Bribery or lobbying? Jeremy Johnson says there's no difference

Judge warns man tied to A.G. scandal to stop talking about cases

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  • DN Subscriber 2 SLC, UT
    Feb. 3, 2013 9:05 p.m.

    This Johnson fellow sure is good at deflecting blame, attention and scrutiny toward everyone but himself.

    Then, he lawyers up with the most high profile defense attorney in the state.

    He will have to work a bit harder, and maybe even "lobby" me a whole lot to get me to buy the story that he is innocent and John Swallow is somehow the bad guy in all this, or even a partially bad guy. Remember, Swallow is the one who REQUESTED that the U.S. Attorney investigate his (Swallow's) involvement.

    All this talk about politicians reminds me of how bad the Great Salt Lake smells when the sunshine heats things up.

  • JMH Provo, UT
    Feb. 2, 2013 1:59 p.m.

    THere is a huge difference between bribery and lobbying. You retain a lobbyist to help make the best case to the elected official but there is not guarantee that you will be successful. In most cases there are lobbyists on the other side making their case equally as strong. With a bribe there is generally some agreement between the person accepting the bribe and the person offering it that the person being bribed will in fact take a certain action. In this case it appears that Johnson was asking Rawles for help and Rawles said it would require hiring a lobbyist that knew someone with political juice. There is also some indication that Rawles never actually hired any lobbyist but just pocketed the money. The laugh is on Johnson for believing Rawles and giving him the money.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Feb. 2, 2013 12:27 p.m.

    A lobbyist tries to get a lawmaker to come to an opinion that the lawmaker wants them to have. Bribery isn't interested in the opinion of the lawmaker, just the result. In the end, they achieve the same thing, I suppose, so it really doesn't matter if there's a difference or not.

  • InnocenceLost West Jordan, UT
    Feb. 2, 2013 12:00 p.m.

    At least the whole story is finally coming out. The Lynch Mob was out to get Swallow and it's finally starting to focus on the real criminal. Gehrke broke the original story with half the facts. I loved the tweet he sent me when I challenged him on writing a piece with more fantasy than fact: "The agreement was to wait for the plea hearing, which we did" - Interpretation: I waited until the plea hearing was done but not until all the facts were known because I wanted my story to take down a prominent lawyer - never mind the facts, ugh!

  • Agustis Sugar City, ID
    Feb. 2, 2013 11:27 a.m.

    Buffalo, WY

    You are absolutely right on. The only way to get the ear of our elected representatives is the way you had to. How can we undo this?

  • AKracker Highland, UT
    Feb. 2, 2013 10:48 a.m.

    How could Swallow have the intent to create a bribe if Johnson didn't even think he was paying a bribe? He couldn't. This was just another ploy by Johnson to blur the lines and make Swallow look more guilty but it backfired, smooth move Johnson you just gave Swallow the evidence he needs to show he never intended to bribe anyone.

  • Wyominguy Buffalo, WY
    Feb. 2, 2013 10:45 a.m.

    Mr. Johnson tells the truth...Several years ago while living in Mt. I represented an Industry group and we needed assistance so I called our US Senator. I called and called, spoke to staff members many times however Never the Senator, and all I got was a DC Dance. I was then advised by our State association that we needed to obtain the services of a lobbyist in DC. So, for $15,000.00 ( I signed that check in 1990 ) our group was within 30 days provided with the relief we needed via an amendment to a bill that sailed through Congress. And by the way, Sen. Reid was also involved in this situation. Im not saying the Senators were paid, but the service was amazing after that check was written. I later asked the lobbyist how he managed this so quickly and his answer was " my job is to know what politicians need and provide it" Some months later I received a call from the Mt. Senator speaking like a long lost friend and asked me to contribute to his campaign! ( I chose Not to send a contribution)

  • Herby Hurricane, UT
    Feb. 2, 2013 10:18 a.m.

    People are so quickly to condemn Johnson. He definitely operated in the gray area with his business. But my question is why is it the FTC is highly involved in wealth confiscation? Where does this money go once the FTC freezes accounts, confiscates money? I believe the FTC is as crooked as they come. Why aren't we questioning the governments actions like they are so willing to interfere with the free market?

  • Tekakaromatagi Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    Feb. 2, 2013 10:14 a.m.

    "What's the difference between bribe and lobbying?" A bribe is when I go to the Department of . . . and hand over some money for them to do or not do something to help me. Lobbying is when I hire a lawyer and he sues or threatens to sue the Department of . . . to do or not do something in my favor.

    Who did the money go to and why?

