Every week seems to bring a new revelation about John Swallow’s pre-election activities. His supporters (all three of them) keep saying to wait until the evidence gets out, but the way I see it, it’s only getting worse. I don’t know how you explain it all away.
Forget about the facts. Never mind claims that Swallow tried to help an indicted businessman “influence” a U.S. Senator with $600,000, that former AG Mark Shurtleff asked the feds to investigate Swallow, that the Tribune, the Daily Herald, and the Spectrum have called for Swallow’s resignation, or that 49% of voters want resignation.
Forget all that. Swallow can’t swallow the words that he’s spoken, the words that indicate that he wasn’t walking the straight and narrow in his run for public office.
He was trying to keep stuff out of the public eye, whether by changing ownership of his companies or by hiding his activities.
To Jeremy Johnson, a large contributor to his and Shurtleff’s campaigns under investigation for scamming consumers, Swallow said:
There’s nothing wrong with anything that I’ve done criminally. Now, politically, politically, I go, whoa.
Why the “whoa”? Could it be due to the fact that he’s taking money from people he could or should be prosecuting? Hanging out on their million dollar boats? Flying around on their jets?
But there’s been no evidence of that–
THIS JUST IN…THE TRIBUNE REPORTS THAT THREE BUSINESSMEN ACCUSE SWALLOW OF OFFERING LEGAL PROTECTION IF THEY CONTRIBUTE…DEVELOPING…
Ok, so maybe there is evidence of Swallow taking money from people he should be prosecuting. The three spoke to the Salt Lake Tribune, each independently of the others. Combined, the three donated $50,000 to the Shurtleff campaign war chest when Swallow was Shurtleff’s fundraiser. Two of the three have been interviewed by the FBI.
“Essentially, what we were told was: ‘Look, at the end of the day, we want to know who you guys are, because if someone gives us a complaint or calls us from another agency. … We want to be able to head it off at that level,’ ” one of the businessmen recalls Swallow saying.
If it were coming from the mafia, we would call that “protection money.” In Utah, or rather in the Attorney General’s office, they call that “campaign contributions.”
“We now had a friend at the highest level of Utah law enforcement,” one donor said. In case you were wondering, Utah law does not allow the solicitation of campaign funds with the promise of any official action.
“[P]olitically, I go, whoa.” Well, yes, John: we’re all going “whoa” now.
Powers’ “hazy” memory becomes less hazy.
In response, Swallow sent his campaign adviser, Jason Powers, to respond. By email. (It’s safer that way, you know? No accidentally getting recorded saying something “politically” whoa-worthy on the record). Powers was unequivocal:
“The campaign is not going to speculate on these absurd accusations by anonymous sources,” Jason Powers said in an email Tuesday night. “However, I’ve been eyewitness to hundreds of fundraising meetings and phone calls by Mark Shurtleff and John Swallow. I’ve never heard either of them say anything like that. In fact, I’ve heard them stress the opposite, that a donation does not get you any special treatment.”
In contrast to his memory of those hundreds of meetings and phone calls, the last time Powers’ was asked about a meeting Swallow attended, his memory was “hazy.”
While he was in jail, Johnson said, Swallow worried Johnson was cutting a deal with federal prosecutors. Just after Johnson’s release, and with Swallow a candidate for attorney general, Johnson said Swallow and his campaign consultant, Jason Powers, met him at a St. George hotel, where Johnson said he again pressured Swallow to come up with the money.
Powers said his memory about the meeting is hazy, but he recalls the atmosphere as being cordial and remembers discussion of a meeting with Rawle that Johnson claimed Swallow attended, but Swallow said he had not. According to Powers, Johnson agreed.
You know how memory is, though; you can never recall exactly what you need when you need it. Apparently, the meeting with Johnson, out on $2.8 million bail after he tried to flee the country to South America, just didn’t merit retention, while those hundreds of routine fundraising phone calls and meetings do. What will Powers remember next? Or forget?