Salt Lake City, UT, United States (4E) – Prosecutors have claimed that evidences in a fraud case against an Internet service firm that allegedly tricked consumers into paying $281 million for bogus government grants in 2010 suggest that Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) received illegal campaign contributions.
Davis County District Attorney Troy Rawlings, a Republican, and Salt Lake County DA Sim Gill, a Democrat, recalled the evidences during an interview with ABC News this week as they complained of the Department of Justice’s refusal to investigate the senator and former Utah Attorney General John Swallow for alleged corruption.
The central figure in the fraud case, St. George businessman Jeremy Johnson, claimed in a court hearing in January that Swallow was among intermediaries who instructed him to write a $50,000 check to a personal friend of Reid to get the senator’s intervention in the Federal Trade Commission lawsuit. However, no intervention by Reid in Johnson’s case happened.
Johnson also claimed that online poker figures instructed him to hide campaign contributions for Reid by getting straw donors to donate money and reimburse them the amount later. The illegal donation was intended to influence Reid in legalizing online poker in Utah.
The claim was based on a secretly recorded conversation between Johnson and then AG Swallow in a donut shop in April 2012. In the recording, Johnson told Swallow that poker executives obtained Reid’s backing by putting a little something in his retirement fund. Johnson was referring to a 2010 fundraiser event for Reid at the Rio Casino in Las Vegas, where the senator promised to introduce federal legislation to legalize online poker if he was re-elected.
Reid introduced a bill to legalize on-line poker one month after his re-election but withdrew the bill one month later.
The spokesmen of Reid and Lee on Thursday denied the accusations of Johnson, who is on trial for 86 counts of online fraud.
“Senator Reid became convinced over time that states should be allowed to decide for themselves whether to allow on-line poker,” said Reid’s spokesperson, Adam Jentleson, according to ABC News.