SALT LAKE CITY (Legal Newsline) -- The head of a nine-member legislative committee tasked with investigating embattled Utah Attorney General John Swallow reportedly has ties to a St. George businessman who has made allegations against Swallow.
Rep. Lowry Snow, a St. George lawyer, told the Deseret News Thursday that his law office, Snow Jensen & Reece, represents one of the companies whose assets were frozen in the case against Jeremy Johnson.
Johnson is accused of running a multi-million-dollar fraudulent software scheme in which he billed hundreds of thousands of consumers for products they never ordered.
He has alleged that Swallow arranged a deal to pay U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., to stop a Federal Trade Commission investigation into his business.
The U.S. Attorney's Office for Utah confirmed in January that Swallow is being investigated, in coordination with the U.S. Department of Justice and FBI, for allegations that he helped make the federal investigation go away.
Snow noted that neither him nor his firm is representing Johnson.
However, he told the newspaper that he wants to "do the right thing, whatever that is."
"I don't think that those constitute an issue that would affect my ability to act," Snow said, according to the News. "But if the (House) Speaker (Becky Lockhart) feels differently, I'm certainly willing to abide by her wishes."
Since taking office in January, Swallow, a Republican, has been accused of various ethics and election law violations.
And in recent months, both conservative and liberal groups have called for the attorney general to step down.
The Alliance for a Better Utah filed its 18-page petition with the Lieutenant Governor's Office in March, alleging 12 election law violations by Swallow and requesting he be removed.
The Sutherland Institute, a conservative public policy think tank, also has issued the call, pointing to the Alliance's petition and other allegations.
Among those: Traci Gunderson, the state's former consumer protection director, filed a separate complaint against Swallow with the Utah State Bar in May.
In the complaint, she alleges the attorney general -- inappropriately -- conducted preliminary settlement negotiations with a telemarketing company against which the Division of Consumer Protection had fined.
Swallow did not have permission from the division to do so, Gunderson, a former assistant attorney general, contends.
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert has said if the attorney general worked for him, he would be fired.
But Herbert has not gone as far as calling for Swallow's resignation.
The attorney general has maintained he has done nothing wrong, and has refused to step down.
From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.