Ex-Attorney General John Swallow deliberately destroyed data, made up documents, investigators say
"Unless you believe in some sort of mystical technology-eating dragon, there's got to be some obstruction," said Rep. Francis Gibson, R-Mapleton.
Reich said investigators learned that Swallow knew all along that his 2010 emails were not lost during the state's migration to a new email system last fall as he had stated. He said the committee spent hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to recover the data. Swallow knew in July that it was missing and didn't admit it through his attorney until "absolutely forced to," Reich said.
"Why is it that his story changed and morphed every time we confronted him?" Reich said.
Everything Swallow did was predicated on the Krispy Kreme meeting, he said.
Johnson claims Swallow helped broker a deal to bribe Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid as part of a plan to derail a federal investigation into Johnson's Internet marketing company.
Swallow has vehemently denied the accusation, saying he only introduced Johnson to a friend with connections to federal lobbyists who might be able to help him, but that it wouldn't be cheap. He also denied getting paid for the introduction.
Johnson and an associate paid Richard M. Rawle $250,000. He hired lobbyists, but the Federal Trade Commission filed a complaint against Johnson and his company before they could do much on Johnson's behalf.
Rawle also initially paid Swallow $23,500 for consulting he did on a Nevada cement plant project in 2010 and 2011 out of that money. Swallow later sent the checks back and asked Rawle to pay him from a different account.
Reich said Swallow created invoices and day planner entries to reflect that work after meeting with Johnson. On Jan. 24, 2011, Swallow jotted down that he had done 12 hours of "cement work." On the same day, he put down 12 hours of work on his attorney general's office timecard, according to a copy of the records Reich showed the committee.
That and several similar calendar and timecard entries led investigators to believe the invoices were fake, Reich said.
Snow said Swallow did a lot of work on the cement plant project and that Rawle was satisfied with it.
"When all this became an issue, John went back and constructed his work and time as best he could to document it, and he has freely admitted that is what he did," Snow said. "There was nothing sinister about it, although it can be made to look that way."
Rawle signed an affidavit explaining his arrangement with Swallow just days before he died of cancer in December 2012. Swallow distributed the document as proof that he'd done nothing wrong.
But Swallow made conflicting statements about how the document was written, Reich said.
"Facing his maker, (Rawle) had his people prepare an affidavit for him, which he reviewed, changed, modified and signed, and it said this (alleged scheme) didn't happen," according to a KUTV interview Reich showed the committee.
In an email to Rawle's company attorney, Chief Operating Officer Cort Walker wrote that he couldn't back up Swallow's statement.
"I believe the first time we saw this affidavit, it came from Rod Snow who probably co-wrote it with Swallow," Walker wrote.
In an interview with investigators for the state elections office, Swallow said, "Well, Richard was really getting sick and taking a downturn, and I believe I prepared some notes that I gave my lawyer, and I believe he prepared the draft."
Also at Johnson's behest at the Krispy Kreme meeting, Swallow had a campaign staffer buy him a prepaid cellphone or "burner" phone that law enforcement couldn't track.
"John needed me to make a purchase that could not come back to the campaign at all. I paid cash," according to the staffer's email to another campaign worker.
Reich said Swallow was aware of his "digital footprint" and took measures to contain it.
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