Could it really happen to anyone?

it could happenDo you ever get the feeling you just can’t get a straight story from the Attorney General’s office? Yeah. Me too.

One day after Governor Gary Herbert said he would fire John Swallow if he could, Swallow finally went and talked to a couple of media outlets (studiously avoiding the Salt Lake Tribune, of course) to declare that he had “broken no laws” and would not be resigning.

On the Doug Wright Show, Swallow was asked about lavish spending on his part at the posh Pelican Hill result. Swallow said he had no recollection of purchasing anything and noted that he hated sweaters. Except, of course, that we have copies of receipts with his name, room number and signature – and yes, they include the purchase an argyle sweater.

When asked by Rod Decker of Channel 2 if the Pelican Hill trip was paid for by Marc Jenson, he said he didn’t remember, then said he thought Marc Jenson’s company paid for it, then said he thought he and his wife paid for most of it and ended with saying it didn’t matter anyway because he was a private attorney then and not an elected official.

Oh, and he tossed out “I did not bribe a US Senator, therefore I am not impeachable,” referencing of course early allegations that he was trying to bribe Senator Harry Reid.

As you might recall, “High crimes and misdemeanors” does NOT equal criminal activity. In fact, an impeachable offense – or pattern of offenses – does not have to be an indictable offense and an indictable offense does not have to be a criminal offense.

Back to the problem of disinformation. Right now, the AG is splitting hairs (along the lines of “it depends on what the definition of ‘is’ is”) and claiming that #1: if he even remembers it, it wasn’t that bad. If it was bad, it wasn’t his fault. He, poor guy, is a victim of bad luck, a smear campaign and please don’t forget – it could happen to anyone.

Let’s look at that, shall we?

Last night, “Smitty” (@redsoxunixgeek) lit up Twitter with the meme “Things that Could Happen to Anyone” and “Things That Could NOT Happen to Anyone.” Best summary of the current AG situation I’ve seen in 140 characters or less!

Could Happen
Getting struck by lightning. Maybe even twice.
Couldn’t Happen
Getting recorded at a Utah county Krispy Kreme asking about paper trails and houseboats

Could Happen
Ending up on a TSA no-fly list on your honeymoon
Couldn’t Happen
Being on tape reminding a donor that a boat, rent free, is “probably” an ethics violation

Could Happen
Buying a timeshare in Southern Utah
Couldn’t Happen
Buying that timeshare from a guy who had been in federal prison for real estate fraud

Could Happen
Buying a sensible argyle sweater while in Southern California
Couldn’t Happen
Having the [spine] to charge the sweater to a convicted felon’s room while in So. California

Could Happen
Forgetting a list of political donations for your company
Couldn’t Happen
Multiple companies, forgetting the same donor, in the same cycle, in the same industry

Could Happen
Forgetting some assets on your campaign finance forms.
Couldn’t Happen
Forgetting those assets were in your wife’s name until it began to look sneaky

Could Happen
Being fired
Couldn’t Happen
Having the Governor of the state he would fire you if he could just because of the appearance

Could Happen
Disagreeing with the Sutherland Institute
Couldn’t Happen
Being the subject of a Sutherland Institute op-ed asking you to resign

Could Happen
Being the subject of 3 emails
Couldn’t Happen
Being the subject of 3 emails from the Speaker of the House regarding impeachment proceedings

Could Happen
Filing a campaign finance form as a business owner
Couldn’t Happen
Forgetting your wife was the owner and you were just primary counsel just 6 days later

Could Happen
Forgetting you spent $6 on a bad latte from Starbucks
Couldn’t Happen
Forgetting you charged hundreds to a felon’s credit card – and left receipts to prove it.

The next time you hear “it could happen to anyone,” remember this list. It’s extensive but not exhaustive. And it’s a heckuva concerning pattern.

Comments

  1. rmwarnick says:

    As some observers of the Swallow/Shurtleff mess have noted, we have a systemic problem. People who are merely interested in good government have little to gain by giving money to AG candidates. OTOH those who are trying to get off the hook for criminal behavior do have an incentive.