Harry Reid’s name surfaces in Utah bribery case against two ex-attorneys general
By John Solomon
The Washington Times
Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Utah prosecutors on Tuesday filed criminal charges against two former state attorneys general in a court filing that makes tantalizing references to a possible pay-to-play influence scheme involving U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
In a court filing in Utah County, District Attorney Sam Gill charged former attorneys general John Swallow and Mark Shurtleff with numerous felony state crimes, including bribery, acceptance of illegal gifts, evidence tampering and a "pattern of unlawful activity."
The charges were expected for months and both men were taken into custody. Mr. Shurtleff served for many years as Utah's top law enforcement official before retiring in 2013 and was succeeded by Mr. Swallow, who resigned in controversy after just a year. Both are Republicans.
The court documents filed by Mr. Gill unexpectedly included detailed information about federally indicted Utah businessman Jeremy Johnson's efforts to secure a meeting with Mr. Reid of Utah and Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah.
The records state Mr. Johnson approached Mr. Swallow and Mr. Shurtleff in 2010 about help on two matters – one involving online poker laws and the other involving a pending Federal Trade Commission case against his company. The requests included efforts to secure meetings with Sens. Hatch and Reid.
The court records state Mr. Swallow reached out through an intermediary to secure the meeting with Mr. Reid and informed Mr. Johnson "that the price to obtain access" to someone who could arrange the meeting "won't be cheap."
Mr. Johnson reached out to Mr. Swallow's intermediary in a Oct. 7, 2010 email with the subject line of "Senator Reid."
"I talked with John Swallow and he said you might have some connections to Reid that might be helpful to us," Mr. Johnson wrote in the email, citing his problems with the FTC.
The court records allege Mr. Johnson subsequently wired money to an account controlled by the intermediary totaling $250,000 and that the intermediary subsequently sent some money to Mr. Swallow.
The court records make no further mention of what happened to the Reid meeting or whether the money was spent in connection with that meeting.
However, Mr. Johnson has alleged after he was indicted by federal authorities that he was told the money was supposed to be spent securing Sen. Reid's help in the FTC commission.
Mr. Reid's office has long dismissed the allegations as nonsense. But Tuesday court records are the first to officially link Mr. Johnson's efforts to get a meeting with Sen. Reid to the exchange of money.
Mr. Gill, the local prosecutor in Salt Lake City, was one of two state prosecutors who told The Washington Times back in March that they had stumbled onto possible incriminating information involving Sen. Reid and that his office was using FBI agents to assist in that investigation.
"We're just two local prosecutors but everybody who was supposed to look at this evidence above us has made a decision not to, and by default left it to us to investigate and prosecute at the state level," Mr. Gill said at the time.