In one of the aftereffects of the Black Friday Federal indictments, the US Department of Justice continues to reject the requests of two District Attorneys in Utah about whether two US Senators had involvement in a case centering on online poker and internet gambling.
ABC News reported that two District Attorneys in the Beehive State – Davis County’s Troy Rawlings and Salt Lake County’s Sim Gill – continue to investigate the case of former Utah Attorney General John Swallow and found that Nevada Senator Harry Reid (pictured) and Utah Senator Mike Lee could be implicated.
The two DAs believe that they have found evidence that suggests both Senators received financial transactions that were tied to an investigation into Swallow’s actions regarding online gambling and poker. To this point, however, the DOJ has refused to file a case.
Rawlings is quoted in the article as saying, “[The DOJ] needs to look at allegations of conduct or misconduct involving Federal officials.” Gill agrees with Rawlings in requesting the Feds look at the evidence, saying, “Could there be an innocent explanation of the evidence? Possibly. Could there be a more sinister explanation for it? That’s possible also.”
Neither Senator would comment in-depth on the ABC News story. Adam Jentleson, a spokesman for Senator Reid, called the airing of the investigation a “publicity stunt” and stated that Reid has “never been contacted in regards to this investigation.” Jentleson added that the investigation was “nothing but a fever-brained witch hunt.” A spokesman for Senator Lee said that no one from his home state of Utah contacted him about the investigation nor has the FBI been in touch.
The rather convoluted case dates back to 2009. Sun First Bank, as many may remember, was one of the banks allegedly used for online poker payment processing. Its Vice Chairman at the time, John Campos (pictured), was one of the 11 men indicted on Black Friday.
The current investigation is focused on businessman Jeremy Johnson, who was allegedly intricately involved in garnering Sun First as a processor for online gambling transactions and is facing over 80 Federal charges. The ABC reporting team stated that Johnson alleged it became more difficult to find methods for online poker sites to process their financial transactions. It is through those “interests” that Johnson says the two Senators became involved in the case.
Johnson has said that he was “instructed” by online poker “figures” to forward illegal contributions to the Senatorial campaigns of Reid and Lee, funneling the money through several “straw donors” who were repaid through poker accounts. The crux of the case comes in a taped meeting between Johnson and then-Attorney General Swallow in early 2012.
In that meeting, Johnson asked Swallow how Reid’s opinion had been swayed regarding online poker. “I said, ‘How in the hell did you guys get him (Reid) to do that,” Johnson recounted. “He (Swallow) says, ‘let’s just say he got a little something in his retirement fund.'”
The Sun First case eventually would be the undoing of Swallow. Alongside allegations that he turned a blind eye to the online poker payment processing in the state and may have even sanctioned the act, Swallow at first declared that he didn’t know about the situation. As more evidence emerged, Swallow resigned from his position as Attorney General in December 2012 after being reelected just the previous month.
We’ll have more for you on this story as it develops.