On Monday, it was announced that FBI search warrants were served on former Utah Attorneys General John Swallow and Mark Shurtleff.
The two Republican AG’s have been under a shadow of speculation since January, 2013, when allegations were levied by Jeremy Johnson, who has been accused of several felonies related to fraud, that Swallow was willing to use his influence to prevent Johnson’s conviction in exchange for campaign contributions. Since that time, additional allegations of corruption would tie Shurtleff to an alleged history of corruption in the Attorney General Office.
In late February, Utah Political Capitol reported that Salt Lake County Attorney General, Sim Gill (Democrat), predicted that incitements against Swallow would be coming within three to six months. With the search warrants handed down against Swallow and Shurtleff would be a large step in the direction of formal charges being placed against the two former politicians.
Gill, who has been working with Davis County District Attorney, Troy Rawlings (Republican), told Fox 13 that “[FBI agents are] engaged in a very robust open active investigation.”
In a report released in March, a special legislative investigatory committee alleged that Swallow used the office of Attorney General to benefit himself and his political friends and allies and that Swallow lied about and intentionally destroyed documents to hinder the legislature’s investigation.
That same investigation also would implicate Swallow’s 2012 campaign staff, alleging that the campaign would create complex financial transactions to hide hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the payday loan industry in Utah, an industry that both Swallow and Shurtleff would vigorously defend during their respective times in office.
Investigators believe that the documents currently seized would lead to eight criminal charges including misuse of public funds and soliciting a bribe.
In a statement released Monday evening, newly elected Utah Democratic Party Chair, Peter Corroon, said that “today’s warrants are another step in the 18 month long Swallow/Shurtleff scandal. We applaud the efforts of Sim Gil and Troy Rawlings, who have championed this investigation during a time when agencies ranging from the Department of Justice, the Utah State Bar Association, and the Republican leadership of the House investigative task force lacked the will to push on.” Corroon added that “Sim never gives up and he never gives in – he is relentless in the pursuit of justice and the truth. Utah is lucky to have him on the case.”
**Correction: Utah Political Capitol incorrectly stated in an earlier version of this article that Jeremy Johnson has been found guilty of several felonies. He has only been accused.**