October 30, 2014

To Swallow: Return Donations that Cause Conflicts of Interest

Give the money back, John. Swallow

On Saturday, the Salt Lake Tribune published an analysis of Utah Attorney General John Swallow’s campaign donations, up to $105,000 worth of donations. The Trib analysis showed that a large portion of the donations to his campaign came from individuals and companies that were then, had been in the past, or were shortly to be under investigation by state government agencies that he now represents.

Taking money from donors who he should be investigating, or would soon be investigating as Utah’s Attorney General, during the campaign creates a serious conflict of interest.  If you can donate and receive protection from prosecution or special treatment, how can we trust Utah’s top cop to pursue justice impartially?

Or will every investigation begin by comparing the accused against his donation list?

For this reason, I call on John Swallow to return all donations from individuals or companies that are under investigation by any government entity.

It doesn’t matter that they were legal, even. As Swallow’s political consultant astutely, and cynically, told the Salt Lake Tribune, they are legal…but no comment on whether they were ethical.

Jason Powers, a campaign adviser to Swallow, repeated earlier statements that all the donations were legal. He did not respond to questions about ethical issues surrounding them.

Because they’re not. And Powers knows it. Heck, most of the money that flowed into the Swallow campaign account disappeared into an entity called “Guidant Strategies,” Powers’ consulting company. He’s been one of the largest beneficiaries of Swallows’ fundraising prowess. He’s the last person who would admit that there was anything wrong with the donations.

Let me be clear: there is something wrong with these donations. They may be legal, but it’s still wrong.

Returning the donations that cause the conflict of interest would not only demonstrate a commitment to the interests of justice that heretofore Swallow has failed to show, but it would go a long way towards removing the cloud of corruption that has shrouded his administration from the very beginning. Given that 83% of his donations come from groups that may fall under this category, it could be expensive, but hey: it’s worth it.

Put your money where your mouth is, John Swallow, and return the donations. Show you care more about Utah than about your campaign account, and give the money back.

It’s the right thing to do.


 

John Swallow took in $105,000 in campaign contributions from companies or individuals who already had run afoul of regulators — even though the attorney general’s office he hoped to run could be called upon to prosecute some of those same donors. (Salt Lake Tribune)

John Swallow took in $105,000 in campaign contributions from companies or individuals who already had run afoul of regulators — even though the attorney general’s office he hoped to run could be called upon to prosecute some of those same donors. (Salt Lake Tribune)


 

About Daniel Burton

Daniel Burton lives in Salt Lake County, Utah, where he practices law by day and everything else by night. You can follow him on his blog PubliusOnline.com where he muses on politics, the law, books and ideas. He is active on social media, Republican politics, and has been named to PoliticIt’s list of the “Top-50 Utah Political Opinion Leaders” on Twitter. You can reach him directly at dan.burton@gmail.com

%d bloggers like this: