Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says he was never involved in an alleged bribery plot to help derail a federal probe into a Utah man’s business dealings, The Salt Lake City Tribune reports
“These unsubstantiated allegations implying Senator Reid’s involvement are nothing more than innuendo and simply not true,’’ Reid’s office said in a statement.
Jeremy Johnson, who is charged with federal bank fraud and money laundering, alleges he channeled money through John Swallow, now Utah Attorney General, to spur Reid into crushing an FTC probe against him.
“The truth is the worst thing I think I’ve done was I paid money knowing it was going to influence Harry Reid,” Jeremy Johnson told the Salt Lake Tribune.
“So I’ve felt all along that I’ve committed bribery of some sort there.”
Johnson alleges Swallow, before he was attorney general, connected him with Richard Rawle, a businessman described as “Harry Reid’s contact.”
Swallow denied the charges, telling the Salt Lake Tribune, “I can say this emphatically: I have never had a financial arrangement with Mr. Johnson and no money has ever been offered or solicited.’’
Johnson said he believed he was to pay $600,000 to quash the investigation.
But when the federal government went after Johnson, he demanded Swallow return some of the $250,000 initial payment, the Tribune said.
Johnson said he does not know if any of the money he allegedly paid reached anyone connected to Reid.
Swallow said Johnson approached him in 2010 and sought help to hire a lobbyist to deal with his FTC issues.
“I told Jeremy I could not and would not intervene with the FTC on his behalf, given my position with the state [attorney general],” Swallow said, according to the Tribune.
Johnson later asked Swallow to approach the U.S. attorney on his behalf, but Swallow said he refused, the newspaper reported.
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