided receipts proving then-Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff and future Attorney General John Swallow took several vacations to his luxury California villa, payed for by Jenson. The trips included stays in his resort home, expensive meals, massages, rounds of golf, and supplies–all immediately after a plea agreement was made with the AG’s office, which included no jail time for Jenson. The deal was later thrown out by a judge, who deemed the agreement too lenient.
In February, it was reported that Jenson’s attorney at the time, Brent Burningham, asked judge Trease to refer the investigation to Sim Gill (D), Salt Lake County District Attorney, and Troy Rawlings (R), County Attorney for Davis County. In a phone interview Tuesday night, Burningham told us that he did make such a referral. When reached for comment, Gill and Rawlings confirmed they did receive the contact from Burningham and are proceeding with the matter, but declined any further comment.
However, sources close to the investigation who asked not to be named tell us it has been ongoing for months and both Mark Shurtleff and John Swallow are aware of the inquiry. They also claim two state investigators have been assigned to the investigation, which could lead to criminal charges independent of the federal investigation.
Yesterday, Swallow said on KSL that the federal investigation would prove him to be innocent. If federal prosecutors choose not to indict the state’s top cop on criminal charges, it’s likely that such a decision would only leave more questions as it would be unknown whether prosecutors thought he was innocent, or lacked enough evidence to proceed with an indictment even though they may have felt some level of guilt was present.
In January, indicted businessman Jeremy Johnson accused Attorney General Swallow of facilitating a bribe of US Senator Harry Reid to get charges against Johnson dropped. The liberal group Alliance for a Better UTAH filed election complaints against Swallow for allegedly filing false or misleading financial disclosures, which didn’t fully disclose his business interests. Last week, the outgoing head of the Utah Division of Consumer Protection filed a complaint with the Utah Bar Association against Mr. Swallow for allegedly breaking ethics rules by speaking with the subject of an investigation without notifying them. Swallow and Shurtleff have also been accused of offering protection to telemarketing companies who donated to their election campaigns. Both John Swallow and Mark Shurtleff have vehemently denied all the allegations.
House Speaker Becky Lockhart has indicated that impeachment of the Attorney General is an option “on the table,” and the entire ordeal is likely to be discussed further at today’s interim meeting.
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