Utah politics clean for 2014?

So many politicians in Utah want a quiet year for 2014. That’s just unfortunately not going to happen with the stench from Mark Shurtleff and John Swallow. Not to mention others that are facing political and possible criminal backlash.

 

Utah Politics reaches new levels in scams.

Utah Politics reaches new levels in scams.

 

Jason Powers has a string of PACs entities, and other questions trails that is burning up quick behind him. Tim Lawson has already been indicted and arrested for a month on 6 felony charges. He hasn’t been released on bail.

Seems to be way too many fires running out of control for anyone to really damper. Hence why everyone is praying and hoping for a quiet 2014. I am sure John Swallow and Mark Shurtleff are the ones praying the most that this cloud clears and that it all just goes away!

It won’t clear until the FBI, Sim Gill, and Troy Rawlins say it’s clear. I think the House Investigation should and needs to continue! Expose all the dirty hands and cards, not just John Swallows.

 

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Mark Shurtleff and John Swallow in Hawk?

As this story goes on and on and on, it seems more and more the legs grow out of control for Mark Shurtleff and his right hand man John Swallow. It seems more whistle blowers and more individuals are gaining confidence to complain against the two with donation records, receipts, emails and many other bizarre things that normally wouldn’t even be a thought in this process..

Mark shurtleff has made many deals

Mark shurtleff has made many deals

People are catching on to the donation plot as I am sure that’s been going on behind closed doors for years! People don’t realize this scandal between Mark and  John are just the tip of a very large iceberg.

I believe Francine Giani and Governor Herbert are one scary political tandem. They work together and probably a lot closer than most realize.

This political warfare  starts with the “AG, DCP and Gov’s office”  even possibly down to their Attorney Jeffery Buckner who is the lead attorney for all  top State agencies in Utah.

So with all this bickering between the DCP and the AG’s office it comes out one hand has no idea at all what the other hand is doing??   Secret phone calls, meetings and donations.

Seems both Agencies are familiar with each other, these two offices rotate employees back  and forth like its a game of “red rover red rover send Traci right over”.

Kevin Olsen was working in the DCP’s office at one point, now he works for the Attorney Generals office and Traci Gunderson the Former Head of the DCP, she actually worked for the AG’s office previously before joining Francine Giani.—interesting game of flip flopping key employees.

Not to mention Kevin Olsen while working in the DCP and  the DCP investigators in that office have direct communication with these call center business’s..

Many business’s in the Online/Call center coaching industry give their  information directly to the DCP when it’s not even their own business’s they are giving information on.

They cough up information like who works with who and so forth  and turn that over to the DCP so if these floors don’t offer what their constituents want or if you don’t pay to play, or follow the lines of their special interest groups you will just get hammered by the Division of Consumer Protections or the AG’s office.

Utah is more than an industry for politics. It's a club!

Utah is more than an industry for politics. It’s a club!

So in hind sight the DCP and the AG’s  offices work together and know what each other are doing on these specific cases as they investigate through many State Agencies like the licensing division to get information. They do communicate together. Do they know about all of Swallow’s creepy recorded phone calls? No, probably not but they do communicate on some things.

These Agencies might have different Political interests overall, but at times they are still in the same sand box. As Francine Giani would say they’re  a very small close group of attorneys working in those offices together.

Attorney Jeffery Buckner whom has a great reputation in the normal private sector in law.  Jeffery Buckneris chess piece that moves through out all 3 top offices in the State, so again both hands should be aware of what’s going on?

Is there an honest attorney one out there besides Ron Yengich?????? Or is there an attorney not afraid to tango with the state? “Just like Traci Gundersen is afraid of these people” Most local attorneys in the private sector are too.

No one wants to go up against the powerful DCP and Francine Giani. Active Practicing attorney’s face possible backlash and have to deal with these State attorney’s like Jeffery Buckner regularly in other cases… So most Attorney’s just don’t take the case.

An Attorney that took a case for Diverse Marketing over a $400,000.00 fine on a bonding and licensing issue was

Blair Jackson and Greg Christiansen  back in 2009 were business partners and they were also registered agents for Diverse Marketing among other entities in the call floor industy.