  • Wildcat O-town, UT
    Feb. 2, 2013 9:37 a.m.

    This state is more crooked than a dog's hind leg. Many politicians in Utah just think bribery is greasing the skids and just a part of being good business. How was it that Salt Lake City got the Olympics?

    Unfortunately, it's the system we deserve when people keep the political machine going by uninformed voting and political representatives immediately give themselves 37 percent pay raises after being elected. What is going to be fun to watch is to see the righteous indignation by some of the majority party to impeach Swallow when in truth, they are every bit as corrupt. I think one of these corrupt politicians is enjoying a 80 percent approval rating. Which is worse, the corrupt politicians, or the uninformed and disinterested public that puts them in control? God save the Beehive State!

  • Kirk R Graves West Jordan, UT
    Feb. 2, 2013 9:17 a.m.

    It seems that anyone capable of getting elected to state or national office, either starts out as the type of person we don't want, or becomes that by the time they are successfully elected.

  • toosmartforyou Farmington, UT
    Feb. 2, 2013 8:35 a.m.

    When it comes to dirty tricks, Washington DC has nothing over City Hall or the State House.

    Johnson just happened to get caught. Swallow was implicated because at some level has was involved. He should have known better.

  • Agustis Sugar City, ID
    Feb. 2, 2013 8:14 a.m.

    Salt Lake, UT
    If you cannot see the difference here then it is no use trying to explain it to you.

  • My2Cents Taylorsville, UT
    Feb. 2, 2013 4:06 a.m.

    This is all true, but Utah has no ethical behavior laws or accountability laws for any elected, appointed, or contracted employee or business so there has been no laws broken. Lobbyist and advocates and bribery is illegal representation in law making and controlling of government funds but indemnification laws permit any and all compromisable acts by any government employee or representative without accountability.

    Agency's funded by tax payers, Education, UDOT, UTA, UEA, police, Health care exchange, etc are allowed to embezzle their tax funds to bribe legislators and representatives for more public money.

    I find it ironic that govenrment is bribing government, its an offensive thought and concept. We have elected representatives to have absolute control of spending for government departments and their value to the community each and every year. No department is permanent and all are subject to cuts and elimination according to economic conditions and funding available.

    CEO's are hired on excessive pay to report needs of departments if they are doing their job, adding millions more to pay lobbyist out of department funds is fraud.

  • Ironmomo Ogden, Utah
    Feb. 1, 2013 11:17 p.m.

    When money is passed within your political party it's called lobbying...when the other party does it, it's called bribery.

  • Northwest Reader Vancouver, WA
    Feb. 1, 2013 10:32 p.m.

    @ Agustis

    Had to to dig a little, but found it..."We have met the enemy and he is us."

  • Agustis Sugar City, ID
    Feb. 1, 2013 10:23 p.m.

    "Maybe it's semantics. But lobbying, well-placed money, influence peddling — it's all the same. You're putting money somewhere to get something."

    Johnson may be the most truthful character in this whole mess. But Pogo Possum knows who the enemy is.

  • DC Alexandria, VA
    Feb. 1, 2013 9:24 p.m.

    The difference between lobbying and bribery is that lobbyists cannot give $600k to anyone. They can give the same amount as anyone else, which I believe is just under $5k. Scheming to give Reid $600k for him to support your position is illegal and tantamount to bribery.

  • Vandenberg Salt Lake, UT
    Feb. 1, 2013 7:20 p.m.

    Wasn't this "bribery" charge all that Johnson had against Swallow? Seems like his attorney advised him to put up or shut up. Looks like Johnson and the SL Tribune are looking at some defamation charges.

    BTW. One old man. The LDS Church, this news organization, United Way and just about every other sizable organization in this state contract or have lobbyist. Are you accusing those groups of bribery????

  • Northwest Reader Vancouver, WA
    Feb. 1, 2013 6:36 p.m.

    It could well be that the FTC was harassing him. That has happened before. The fact that he seems unrepentant about bribing (semantics) a lawmaker doesn't give me much sympathy for his case or if true for Swallow's - and at this point Johnson does sound like he is being honest. While practiced regularly on both sides of the political aisle, giving money to court favor is still wrong. It always has been and always will be. Although it will be unfair because of all of the other wrongs (bribery) that have taken place before, after Johnson leaves jail he could be better off. If he is able to see that he was wrong. The problem here isn't the FTC or politics, it is the lack of morals. This has to stop in the US.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Feb. 1, 2013 6:15 p.m.

    Well Jeremy Johnson has finally managed to say something truthful.

    No difference between lobbying and bribery.

    That's usually true -- unfortunately.