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Sen. Mike Lee says he's not aware of any investigation into his conduct

Published March 18, 2014 9:11 am

Swallow investigators have come across allegations against the Utah Republican.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Sen. Mike Lee said Monday neither he nor anyone on his staff has been contacted by any investigators in the criminal probe of former Utah Attorney General John Swallow.

"No one has ever reached out to me or my staff or my campaign about any investigation. As far as I've been able to tell, there is none," said Lee, R-Utah. "If they do start to reach out to me, as far as looking at the Swallow investigation, I'll cooperate completely. I'm happy to do that."

Two county prosecutors — conducting a long-running investigation of Swallow, his predecessor, Mark Shurtleff, and others — have said their inquiry turned up allegations of misconduct by Lee and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

The prosecutors, Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill, a Democrat, and Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings, a Republican, said federal investigators should look into the alleged impropriety, which goes beyond their ability to investigate or prosecute.

Reid's office said Monday that neither the senator nor his aides have spoken to investigators.

Lee's name appeared in the final report from the Utah House Special Investigative Committee released last week.

The report touches on Swallow's efforts to help raise money for Lee's successful 2010 campaign, including rounding up donations from St. George businessman Jeremy Johnson and a number of Johnson's associates.

Johnson now faces scores of federal felony fraud charges stemming from his I Works business, which prosecutors allege scammed customers out of $275 million.

"John Swallow, as you know, has been involved in Utah politics for a long time," Lee said. "Shortly after I announced my candidacy for the Senate in 2010, John Swallow was one of the many people who approached me and said, 'I'd like to be helpful,' and he was in [fundraising] and other ways.

"He himself was supportive," Lee added, "and introduced me to other people who were supportive."

In a February 2010 email from Swallow to Shurtleff, Swallow asks his then-boss: "can i [sic] introduce Mike Lee to Jeremy Johnson?" Shurtleff said he could.

By June, the report says, Swallow was "working hard" to raise money for Lee. In an email the day before the 2010 primary election, Swallow notified Johnson that four checks from Johnson associates had bounced. Johnson apologized and said, "I will get it fixed ASAP. Let me know whos [sic] bounced. I was in a mad rush to get those in so maybe I pushed a few people too hard."

gehrke@sltrib.com

Twitter: @RobertGehrke

Thomas Burr contributed to this report.