Fox 13 news did a story on an undisclosed donation  by Greg Christiansen with Invictus Law based out of South Jordan an Lehi in Utah.  SAME GUY THAT REPRESENTED many  other call center companies listed below.

City weekly shows shurtleff donations

City weekly shows shurtleff donations

I remember a statement made way back from GLEN MINSON in the DCP at the time, mentioned to Aaron Christner on the phone as he found out Blair was the registered agent and attorney For Diverse Marketing.

Glen Minson continues to say to Aaron: “Oh so your Blairs boys huh” come to find out that Blair Jackson is one of the only guys to beat down a complaint against the DCP and Francine Giani when he represented Stores online a call center out of Utah County.

Blair sort of backed off of representing floors on certain state filings and along with only being the registered agent for certain companies. Blair said due to some legislative agendas and laws he was working on he needed Greg to take the charge on the Diverse Marketing Case.

A few years later after the Diverse Marketing Case it is discovered from local news that Greg Christansen has undisclosed donations to swallow and also has a close relationship with the DCP and worked heavily with-Glen Minson who magically disappeared in the investigator section of the DCP after our case was over but somehow Glen Minson still gets special allotment to work certain call floor cases “like mine” related to this industry when he is no longer in the investigator sector for the DCP?

Why is Glen Minson allowed these SPECIAL privileges?…. Does he have special connections through senate seats or the higher up in the DCP’s office?

Greg Christiansen also Represent JNJ consulting, PMI, and many other individuals in this industry? Many whom are stated in the picture above with Mark shurtleff’s donations…. Deja-vu yet?

So how can Greg Christiansen effectively represent someone when there is a direct conflict of interest with the competition and the company that he supposedly representing at that time?

Greg Christansen and Blair R Jackson still to this day represents many companies within the call industry and it’s apparent they have political ties to Swallow and probably others.

Greg or Blair are usually the registered agent for most  of the call centers in utah or the premiere floors like PMI, JNJ consulting, Bloosky, among others.

Blair Jackson and Greg Christansen ended up giving me plenty of advice which was awful advice…. They told me to perform a “rider bond” to avoid issues with the state, I guess at some point I should have stopped listening to what I thought should have been good legal advice from my hired legal council. However being 22 and naive in business bit me in the ass. Only 400k later ha.

Greg and Blair warned  me that the State of Utah would never let go now that they had their teeth sunk into me and I am pretty sure that’s why they suggested I do a rider bond which is legal  to transfer to another company and this way my bond can’t be taken or “dinged” by the State.

The DCP did end up taking the bond anyway the DCP said according to the their statues “since I know all of them lol”  the bond has to be in place for the original company up to year after it dissolves to handle any claims which should arise?….

So good legal advice or bad legal advice? I guess it’s some advice.

Here is a quote Greg and Blair related about the situation with my first scheduled  hearing with the DCP:

This hearing is a kangaroo court. You’re going to lose no matter what. The hearing is with a panel of DCP investigators and higher ups in the DCP- same group that filed your complaint. You have no shot in winning this hearing. You are paying us to lose this first round then we will get a fair chance in district court. They will get their money from you either way, even if you have to spend it all fighting the DCP in attorney fees one way or another they will be going after 400k or as much as they can get” Greg Christiansen

After Diverse Marketing got railroaded in a hearing that Greg specifically stated in the court transcripts that he wasn’t ready for the hearing and negotiations broke of late the previous day the hearing continued without Greg Christiansen being prepared or without clients present.

Here is a copy of Exactly what Mr. Christiansen  said at the beginning of the hearing:

