Time for Swallow to step down

keep-calm-and-just-resignSince 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 Federal Trade Commission just sued “The Tax Club” for running a telemarketing scheme that has victimized thousands of people, saying:

“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.

Comments

  1. Good grief. Why has this corrupt “well-known practice” gone on so long? Why so many silent?

  2. I’ve been watching this for a long time, and it’s not unlike watching a train wreck happen in slow motion.

    If you don’t mind me sharing, here are a couple of my pieces raising these issues last summer:

    http://publiusonline.com/2012/06/where-theres-smoke-or-an-fbi-investigation/

    and

    http://publiusonline.com/2012/06/city-weekly-asks-is-john-swallow-making-promises-for-donations/

    Time to resign? Possibly. But once he does, what does he have to trade, except for names?

  3. There’s a reason I didn’t vote for him in the first place.

  4. Joel Coleman says:

    Let’s return to principle and overlook the dramatic hyperbole for a moment. Here’s why I have a problem with the newspapers’ immediate calls for resignation: there should be a very high standard required to reverse the will of the people. Appointees, like the governor’s cabinet members or an assistant AG who works for an elected officer, not so much. I think they can be dismissed immediately when there is legitimate controversy. But invalidating the voice of the people based primarily on the flimsy allegations of an admitted federal criminal is not an action to be taken lightly or impetuously. “Distraction” or discomfort while the pieces are sorted out hardly qualifies as a legitimate standard for overturning an election.

    In truth, I’m more uncomfortable with the pitchforks and torches at this early knee-jerk stage than I am with some temporary political “embarassment.”

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m not condoning bad behavior, nor will I support any elected official based on blind loyalty. But as an elected official myself, I expect the benefit of the doubt from my constituents unless verifiable legal and ethical facts demand otherwise–and I’m willing to do the same for other public servants, on both sides of the aisle. With the current media feeding frenzy it’s not going to take long, so I prefer not to be so impetuous. Things will sort out and the truth will emerge.

    • Justice N. Patience says:

      Very good reply. The witch hunt is at least as disconcerting as the allegations upon which it is based. If Utah is known as the “fraud capital”, maybe that’s because so many here are willing to act without evidence, or make decisions based on headlines. The most recent story faults Swallow for the actions of persons who contributed to the political campaigns of his predecessor. You think he should resign because of that? Seriously?!

      If Utah is the capital of anything, it must be worrying about how we are perceived by others. Your post is a perfect example of that. Swallow should resign because these stories aimed at him are just too embarrassing. Sure, he should have his day in court, but only after he bows out of the public office to which he was elected so that we don’t all have to be embarrassed by the accusations. That attitude is truly shameful.

  5. Well Written post! Appreciate your points as they are very non bias.
    Please have Everyone sign up for the resignation petition.!

    http://www.change.org/petitions/john-swallow-must-step-down-and-resign-from-the-utah-attorney-generals-office?utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=url_share&utm_campaign=url_share_before_sign

  6. Autumn Cook says:

    I read through the Publius article, and it doesn’t provide any convincing proof of anything. If someone comes up against charges of wrongdoing 5 times in 18 years, it could be the result of a few things.

    1. The person is a sneaky backroom dealer who is involved in wrongdoing.

    2. The person does a lot of good, and there are people out to bring him down and get him out of the way.

    3. The person is inept at handling things in a way that is not only legal but also carries the obvious appearance of legality and ethical behavior – he doesn’t think ahead to the implications of an action and just plows ahead, to face the consequences later.

    I have not been following the career of Swallow, as I’m a relatively new transplant to Utah. And from my vantage point I don’t see enough actual evidence to convict anyone yet. Let the investigation unfold and discover what it may before calling for the resignation of someone who may fit into category 2 or 3.

  7. Connie Fielding says:

    Holly, remember our phone conversation a few years back. FBI has evidence on Swallow and Shurtleff, and our US Attorneys won’t prosecute them. Why? Hatch! A forensic audit needs to happen to include corrupt judges, AGs, CPS, GAL, JCC… And FBI subpoenaed for their evidence on all of them! Federal funds fueling this corruption in Utah — child trafficking, adoption rings, real estate, etc….

  8. Phill Wright says:

    My name is Phill Wright, I am the Vice Chair of the Davis County Republican Party. Although there are many differences between the Republican Party and the Democratic Party, one main difference is that when a Democrat is caught with his hand in the cookie jar, the entire Party rallies around him to protect him from corruption charges, and to convince the public that it wasn’t really the cookie jar or it wasn’t his hand, thus he usually gets away with it. On the other hand when a Republican is caught in the same scenario, the Party tends to turn away. Why? I believe it is because as a Party we hold our elected officials to a higher standard, and we do not condone corruption. I have worked very hard over the years as a Republican Party Leader to help get good “Conservative” Republicans elected. But I am ashamed, insulted, and furious when those that I rally behind engage in corruption, get caught and then try and blame someone else! I think it is important to get the facts when there is a serious allegation, and then to complete a full investigation before rendering a verdict. Attorney John Swallow has not been proven guilty (yet), but we are now seeing charges of corruption, unrelated to the last charges. It doesn’t look good Mr. Swallow. Your reputation isn’t the only reputation on the line, the Utah Republican Party helped get you elected and our reputation stands to be tarnished if you are found guilty. I hope that if these allegations are true that you will do the right thing, admit your mistake and resign. If these things are not true, then you have the power as the Utah Attorney General to make sure anyone involved in a plot to tarnish your reputation or career is prosecuted to the full extent of the law! I hope you make the right choice!

