Utah man won’t contest allegations of illegal contributions
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A once-prominent businessman has agreed not to challenge allegations that he made illegal campaign contributions to Republican Utah Sen. Mike Lee and retired Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Jeremy Johnson, 44, used straw donors to give $50,000 to Lee’s Senate campaign and $20,000 to Reid’s campaign during the 2009-2010 election cycle, according to a pending consent judgment reported by the Deseret News.
Johnson agreed in a document accompanying the consent judgment not to contest a list of Federal Election Commission allegations describing the process by which he made the campaign contributions. Several of the contributions involve former Utah Attorney General John Swallow.
“They wanted us to admit the facts. We wouldn’t do it because a lot of them are not true,” said Karra Porter, an attorney for Johnson. “What we did agree to for the purposes of this one filing was not to challenge the allegations.”
Johnson was convicted of eight charges of making false statements to banks to benefit his online business, iWorks, in 2018. A jury cleared him of dozens more charges, including conspiracy and fraud.
Swallow solicited Johnson for donations to Lee in 2010, according to the document. The document also says Swallow asked Johnson to donate to the campaign of Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, who launched a short-lived campaign for U.S. Senate in 2009. Swallow was Shurtleff’s chief deputy at the time and helped raise money for both Shurtleff and Lee.
Swallow would be elected attorney general in 2012. He was forced to resign his post in 2013 and was arrested in 2014 on corruption charges. He was acquitted of all charges in 2017.
The FEC added Swallow to the agency’s complaint against Johnson in 2016 and alleged Swallow showed Johnson how to circumvent federal laws that limit individual donations to $2,400.
The FEC fined Johnson $840,000 for the infractions. The commission has agreed to forgo the penalty in light of the millions of dollars Johnson owes the federal government in other cases.