  • DIVISION OF CONSUMER PROTECTION
  • CASE NO. 72670 – December 21, 2010
  • ANGELA HENDRICKS, HEARING OFFICER
  • (Transcriber’s note: speaker identification
  • may not be accurate with audio recordings.)
  • P R O C E E D I N G S
  • HEARING OFFICER: Okay, today is Tuesday, December
  • 21st, 2010. The time is 9:35 a.m. We’re here in the matter of
  • Mad Cow Productions LLC, Level 11 Mentoring LLC, Cyber
  • Innovations LLC, Derrick R. Price, Aaron Vincent Christner
  • and Ryan Scott Jensen. This is Consumer Protection Case No. 72670. My name is Angela Hendricks. I’m the person that the
  • Director of the Division had designated to preside over the
  • hearing.
  •  
  • 1 MR. CHRISTIANSEN: The parties (inaudible) communicate and have extensive settlement negotiations which just broke down last night. So the idea was we were (inaudible) settlement agreement all the way up until about 6:00 last night. So this hearing being today, I mean, it was actually – well, as you can tell, we weren’t prepared to go forward today. They were under the impression we were going to settle. Not that that’s Mr. Minson’s fault, that’s just settlement negotiations broke down at the last moment, so…I don’t want to make that a reflection upon the Division at all. That’s not the case.
  •  
  • 2 MR. MINSON: And for the record, this has been continued several times as well. So there’s been, the Division believes, sufficient time to collect evidence on behalf of respondents should that have been the case. So…
  •  
  • 3 HEARING OFFICER: Okay. Since Mr. Christiansen is only representing Level 11 Mentoring, Mr. Critcher and Mr. Jensen—
  •  
  • MR. CHRISTIANSEN: There’s no real defense for the other entities — HEARING OFFICER: The other entities have not made any appearance, made any requests. Should we just default certain parties out?
  •  
  •  
  •  MR. MINSON: Here’s my concern with that. I saw the initial request for hearing which made appearance on behalf of all three respondents. Furthermore, there was settlement discussions and negotiations which entailed all three respondents and all three respondents were participatory in attempting to achieve that settlement.
  •  
  •  HEARING OFFICER: But they’re not here now.
  •  
  •  MR. MINSON: But they’re not here not.
  •  
  •  HEARING OFFICER: Mr. Christiansen is here on behalf of Level 11 Mentoring, Mr. Christner, and Mr. Jensen.
  •  
  •  MR. MINSON: Right. My understanding is, is that prior to right now in this hearing, that he was representing all entities.
  •  
  •  HEARING OFFICER: Well, he’s representing now in the hearing he’s not. That’s what we have on record. You’re representing Level 11, Mr. Christner, and Mr. Jensen.
  •  
  •  MR. CHRISTIANSEN: Mr. Jensen.
  •  HEARING OFFICER: So that is whose represented today. Everybody else is not participating today, don’t have representation here today.

— So if you’re an attorney you might be chuckling with how this was handled… Did Greg Christiansen intentionally botch this case as he previously stated THAT I WOULD LOSE THAT HEARING WITH THE DCP REGARDLESS?

Any smart attorney would push for a continuance? You think being unprepared that would be common sense?

Or was Greg Chrisiansen unprepared   because of his conflicts of interests with other Call Centers that he registered and obviously had interest in?…

Possibly could have been  becuase  Diverse Marketing stopped operations and stopped sending tax clients for to them up sale for Tax preparations to? -Similar Operations to the TAX CLUB

Obviously PMI and Greg Christiansen had paid to play with Swallow and didn’t disclose. Not sure how deep it goes or what trails are left to uncover.

The Real kicker here is THE DCP And Francine Giani’s grunt workers approve licensing for all business’s in Utah and the process for this industry is brutal! They comb you with a fine tooth comb.

SO obviously the DCP is well aware of Blair Jackson and Greg Christiansen with their questionable donations, shell companies, being multiple registered agents and representation for many in trouble call centers and still yet the DCP takes no action?

Blair and Greg owners of Bloosky were hit with a FTC Case but no State case??? Deja-vu again?? Tax Club, PMI others?…..

10k Later in attorney fees from Diverse Marketing to Greg Christiansen…. All settlements where off the table with the DCP because we didn’t bring Glen Minson 1200$ in cash by 6pm that evening the day before the hearing when we first found out about the settlement from Glen Minson and the DCP only a few hours before our deadline  to bring CASH to the State, not a check, CASH.. Fishy isn’t it?… State official Glen Minson asking for a fine in cash??  —emails will be released on these conversations soon.

