April 17, 2014
Harry Reid facepalming – oops!
Embattled St. George businessman Jeremy Johnson says new Utah Attorney General John Swallow helped broker a deal in 2010 in which Johnson believed he was to pay Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid $600,000 to make a federal investigation into Johnson’s company go away.
But when the federal government filed a lawsuit Johnson thought he had paid to quash, he demanded Swallow return some of the $250,000 initial payment. Then, just days before the Nov. 6 election, Johnson engaged in a frenetic but unsuccessful effort to get Swallow to drop out of the race, saying information about what Johnson called a “bribe” would come out and force the Republican’s resignation if he became attorney general.
Johnson’s allegations come less than a week after Swallow took the oath of office. Federal agents have interviewed several Utahns about Johnson’s relationship with Swallow, among other issues, according to those interviewed. The FBI would not comment.
Johnson said he does not know if any of the money he paid in the deal actually reached anyone connected to Reid.
Reid’s office declined to comment, spokeswoman Kristen Orthman said Friday.
To back his allegations, Johnson provided an email from Swallow that Johnson identified as key in supporting his claims. Johnson also granted access to at least several dozen other emails, two financial records, several photos and a transcript of about 60 pages of a secretly recorded April 2012 meeting Johnson had with Swallow, who was then Utah’s chief deputy attorney general.
The documents appear to support Johnson’s story that in 2010 Swallow brokered a deal between Johnson and Richard M. Rawle, owner of the Provo-based payday-loan company Check City, to enlist Rawle to use his influence to get Reid involved on behalf of Johnson and I Works, Johnson’s Internet marketing company that was under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission.
Swallow emphatically denies Johnson’s allegations and said he doesn’t understand why Johnson is spreading lies about him.
“Any suggestion by Mr. Johnson that I have been involved in illegal or inappropriate activity regarding his FTC case or any other matter is false and defamatory,” Swallow said.
Swallow insists Johnson approached him in 2010 and sought help to hire a lobbyist to deal with his FTC issues. “I told Jeremy I could not and would not intervene with the FTC on his behalf, given my position with the state [attorney general],” Swallow said. Johnson later asked Swallow to approach the U.S. attorney on his behalf, but Swallow said he refused.
Johnson, his business partners and family members also were generous political donors, having given more than $200,000 in campaign contributions to then-Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff starting in 2008 while Swallow served as Shurtleff’s lead fundraiser. Johnson also supported charities and Attorney General’s Office initiatives in which Shurtleff was involved. Johnson flew Shurtleff on his private jet to a fundraiser in California. Photographs from the summer of 2009 show the two men sitting in Johnson’s yellow Lamborghini sports car.
Copies of emails show Swallow worked with Shurtleff to arrange meetings between Johnson and top Utah officeholders.
Then, with the FTC investigation continuing, Johnson said Swallow suggested Reid could make problems with regulators go away — for a price.
“I said, ‘OK, what do I need to do?’ He’s like, ‘OK, it costs money,’ ” Johnson said, who claimed Swallow was adamant he make a deal.
“I think he told me, ‘Richard Rawle has a connection with Harry Reid,’ ” Johnson said.
He said Swallow at first wanted $2 million to enlist Reid’s help. But I Works was no longer profitable and he did not have the money, Johnson said, so they eventually agreed on $300,000 upfront and $300,000 later.
Swallow put Johnson in contact with Rawle, whose company has operations in Nevada. Rawle had given generously to Swallow’s failed congressional bids and hired Swallow as Check City’s lobbyist and in-house legal counsel, a position Swallow held until he became chief deputy attorney general in December 2009.
Rawle, who died of cancer last month, had contributed to Reid’s 2010 re-election bid and later bragged to Johnson that the Nevada Democrat helped him delay new federal payday-loan regulations, Johnson said.
On Sept. 29, 2010, Swallow sent an email to Johnson with the subject line “Mtg. with Harry Reid’s contact.”
“Richard [Rawle] is traveling to LV tomorrow and will be able to contact this person, who he has a very good relationship with. He needs a brief narrative of what is going on and what you want to happen. I don’t know the cost, but it probably won’t be cheap.”
On Oct. 7, Johnson emailed Rawle, insisting there was “rock solid proof” the FTC allegations against I Works were false. “We will do whatever it take[s] to get Senator Reid on our side and hopefully you can help make it happen. Let me know.”
They arranged an Oct. 9 meeting at Check City’s Provo headquarters. Johnson said he, Swallow and Rawle attended, along with at least two other people.
Five days later, on Oct. 14, Rawle registered a new company called RMR Consulting LLC with the state, Department of Commerce records show. On Nov. 2, an official with a Check City-related company called Softwise Inc. emailed Johnson, with a copy to Rawle: “We wanted to let you know that we have our people in Washington D.C. currently working with the FTC on your case. â¦ Also, the initial retainer of $50,000 can now be wired to RMR Consulting, LLC.”
The writer provided an account number at Bonneville Bank.
A copy of I Works’ general ledger that same day shows $50,000 was paid to RMR Consulting for “legal fees.” Another $200,015 was paid Dec. 2.
FTC proceeds with suit • But less than three weeks later, on Dec. 21, 2010, the FTC filed a lawsuit against Johnson, I Works and others in federal court in Las Vegas.
Swallow eventually acknowledges he had received $20,000 from an unspecified Rawle company about the time when I Works made the payments to RMR Consulting, according to the transcript. But Swallow claims the payments were for consulting work on a proposed cement plant on Paiute tribal land in Nevada….
continued: http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/home3/55598812-200/johnson-swallow-rawle-attorney.html.csp (via http://beforeitsnews.com/alternative/2014/04/indicted-businessman-names-harry-reid-as-alleged-recipient-of-massive-bribe-2940036.html)
Copyright – don’t have the bucks to pay Harry if I’m sued. 🙂
Harry Reid is worth $3m-10m – how much did he own prior to going to Washington DC? Enough to become a multi-millionaire?