Affidavit says Senator Lee may have received illegal campaign contribution

Posted at 6:44 PM, Jun 05, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY -- An affidavit seeking records in a possible case against former Utah Attorney General John Swallow has made waves for mentioning U.S. Senator Mike Lee.

The document, signed by Scott Nesbitt--an agent with the State Department of Public Safety (DPS), says indicted St. George businessman Jeremy Johnson gave illegal contributions to Lee at the urging of Swallow.

"If it's knowingly done then the Justice Department will get in and that's a federal offense," said David Magleby, Distinguished Professor of Political Science at BYU.

Nothing in the affidavit suggests Mike Lee knew about the donations if they did happen, and Lee's office issued a statement saying he did not know.

"At no time during or since the 2010 campaign, was Sen. Lee or anyone associated with the Lee campaign aware of any unlawful contributions to the Lee campaign. The documents obtained by investigators confirm that the scheme was known only to the two individuals who may have been involved," said the statement attributed to Lee spokesperson Brian Phillips.

The left-leaning Alliance for a Better Utah plans to file a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission.

"It absolutely ruins belief in government, and that's bad for Utah. It's extremely bad for Utah," said Isaac Holyoak, Communications Director for the Alliance.

The affidavit also says former Attorney General Mark Shurtleff received thousands of dollars from Johnson for his aborted bid for the U.S. Senate.

Contacted by FOX 13 News, Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill and Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings declined to talk about money to the Lee campaign, saying the investigation is ongoing.

Shurtleff and Swallow did not respond to FOX 13 News' attempts to contact them.