The settlement talks wihth Diverse Marketing and The DCP which included no dialing for 4 years in Utah on top of the $1200 in cash  failed miserably and lets be honest who and what constituent (s) of the States didn’t want Diverse Marketing dialing for 4 years in Utah?  –once again no pay, no play here in Utah

Next day at the DCP hearing Greg Christansen was unprepared for and that $1250.00 and 4 year ban or settlement turned into 400k fine and a cease and desist… Nice shock factor??? Seriously??

UTAH LOVES JOBS!!! I take that back! UTAH LOVES CORPORATIONS AND BIG PAYOUTS! They don’t care about the Small business owner trying to make it work for people in the state.

The DCP and other state offices just want a piece of free easy money and a fat piece of easy pie at the end of the day, it’s just sad! Utah Politics is sad. I don’t think there is a word that can describe Utah politics.

Francine Giani playing all sides of the fence?

Francine Giani playing all sides of the fence?

I know Francine and Mark didn’t get a long much, however I would take a much deeper look between  top 3 agencies in the State and their constituents, close lobbyists and friends as this goes deep.

Lt. Governor Greg Bell

 Lt. Governor Of Utah Greg Bell is now the second major political figure in Utah with a FBI probe aimed at his forehead. The other with the bulls eye on himself is John Swallow.

This is just a rare case we get to see of what really goes on inside of the political power houses here in Utah. I am sure that Utah politicians along with many other politicians walk the fine line from power, corruption, among other back door deals to get their jobs done that the public eye has no idea about.

A lot of attention has really began to shun down on the Utah GOP and it hasn’t been positive. News about John Swallow and Greg Bell have been all over the country and the web.

Will this negative attention really change the way Utahans vote and think?? Probably not. However, some guide lines need to be put in place. The public needs to know that the people they elect into these powerful positions so they won’t abuse the powers we give them to protect us. Not snow us, or belittle us as the public.

Unfortunately this is only two instances that have come forward on fowl play on the hill. We know there are many more instance or stories similar to these. However most Utahans “no pun intended” don’t understand what’s happening or it could just be the norm and most don’t know any better.

Which brings us to another problem . Everyone is “grandfathered” in around here and it’s sickening! Politicians are grandfathered in- Like John Swallow for instance by Mark Shurtleff whom served 20 years previously at the helm. The scary theme with being grandfathered in is that Utah Politicians allow money and power mix and provide a way for others to be grandfathered in like PMI or Prosper,

Will Utah change? Will it’s politics and “good ol boys” club change? Doubt it… They will likely cover for their buddies to further their careers to the white house. It’s a sad time we live in.

Mark Shurtleff Speaks out about John Swallow

Ryan Scott Jensen and Aaron Christner start an online petition asking for John Swallow to resign from Utah’s AG office and this is why. –New Salt Lake Tribune Article–

 

Deseret News article -EX A.G. Shurtleff Speaks out

An earlier post we posted had reported some of the earlier dealings involving Mark Shurtleff. These reports were done by the City weekly whom doesn’t get enough credit at times.  I believe these Stories and the intense fine lines walked by Utah politicians to be true and unethical.

Since Mark Shurtleff’s time in office there has been many questions about him padding and lining his own pockets. It’s obviously fishy that he has hand picked Then Chief Deputy AG, now AG of Utah John Swallow to be his man in office to continue covering the dirt.

The sad thing is Mark Shurtleff whom received a lot of donations from business’s that are questionable support all these groups for money. They thrived off of donations and questionable dealings.

Shurtleff and his Super pac donated money to Swallow and a lot of it. These guys have cornered a lot of business markets for gains and it’s sad how bad they have snowed the citizens of Utah.  Yeah they may not have done it illegally, but their intent to unethically get things done or doing these things for themselves is obviously why their integrity and judgement  has been compromised casting a black cloud among Utah politics.

Mark shurtleff has made many deals

Mark shurtleff has made many deals

So now that Mark Shurtleff has passed the Throne to John Swallow, this is really the first time Shurtleff has talked in detail about the Swallow and Jeremy Johnson debacle. John Swallow hasn’t done nearly the job Mark Shurtleff has done by covering their tracks and John Swallow may have left their bottoms hanging out this time.

