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Sen. Mike Lee says he's not target of any investigation

Published: Monday, March 17 2014 5:14 p.m. MDT

Senator Mike Lee applauds a speaker prior to speaking during a Tea Party Express press conference in Salt Lake City Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013. Sen. Lee didn't sound concerned Monday about his name popping up in a joint county investigation of former Utah Attorneys General John Swallow and Mark Shurtleff.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

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SALT LAKE CITY — Sen. Mike Lee didn't sound concerned Monday about his name popping up in a joint county investigation of former Utah Attorneys General John Swallow and Mark Shurtleff.

"Nobody's ever contacted me or my staff or my campaign about any investigation. As far as I've been able to determine, there is none," he said.

Lee said that, if such an investigation arises, he would cooperate and answer any questions.

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill and Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings said last week they passed along to the FBI allegations of wrongdoing by Lee and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., that they've picked up in their investigation of Swallow and Shurtleff. The prosecutors said they're not actively investigating the two senators.

Lee also is mentioned in the Utah House Special Investigative Committee's report released last week in connection with Swallow's effort to raise campaign funds for him through indicted businessman Jeremy Johnson in 2010.

ABC News and the Washington Times ran a lengthy story Thursday raising questions about whether Lee and Reid sought or received money or other benefits from donors and fundraisers for political favors.

The story also questions whether Lee provided accurate information when he bought, then sold, his Alpine home for a big loss to a campaign contributor and federal contractor, leaving his mortgage bank to absorb large losses.

"It's an old story. There's nothing there," Lee said. "Everything that was done in connection with the sale of the house was above-board. I did everything through an agent and with constant consultation with my attorney to make sure everything was done in full compliance with the letter and the spirit of the law."

The Utah House report released Wednesday tied Lee to Swallow and his effort to raise money for the senator. Swallow — chief deputy attorney general at the time — enlisted Johnson to help but only after clearing it through his boss Shurtleff, who was the attorney general.

Swallow asked Shurtleff in a February 2010 email: "can i (sic) introduce Mike Lee to Jeremy Johnson?" Shurtleff replied, "Sure." Johnson was a large donor to Shurtleff's campaign fund.

Lee said Swallow was one of many people who approached him to help the campaign. He said Johnson made a contribution but he never met him. Johnson donated $2,400 — the federal limit.

Email: romboy@deseretnews.com

Twitter: dennisromboy; DNewsPolitics

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