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Utah Gov. Gary Herbert: I would fire John Swallow
Scandal » But Utah’s governor isn’t calling for the attorney general to resign.


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gehrke@sltrib.com

Twitter: @RobertGehrke

At a glance

Allegations against Swallow

Utah Attorney General John Swallow has come under scrutiny on a number of fronts:

Bribery allegation » Indicted St. George businessman Jeremy Johnson has, at times, accused Swallow of helping to arrange to bribe Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. Swallow says he only helped Johnson set up a lobbying deal.

Special consideration? » Three Utah businessmen have said Swallow, as a fundraiser for his predecessor, Mark Shurtleff, in 2009, suggested that a contribution to Shurtleff’s campaign would win them special consideration if there were complaints about their operations to the attorney general’s office.

Rules violation?» At least two complaints have been made to the Utah State Bar, one by the state’s former director of consumer protection, alleging Swallow violated attorney-client rules by discussing a consumer-protection case with a potential donor and suggesting the target meet with Shurtleff.

Withholding information? » The lieutenant governor’s office is in the process of hiring a special counsel to investigate a complaint that Swallow concealed business interests on his candidate financial disclosure forms, including a company central to the Johnson deal.

Posh vacations » Convicted businessman Marc Sessions Jenson said Swallow and Shurtleff took posh vacations to his Newport Beach, Calif., villa on Jenson’s dime while he was free on a plea deal with the attorney general’s office. During the trips, Jenson said they pressed him for fundraising help and other financial deals.

Shurtleff’s new gig

Just days after parting ways with an international law firm, former Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff has started his own government-relations business.

Shurtleff announced on his Facebook page that he had formed The Shurtleff Group, a Washington, D.C.-based firm, effective June 1.

On his Twitter account, Shurtleff reported over the weekend that he was attending the Republican State Leadership Committee meeting in Mackinac Island, in upstate Michigan, where he was representing the Entertainment Software Association.

ESA represents the video-game industry and contributed money to Shurtleff’s campaigns for attorney general.

As a three-term attorney general, Shurtleff touted the organization’s self-imposed ratings and opposed efforts to penalize retailers that sell violent video games to minors. His office joined nine other states to argue against a violent video game ban when it went before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Shurtleff said last week that he had resigned his position with the law firm Troutman Sanders, saying the travel and demands of the job were taxing on his family.

Shurtleff declined to comment on his new venture.

He is part of a wide-ranging investigation by federal, state and county authorities into allegations that he and his handpicked successor, John Swallow, abused their office.

Robert Gehrke

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