How come Mark Never brought this up to authorities months before hand? I am quite sure he didn’t go to the US district attorney or the Feds first. He went to his friend John Swallow first then the US attorney and FEDS.

More updates coming on John Swallow were we will be exploring a  time line of events.

Ryan Jensen Utah

The Story begins with Mark Shurtleff

Called Into Question

A Story Of Fraud, Drugs, Waterboarding And The Call-Center Companies That Gave Attorney General Mark Shurtleff $187,500 In 2008.

By Eric S. Peterson

Mark Shurtleff and John Swallow Scam

Mark Shurtleff and John Swallow Scam

POSTED // APRIL 8,2009 – No one can really say what 51-year-old Dee Beckstead was thinking one spring evening in May 2008. Arriving early to an LDS Family Services 12-step program for recovering drug addicts, Dee sat alone in his pickup in the church parking lot. Whether he thought of family, friends or felt only the gnawing pain of the heroin addiction he’d wrestled with so desperately, no one will ever know. With less than half an hour before his support class started, though, whatever he felt or thought, he decided he didn’t want any more of it. So he placed a 12-gauge shotgun in his mouth and ended his life.Beckstead was not a gang member or a troubled youth; he was a beyond-middleage man who happened to work, at the time of his suicide, at a call center in American Fork. Mentoring of America, a nondescript Utah County call-center company, has been described by former employees as a den of iniquity. They tell of sales people with silver tongues consulting on real-estate deals across the nation—dialing in serious dollars and partying like rock stars. Dealmakers might close a sale on a costly realestate program with an elderly couple in Florida, and on their breaks sling cocaine, OxyContin as well as marijuana brownies to their co-workers. Employees might shoot heroin up in the bathrooms or drop ecstasy while on the phone with customers.As a former employee describes it, on payday, the sales floor would make a liquorstore run before lunchtime and by the end of the day, might be taking down customer’s credit-card information drunk, high or both.

Dee_obituary.jpg“Dee was a victim of this industry,” says Tim Lawson, a former sales-team leader with Mentoring of America. In July 2007, Lawson brought Beckstead to the company as part of his sales team when he was hired. Lawson says Beckstead was clean when he started at MOA but soon relapsed. And while, ultimately, the actions of an addict are nobody’s fault save his or her own, some wonder how the reckless, anything-goes work environment at MOA and its impact on employees could avoid scrutiny for so long.

It didn’t.

In fact, the company has been under three separate investigations that resulted in administrative citations and one enforcement action by the Utah Attorney General’s Office, between 2004 and 2007. Not for drugs, however, but for allegations the company fraudulently promised unrealistic guarantees to customers, sold them programs they couldn’t use and otherwise conducted deceptive trade practices. These investigations were brought by the Utah Division of Consumer Protection. The last time Mentoring of America was behind the 8-ball for alleged shady business practices, during winter 2007-08—five months before Beckstead took his life—MOA stood to potentially lose its license and have to eat $113,500 in fines and statutory penalties from the Division of Consumer Protection. In March 2008, however, the charges were dismissed, and MOA dodged a bullet and paid no fines.

MOA has managed to rack up quite a legal bill, having to defend itself against consumer complaints nearly every year since it opened its doors in 2002. Owned by Doug Gravink and Gary Hewitt, the company must be making some dough to pay those attorney bills. According to former employees, MOA, through the sale of programs teaching customers how to turn a profit from home tax-lien sales, made up to $1.2 million per week. And that’s only from MOA’s Utah County location and doesn’t include numbers for the company’s operations in Nevada and California.

And while this multimillion-dollar operation might not have been paying a lot in fines, the company was investing in political goodwill. In fact, on Jan. 16, 2008, almost a month after it received its most recent charges from the state, MOA contributed $20,000 to Attorney General Mark Shurtleff’s 2008 re-election campaign. Three months after the charges were dropped by the Utah Division of Consumer Protection, Shurtleff would bank another $10,000 from the company, according to MOA’s PAC report.

ShurtleffDiarmama.jpg
While Shurtleff’s political opponents have made quite a stink about the paydayloan industry’s support of Shurtleff’s 2008 campaign, they may have overlooked an even more significant cash flow between Shurtleff and another industry: call-center marketing companies in Utah that hawk online business programs, real-estate mentoring and grant writing software among other endeavors.

