- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 12, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - A House panel closed its investigation of former Attorney General John Swallow on Wednesday by releasing a report that says he “hung a veritable ‘for sale’ sign” on the office door by inviting “moneyed interests to seek special treatment and favors.”

The report, which contains nearly 4,000 documents, emails and other records, largely mirrors what investigators working for lawmakers detailed in December shortly after Swallow resigned.

Investigators said that before and during Swallow’s time in office, “he cultivated a series of relationships with individuals and particular Utah-based industries that resulted in a pattern of benefits, including campaign contributions, political favors, and cash and other benefits, flowing back and forth between him and them.”

Beyond allegations he stayed on a luxury houseboat with a businessman seeking favors, the report said Swallow also obscured donations and destroyed records.

The report’s release comes as the Utah State Bar announced Wednesday that it has been investigating Swallow since the allegations of wrongdoing against him appeared in the media starting in January 2013.

Swallow, a Republican, has repeatedly denied the allegations made against him.

Swallow’s attorney Rod Snow said Wednesday that he and his client had not yet seen the report.

“We will need to study it to respond,” Snow said in an email. “Safe to say we are in disagreement with the conclusions.”

Snow has previously disputed the lawmakers’ findings, calling their investigation unfair and one-sided.

The allegations from House investigators cover Swallow’s time before he joined the attorney general’s office in 2009, his time serving as the office’s chief deputy, and his election to the top post in 2012.

They found he offered unusual access to businessman Jeremy Johnson, who has accused Swallow of setting up a bribery plot.

Johnson, who is facing dozens of federal fraud charges, is accused of using his Internet-based businesses to fraudulently bill hundreds of thousands of people. He has pleaded not guilty.

Investigators said Swallow issued a favorable legal opinion to Johnson while enjoying benefits of the businessman’s lifestyle, such as visits to his luxury houseboat.

They also allege Swallow hid his efforts to court the payday-loan industry, whose donations were used to attack political opponents of Swallow and the industry. The report states a $20,000-plus political fundraiser for Swallow compromised a foreclosure lawsuit the attorney general’s office was working on. The lawsuit, which would have benefited thousands of homeowners, was dropped to hide Swallow’s conflict of interest in the matter, investigators said.

Finally, investigators said that as they set out in fall of 2013 to look into these matters, Swallow destroyed and fabricated records and tried to alter witness statements.

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