Swallow facing new allegations of unethical behavior

Posted at 5:21 PM, May 08, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-09 01:59:15-04

SALT LAKE CITY - Utah Attorney General John Swallow is facing new allegations, this time from a fellow attorney.

Traci Gunderson, the former director of the Utah Division of Consumer Protection, filed a complaint with the Utah State Bar.

According to the complaint, obtained by "The Salt Lake Tribune," Gunderson said that Swallow displayed unethical behavior in a recorded conversation last year.

The allegations say that during his campaign for Utah Attorney General, Swallow talked to an Internet marketer named Aaron Christner, whose company had been fined $400,000 and put on a warning list for consumers.

In the recordings obtained by "City Weekly" last year, Swallow said, "I'd be more than happy to have you sit down with the Attorney General, but I'm not Attorney General yet. I'm not over those areas yet."

"When I'm Attorney General. This is kind of confidential but I'm going to try to restructure it so that Consumer Protection is under the AG, and the AG has more authority over those investigations. In fact, complete authority over that."

Swallow is already facing allegations of interfering with a federal fraud investigation against southern Utah businessman Jeremy Johnson and his Internet company I-Works. Johnson claims Swallow helped broker a deal with top federal lawmakers. Swallow has denied those claims.

Former Utah Rep. Holly Richardson said Wednesday that the latest allegations reinforce what she's already made clear.

"I don't think he can do his job effectively. He's been hamstrung by the public perception of malfeasance and I think that it's put him in a situation that every action that he takes as attorney general is suspect," Richardson said.

The Office of Professional Licensing will review Gunderson's complaint and decide if it warrants a hearing from a committee of attorneys on a special Supreme Court panel.

The public will only hear about their findings if the committee decides on a public reprimand or attempts to disbar Swallow.

Calls to Swallow's attorney Rod Snow and to Gunderson have not been returned.