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Lawmaker who’ll lead Swallow panel has ties to Johnson
Utah Legislature » Snow willing to step aside if House leaders see a conflict of interest.

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In addition, Snow’s firm was named as trustee on at least eight property transactions in Washington County that involved entities the receiver alleges were used to hide assets for Johnson.

Johnson is defending himself now in the Nevada case. He also faces 86 felony charges in Salt Lake City’s federal court — where he is represented by prominent defense attorney Ron Yengich — over his business dealings.

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A gag order in the criminal case forbids Johnson from commenting to the news media.

Johnson previously has accused Swallow, then Utah’s chief deputy attorney general, of helping to arrange to bribe Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., to thwart the FTC probe of I Works.

Swallow, who became attorney general in January, insists he only helped Johnson set up a lobbying deal, and Reid’s office says it has no knowledge of Johnson or any such effort.

Swallow and his predecessor, Mark Shurtleff, are the subjects of investigations by federal and county officials. Swallow also faces two ethics complaints filed with the Utah State Bar, including one by the state’s former director of consumer protection alleging he violated attorney-client rules by discussing a consumer-protection case with a potential donor.

Snow will lead the House committee that includes four other Republicans: Jim Dunnigan of Taylorsville, Mike McKell of Spanish Fork, Lee Perry of Perry, and House Majority Leader Brad Dee of Ogden.

There are four Democrats: House Minority Leader Jennifer Seelig and Rebecca Chavez-Houck, both of Salt Lake City, along with Susan Duckworth of Magna and Lynn Hemingway of Holladay.

Utah Democratic Party Chairman Jim Dabakis, who is also a state senator, said that Snow’s potential conflicts show what happens when the majority Republicans control the committee.

"It’s frankly outrageous that there are ethical issues arising within this committee just 24 hours after it was named," Dabakis said.

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He said to regain trust, Lockhart should replace Snow with a Democrat to chair the committee.

Swallow’s attorney, Rod Snow, who is not related to Lowry Snow, said he doesn’t believe Lowry Snow’s involvement in the Johnson-related cases makes it impossible for him to head the committee.

"His firm’s concern is whether the FTC has over-reached on certain businesses [and] investors who did business with I Works before the FTC sued [Johnson] and froze his assets," Rod Snow said. "I think Lowry is an attorney of integrity and sound judgment."

Swallow, who is a Republican, denies any wrongdoing and has pledged to cooperate with the panel.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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