Thursday, June 19, 2008

From City Weekly: The $50,000 Question: Utah’s attorney general explains campaign donations received from company his office investigated for fraud

By Eric S. Peterson
Posted 06/19/2008

Jean Welch Hill, Democratic challenger to Republican heavyweight Mark Shurtleff, believes it’s time she took over as the state’s attorney general. Hill counts many reasons why she should get the seat, including Shurtleff’s courtship of the payday-loan industry and his conflict of interest in investigating the alleged bribery charges of political ally Mark Walker in the treasurer’s race—and now she can count at least 50,000 more reasons.

That’s one for each dollar Shurtleff accepted in campaign donations from Jeremy Johnson, president of the St. George company IWorks. While Shurtleff maintains that he only knew Johnson from meeting him once at a fund-raiser last March, several attorneys at the attorney general’s office have known of Johnson for much longer. That’s because they’d been investigating his company for more than a year for allegations of fraud.

“If you’ve been involved in litigation with some company,” says Hill. “Then you ought to have the discipline to say this isn’t the best donation for me to accept.”

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