Since I posted a couple of days ago about the need for an outside investigation into allegations involving John Swallow, more information has come out about campaign donors and “making problems go away.”
Disappointing doesn’t cover it.
John Swallow needs his day in court, but the controversy surrounding him continues to grow, is now a huge distraction and frankly, an embarrassment for the state of Utah. It’s time for John to step down and let the Attorney General’s office be led by someone not under a cloud of suspicion and federal investigation.
After days of insisting he is absolutely innocent and can’t imagine why anyone would make up a story like he says Jeremy Johnson did, a new story emerged tonight.
“The defendants promise, but fail to deliver, customized tax advice, personalized business planning and individualized business credit counseling, all supposedly provided by experienced professionals with specialized expertise,”
They promised services but what they delivered were intense strong-arm tactics that defrauded people out of hundreds of millions of dollars, either through The Tax Club or one of its numerous shadow companies. Right smack dab in the middle of the case is Attorney General Swallow and former AG, Shurtleff, who between the two of them took in at least $170,000 from said companies.
Today, Robert Gehrke of the Salt Lake Tribune detailed the AG’s most recent woes. He includes a quote from Ryan Jensen, a former business owner.
It was a well-known practice among Utah’s booming call-center industry that if you wanted to thrive, you had to give money to Shurtleff and, after that, Swallow.”
Today’s latest information shines a whole new light on last summer’s City Weekly story about a telemarketing business owner who was in trouble. Then, it was a one time aberration, maybe explained away.
Now, it’s a pattern…..
On the recording, you can hear Swallow say:
“Utah is so dysfunctional right now. Again, the client—the client is the Department of Commerce and Consumer Protection and that is not someone we can control or even influence greatly. It’s because they work for the Governor’s Office……Now, this is kind of confidential, but when I’m the attorney general, I will try to restructure it so Consumer Protection is under the Attorney General and the attorney general has more authority over those investigations. In fact, complete authority over that.”
Later, he says: “If [Shurtleff] understands, then [we’ll] see if we can do something to help out that makes sense. I know there are always two sides, even to a very thin pancake,” and promises to set up a meeting with Shurtleff, himself and the business owner.
I see no way for John Swallow to continue as the Attorney General under these circumstances. A number of sources have called for his resignation, including the Daily Herald, the Tribune, and The Spectrum in St. George.
I add my voice to theirs.
Ignoring this type of behavior is what gives politics a bad name and I’m tired of it. I’m also disappointed in the many voices that are silent in all of this. We should not be afraid to speak up when things are not right.
The people of Utah deserve better.
PS: For a detailed timeline of John Swallow headlines dating back more than a decade, check out this post: Where there’s smoke by Publius Online.