See Utah’s ex-A.G. John Swallow testify about allegations
Investigation • Video excerpts available of his deposition in the probe by the lieutenant governor’s office.
Published: January 16, 2014 02:49PM
Updated: January 15, 2014 12:01PM
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John Swallow talks about founding P-Solutions during his video taped deposition, October 15, 2013.

Before and after he resigned, Utah Attorney General John Swallow issued only broad denials to the myriad allegations of misconduct or unethical behavior that drove him from office.

Now you can see Swallow answer hard questions, under oath, about some of the accusations, thanks to videotaped testimony he gave to attorneys hired by the lieutenant governor’s office to investigate potential election-law violations.

Swallow testifies about campaign donations from payday-loan entrepreneur Richard Rawle, the man whom Swallow connected to St. George businessman Jeremy Johnson for help in stalling a federal probe of Johnson’s online-marketing company.

“You know,” Swallow says at one point, “someone alleges that I’ve tried to bribe a senator. I call for an investigation, and I’m thoroughly turned upside down and, you know, investigated for 10 months.”

The former attorney general also reveals he was “scared to death” after his now-infamous Krispy Kreme meeting with Johnson about political fallout he could face.

You can view clips of the video recording of Swallow’s deposition taken Oct. 15 and Oct. 25. The Salt Lake Tribune has chosen 11 excerpts and posted them on YouTube for viewing. Swallow is being questioned by Matthew Lalli, an attorney at Snell & Wilmer, the firm hired by the lieutenant governor’s office to conduct the investigation.

To access the complete videos of the deposition, go to: http://ltgovernor.utah.gov/johnswallow/

Tom Harvey

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The Tribune has selected 11 segments from Swallow’s videotaped deposition and posted them on YouTube for viewing.

They are:

1. Swallow explains the work he did on a cement plant project for Richard Rawle and how he created backdated invoices after his Krispy Kreme meeting during which Jeremy Johnson warned Swallow that it would look bad if he received any of the monies Johnson had paid to Rawle to try to stall a federal investigation into Johnson’s I Works company. In fact, Swallow had received monies from Johnson’s funds, but he later returned them and asked to be paid out of other accounts for work on the cement plant. He also created the invoices to “document the work I’d done.”

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2. Swallow explains his understanding of donations from payday-loan operator Richard Rawle to his election campaign for attorney general. Swallow says some of the money may have been donated to a fund controlled by former Attorney General Mark Shurtleff and then to Swallow, but “I don’t want you to make it look like I’m testifying that a donation to Mark Shurtleff’s PAC was a donation to me. I’m not saying that.”

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3. Swallow talks about a fundraising email he sent to Kip Cashmore, the head of a payday-loan company based in Ogden in which Swallow solicited donations from that industry but said he wanted the money to come in various ways so it didn’t look like he was the payday lenders’ candidate.

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4. Swallow talks about his introduction of Jeremy Johnson to Richard Rawle for what Swallow says was an effort to use Rawle’s lobbying experience to help Johnson deal with the federal investigation into his I Works company. Swallow says Rawle told him about a good lobbyist contact with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

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5. Swallow talks about an email he sent to Jeremy Johnson in which he talks about Rawle making contact in Las Vegas with someone close to Harry Reid. Swallow denies he was deeply involved in the arrangement concerning Reid.

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6. At one point during the Krispy Kreme encounter, Swallow says: “There’s nothing wrong with anything that I’ve done criminally. Now, politically I go whoa.” The investigator asks, “What did you mean by that?”

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7. Swallow explains remarks he made at the Krispy Kreme doughnut shop in Orem. “You know, someone alleges that I’ve tried to bribe a senator. I call for an investigation, and I’m thoroughly turned upside down and, you know, investigated for 10 months.”

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8. Swallow explains again his efforts to create backdated invoices and writing a letter to Richard Rawle to ensure he was being paid for work on the cement plant and not the Rawle-Johnson deal involving Reid. Swallow says he doesn’t want it to become an issue in the primary election he is facing.

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9. Swallow says he prepared notes he gave to his attorney, Rod Snow, who drafted a statement Richard Rawle signed just days before he died of cancer that says the Rawle-Johnson deal was strictly for lobbying, anticipating questions might be raised about Swallow’s involvement in the deal.

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10. Swallow concedes he goofed when he changed the registration of two businesses from himself and his wife and then didn’t list them on candidate-disclosure forms. He says he was attempting to distance himself from those companies and demonstrate that “I wanted to be the attorney general a 100 percent of my time for the public if I won.”

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11. Swallow explains his reasons for not disclosing his relationships with business entities and income from gold coins he received from Rawle and that a desire to prevent an investigation was not a factor.

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To watch the full video of excerpts from John Swallow’s deposition, click here.