In 2008, Shurtleff filled his campaign chest with $187,500 in donations from seven call-center companies—all based in Utah and six which have been investigated by the Utah Division of Consumer Protection or prosecuted by assistant attorneys general in Shurtleff’s office representing Consumer Protection. That’s not counting the actions these companies have faced from 10 other state’s attorneys general or consumer protection agencies and from investigative counterparts in Australia. Donations Shurtleff netted from these companies made up more than a quarter of his 2008 war chest.

MOA was just one of these companies. When City Weekly asked the attorney general about a possible conflict of interest in accepting donations from companies that have been the subject of state investigation, he did not respond. Instead, in an e-mailed statement, A.G. spokesman Paul Murphy denied any wrongdoing.

“Your line of questioning suggests that a candidate or official should not take any contribution if that candidate may have a future conflict of interest,” writes Murphy. “Does the Attorney General or any elected official need to check with every agency in the state before taking a contribution? Does he have to check with the state fair board, the aeronautical board, child protection services, the state board of education? Is that even feasible?”

The Fixer 
Like a Mormon version of Michael Clayton—the troubled attorney turned corporate fix-it man from the 2007 film of the same name—Utah County businessman Tim Lawson says his credentials in the business world go beyond salesmanship. He says he’s also got some tight political connections he can call on to help sort out situations. One close friend, for example, is Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff. With the ability to offer MOA access to friends in high places, Lawson says MOA actively recruited him to join the company in 2007. He spent roughly a year at the company.

Separated from MOA since the fall of 2008, Lawson now paces about his sparse Provo office, the site of a new business he’s started which builds and markets hovercrafts. His head shaved, dressed in a brown leather jacket, Lawson’s intense gaze and quick, commanding tone would make him a dead ringer for a 1970s police detective if not for the handless headset over his ear.

“I already knew of [MOA’s] reputation, but I figured, as one of the managers, I could come in and clean it up,” Lawson says in a Jan. 20, 2009, interview. Now he believes he may have bitten off more than he could chew. “That [sales] floor doesn’t need a babysitter, it needs a roto-rooter to clean out the crap.

“People would come to work so drunk or stoned, they couldn’t hardly walk—and they’re collecting credit-card information from people all over the country,” Lawson says, “You’re talking heroin, coke, meth, every type of uppers and downers. They were even pumping out Adderall to people, OxyContin— anything you needed.”

Woman_cov.jpgCorine Cyphers was featured in a Jan. 21, 2009, City Weekly article about a discrimination claim filed with the Utah Antidiscrimination and Labor Division against MOA. In a Jan. 8 interview, she told City Weekly that management was more interested in results than office behavior. “[Management] made it a free-for-all as long as the job was done,” Cyphers says. “Go to work, party and then leave. The supervisors knew about it.”

This dope-fueled sales environment made for an unusual workplace, Cyphers said. Cyphers described employees toting Nalgene bottles full of vodka, and people passed out at their desk. Both Lawson and Cyphers said employees overdosed while at work.

These claims are consistent with documents City Weekly obtained through an open-records request. On July 7, 2005, the American Fork Police Department responded with multiple officers and medical personnel to a call of multiple overdoses at MOA’s location. Investigating officers discovered five employees in need of medical attention after having passed around a bottleful of gamma-hydroxybutrate or GHB. A drug with many street names such “Liquid X” and “Grievous Bodily Harm,” it is known both as a drug of the rave scene as well as a potent date-rape narcotic. Three victims had to be rushed to the emergency room of the American Fork Hospital.

The police report indicates several employees saying the incident was illustrative of a larger problem. One overdose victim told an officer “there is a serious problem with drugs being taken by employees at Mentoring of America.” The employee identified as the alleged dealer from this incident was subsequently fired by the company and arrested and booked into jail for narcotic possession, distribution and four counts of reckless endangerment.

But as recently as June 24, 2008, the American Fork Police Department again accompanied an ambulance to MOA’s worksite. The responding officer noted that the medical team identified a 32-year-old male employee who appeared to be suffering from an overdose “of Soma, Ultram and possibly Cocaine.”

