John Swallow and the House Investigative Committee findings

john-swallowJohn Swallow’s resignation as Utah’s Attorney General on Dec 3 brought to an end the question of whether he would leave under his own power or be impeached.

The House investigative committee released its findings in 12 hours of testimony just before Christmas. In bombshell after bombshell, it became obvious that had Swallow not chosen to resign, impeachment was likely just around the corner.

Some of the information released was information that has already been out in the public arena, like the Krispy Kreme conversation between Swallow and Jeremy Johnson.

However, much of it was new, and breathtaking in its breadth and depth. In fact, there were several times when members of the committee and others in the room alternatively gasped or groaned out loud at the revelations.

Day one focused on data deletion – but also data CREATION designed to mislead and misinform.

Steve Reich, the lead investigator said they believe that Swallow intentionally destroyed data and fabricated new data to cover tracks. Voters in Utah were kept in the dark about the payday lenders who funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars to Swallow, some of which he used to attack both Sean Reyes and former Rep. Brad Daw. Reich explained that the Swallow provided “shifting and at times contradictory” explanations, changing his story time and again to accommodate information the committee uncovered.

Reich presented evidence that after the Krispy Kreme meeting, Swallow went on a month-long data deletion spree. In fact, in one of the new bombshells, sworn testimony from the state’s IT guy shows he was asked to wipe everything as early as July 2012.  Reich points out that hundreds of thousands of dollars were spent trying to prove that emails weren’t lost in a system migration, something John Swallow knew all along. Oh, and he lost a another external hard drive…..

Rep. Francis Gibson said that “unless you believe in a technology-eating dragon, it certainly looks like there is some obstruction there.”

Day 2 started with this statement: “Yesterday, destruction and fabrication of evidence were part of the story, but they were not THE STORY. Today, we will hear the real story.”

Investigators then laid out an elaborate web that fingered campaign operative Jason Powers, Mark Shurtleff, John Swallow and staffers Jessica Fawson and Corie Chan.

They showed there were three levels to Swallow’s campaign money – the transparent one, the shadowy or obscure one with PACs and the hidden one with a 501c4 funneling a lot of money to destroy political opponents.

By the end of day two, I wanted to throw up. Money laundering, falsification of evidence, a software company co-owned by Swallow and Powers that wiped data from cell phones, federal campaign law violations, gold coins, pre-paid debit cards, 12 attack mailers designed to “take out” Brad Daw – and then we got to the Bank of America lawsuit. Mark Shurtleff, in his final act as Attorney General, walked away from a lawsuit representing 5000 Utah families to do a favor to a donor.

Rep. Mike McKell summarized the feelings of many when he said “There are people who need to go to jail” over this.

Indeed.

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