  9. This is the way government works, my friends. The AG office has been corrupted. The legislature and Congress have been corrupted. I don’t know that it began with Mark Shurtleff, but it is the way things are. So why did Shurtleff get off the hook but now Swallow? Or why does Orrin Hatch get away with it? They all do the same thing. This is business as usual. I’m not condoning it. I oppose it. I was shocked when the voters chose for the 2nd Congressional District a man (a good man, by the way) who LIVES off government contracts that are bought and won by lobbyists. Read my article on “Legalized Bribery” for more…

    Read my article http://cherilyneagar.com/?p=1058

  10. If our previous attorney general and our current one took money from the tax payers they should pay it back and give it to they people and the charities that need it to help more people who need it. John should resign because you cannot trust the attorney general office with a man who sticks up for mark and takes peoples money he needs to resign and if he dosent then our legislatures should impeach him and get somebody who is trustworthy and who doesn’t lie to the people of utah and makes a cap on how much money to spend on a campaign. Thanks cheryl spangler

  11. jbtalcott says:

    Phil Wright has made some sweeping accusations leveled at the Democratic Party in this blog. I challenge him to give some specific examples of his allegations as they apply to the Democratic Party in Utah. He needs to give names, approximate dates, and verifiable acts of wrongdoing on the part of democratic office holders. How about it Phil? Do you have any facts whatsoever to support your charges or are these statements just more of the bloviation we have come to expect.

  12. Phill Wright says:

    jbtalcott, I appreciate the opportunity to respond to your question. Let me clarify my statement above. My comments were directed at the National Democrat Party, not necessarily at the Utah Democratic Party. I happen to know some wonderful Democrats in Utah, many of whom are good friends. However, the national Party has become evil and corrupt. They have taken God out of their platform, they support partial birth abortion, Gay marriage, they have trampled on the constitution with laws that make it difficult for States to enforce, prosecute or stop illegal immigration, with President Obama, they have created the largest government dependent generation in US history, with a massive increase in food stamps and welfare that continues to increase, and now they are targeting the second amendment to take away guns from citizens that have the right to protect themselves from government tyranny.
    The Democratic Party has rallied around President Obama who has never answered for his role in Benghazi where US citizens were murdered as the US military was told to “STAND DOWN, he has blocked information from coming forward in the “FAST AND FURIOUS” weapons give away in Mexico that caused the MURDER of a US Boarder Control Agent, in an effort to protect Attorney General Eric Holder, and possibly himself.
    Where has the National Democratic Party been on these issues? Are they demanding an explanation? No, they continue to rally around this man as Americans die and our constitutional rights are being stripped away by “Executive Order.” Nancy Pelocy has been implicated in illegal trade as she has helped her husband obtain millions from insider trading. Gee, did she get away with that? Did her Party come to her aid? Yep! Harry Reid has also been caught in Real Estate scandals, Hillary Clinton, the Secretary of State, has managed to avoid answering to Congress for her role in the Benghazi affair, Timothy Geithner, the Secretary of the Treasury is a known “TAX CHEAT”, yet he was confirmed as the Democratic Party looked the other way.
    I have given you many examples of corruption in the Democratic Party on the national level, and pointed out how the Party simply looked the other way. I don’t have time to go deeper and add more. But let’s look at what happens when a Republican elected official is caught in corruption. In 2009 when Republican S.C. Gov. Mark Sanford admitted he had an affair, he was reprimanded by the Republican Party, and all of his adversaries, yet when former President Bill Clinton was caught in sexual scandals, and then Impeached by the US Congress for perjury, the Democratic Party continued to make excuses for him and rally around him, and to this day he is still the most revered Democrat President (by Democrats), in recent US history.
    My point is that when a Republican screws up, his Party does not rally around him to create a barrier that cannot be pierced, yet for Democrats, they often revere one of their own when they beat the system through corruption, immorality or Executive Order!
    As I said in my comment about Utah Attorney General John Swallow, a man I supported, if he is found guilty I will be one of the first to tell him to resign! I will not support ANY politician who is corrupt! I will not rally around him, make excuses, or pretend that it never happened. I would be very happy if he was innocent, but right now with the information that continues to roll in, including comments that came from his own mouth, it doesn’t look good. I realize that he, like every American, deserves a fair trial, and I look forward to an honest investigation that will bring out the facts, an hopefully exonerate the innocent and convict the guilty.

  13. MMBrigham says:

    Mr. Swallow needs to resign immediately. He should not be allowed to wait until after a trial. Yes he is entitled to a jury and I support his right. As an attorney, we take an oath to uphold the law. We expect the Attorney General to uphold the laws and live by the laws that he expects the citizens of Utah to live by. HIS OFFICE PROSECUTES UTAHNS EVERYDAY. Yes he is entitled to a trial, but as an elected official, an attorney, and the AG he MUST be held to a higher ethical standard. He has breached that standard with the information that is currently available.

  14. Connie Fielding says:

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Now, according poplar Utah blog writer, Holly Richardson, more evidence is coming out that more such deals of problems being taken care of by Swallow once he gets in office. And in her blog she outlines two more instances. hollyonthehill.com/time-for-swallow-to-step-down/ [...]

  2. [...] All of these actions only further the accusations and rumblings that the AG’s office has been effectively operating a paid protection racket, allowing donors to write a check to make problems go away. Even if there is nothing to them, bringing this dark of a cloud with you should warrant that you leave immediately. Multiple newspapers agree. So do high-profile politicos. [...]

  3. [...] Time for Swallow to step down (hollyonthehill.com) [...]

  4. [...] Time for Swallow to step down (hollyonthehill.com) [...]

  5. [...] Time for Swal­low to step down (hol​ly​on​the​hill​.com) [...]

  6. [...] Time for Swallow to step down (hollyonthehill.com) [...]

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