“They follow the philosophy that the more money they make, the bigger the toys and the more drugs they can get,” Cyphers said in her January 2009 interview. Lawson says employees were making a killing off selling a computer program teaching customers how to make money off real-estate tax-lien sales. Team leaders like Lawson easily pulled in over six figures a year. “These kids are bringing down serious money and have no accountability,” he says. MOA was an amped-up sales powerhouse, according to Lawson and Cyphers, pulling in roughly $1.2 million in sales—a week. Other former employees, confirm the company’s drug culture, at least for the period between 2002 and 2005.

“Some guys there made $35,000 a week,” says salesman X, a former employee who asked to remain anonymous. “A lot of that just went down the drain with drugs.” X says numerous drugs were sold and available and people had connections to street drugs like ecstasy and heroin, but he says, for the most part, prescription drugs were the narcotics of choice: OxyContin, Lortab, Percoset—even a combination of all three they called “legal speedballs.” X says these prescription-drug cocktails were like performanceenhancing drugs for the sales team. He says the mindset of using while at work was, “I’m going to [work] for 12 hours; I won’t feel rejection, I won’t feel pain. I’ll be patient with the people on the phone. [The drugs] give people the ability to mold and mirror people on the phone and basically take their money.”

Salesman Y, also a former employee who asked to remain anonymous, remembers getting a Lortab from a supervisor once for a headache, “Pretty soon he was selling them to me wholesale,” Y says.

Since June 2008, there have been no new reported incidents regarding drug usage with the American Fork Police Department.

Besides hoping to crack down on drug use on the floor, Lawson says he was also working doubleduty making sure telemarketers weren’t breaking telecommunication law. “There are people that lie openly on the phone. There are people who overpromise. I’ve personally sat there and heard people say ‘Oh, I guarantee you will make $150,000 in your first two months,’” Lawson says. “That’s illegal! You can’t say that.”

Y remembers behavior like that from his time at MOA as well, even remembering a sales person who promised a woman over the phone that since she didn’t have a computer, that if she would just send him a check for $2,000, he would buy her a top-ofthe-line computer and mail it back to her. Y claims the salesman got the check, cashed it, kept the money and never sent the woman the computer. “And this was some old lady on disability,” Y says.

According to Consumer Protection records, since 2002, MOA has given a total of $2,459,383 in refunds to victims who complained to the division. MOA also has been in the Utah Division of Consumer Protection’s crosshairs on four separate occasions during the period 2004-07. The first time was in 2004, for violations of the Telephone Fraud Prevention Act including denying refunds, operating without a permit and failing to notify customers of their three-day cancellation rights. MOA settled and had a potential $19,500 fine knocked down to $2,000 so long as they refunded all the complaining consumers and promised to clean up their act.

In 2005, MOA was cited again by Utah Division of Consumer Protection for 23 counts of fraud for the exact same violations as in 2004, including deceptive trade practices and violations of the Telephone Fraud Prevention Act for failing to notify customers of their cancellation rights. In settlement of a potential fine of $36,500, MOA avoided having its license revoked and agreed to pay a $10,000 administrative assessment under the condition it amend its practices. If the company violated the terms of the agreement in the future, the company would owe the division an additional $53,500. It also had to “resolve and refund” the newest batch of 23 complaining consumers who, in total, were owed $180,490 for programs they couldn’t use or weren’t what they were promised.

Yet in 2006, the Attorney General’s Office, which enforces compliance for administrative actions issued by the Utah Division of Consumer Protection, had to bring civil action against MOA for failing to meet its obligations to refund the 23 complainants from the 2005 case. Nineteen of the 23 were given no refunds, others were given partial refunds and told it was a “take it or leave it” situation, according to the legal complaint. The state then demanded MOA pay full refunds at around $199,950 as well as administrative fines of $163,000.

In settlement, MOA paid a $25,000 fine, agreed to reform its practices and stop making false and misleading statements, and agreed that if it screwed up again, a judgment would be entered against MOA in the sum of $53,500 without further hearing, and MOA would be subject to additional fines.

Like a case of bad déj-vu, less than a year later, in December 2007, MOA was served with another administrative citation for 24 counts of allegedly violating the Telephone Fraud Prevention Act and for other deceptive practices. This time, MOA had switched it up a bit. According to division allegations, MOA sales representatives were still making deceptive and misleading promises about the program to customers. But now, after making the sale, sales representatives would pass the customer over to an inhouse compliance department. Before transferring the customer over, the salesperson would say that as a formality, the customer needed to tell the compliance agent that the salesperson hadn’t promised the customer outlandish earnings.

Overlapping this timeline enters a new star to the MOA team: Tim Lawson.

“People always call me to use me for my connections,” Lawson says. “I don’t know that people generally like me, but I know they like the people that I know. So I’ve had multiple people call me on multiple occasions, including the owners of MOA, calling me to try and use my connections to cover their ass,” Lawson says. “But at no time have I ever used my relationships to be compromised.”

“Two days out of [knee] surgery, on a Sunday evening and during a huge snowstorm, [MOA] called and said they were in big trouble. That the Division of Consumer Protection, Francine Giani was gonna file a cease-and-desist order and close their doors. And they wanted me to help out,” Lawson says. In the following months, he says, he lobbied Consumer Protection on behalf of MOA, and a settlement was reached.

The 2006 agreement had provided for a $53,500 judgment to be entered against MOA, which—combined with the new charges that added another $60,000— made a total possible judgment of $113,500. Yet, under MOA’s latest settlement, it paid no fine, and no judgment was entered. The company actually fared better than the first time it crossed with the division in 2004 when it was fined $2,000. To make a baseball comparison of MOA’s track record since 2004, the company had four strikes against it, and it walked a base.

Lawson says he tired of being the company’s fix-it man, especially as company problems persisted. A pivotal moment came with the suicide of his friend and colleague, Dee Beckstead. Lawson says he had been unaware of an employee at MOA who moonlighted as a drug dealer and had been fired several times previously but was continually rehired. This individual, Lawson claims, facilitated Beckstead’s relapse into heroin.

“If there would have been a drug policy, a one strike, you’re out, zero tolerance policy, [the dealer] wouldn’t have been there,” Lawson says. While he doesn’t hold MOA responsible for Beckstead’s suicide, he also doesn’t see it as blameless. “Now is [Beckstead’s suicide] MOA’s fault? No. But do they have some culpability? Absolutely. Because they allowed that type of environment to be fostered there.”

In a meeting, Lawson says he challenged the MOA management on the issue. Lawson said one of the managers admitted he didn’t care if employees used recreational drugs, “that he himself likes to do an occasional drug, light up a joint now and then, this that and the other,” Lawson says. “I was like, ‘You know, this is not a company I want to work for.’” Despite numerous attempts to contact company executives, MOA representatives would not comment for this story.

Lawson left the company in the summer of 2008 and took with him all his connections. Lawson says he regrets having introduced MOA management to Shurtleff. Now, having moved on, Lawson went to Shurtleff in the fall of 2008 and told him the extent of the drug problem.

“I’ll go on the record on this: Shurtleff is a man of honor, with impeccable integrity and the honesty of Abe Lincoln,” Lawson says. “He did not know all the stuff about MOA.”

So, Lawson says, as the truth came out, Shurtleff in January 2009 returned MOA’s two campaign-donation checks, one for $20,000 and another for $10,000.

“Which I think is impressive, personally,” Lawson says with the utmost sincerity. “No politician gives money back, because he’s not a politician, right guys? He’s a statesman!”

The Reports 
Shurtleff did return $30,000 he received from MOA’s Political Action Committee, according to Shurtleff’s 2008 campaign finance disclosure reports, but he still kept $2,500 he received from MOA’s corporation.

The only public record of the $30,000 donation comes from MOA’s 2008 Year-End PAC contributor report. Shurtleff’s report does not mention the receipt of either donation. There’s no indication of the $30,000 at all. According to the State of Utah Lieutenant Governor’s Office which warehouses candidates’ campaign finance filings, without speaking to the specifics of this incident (since no complaint has been filed the office has not investigated) the missing expenditure on the report means either Shurtleff never reported receiving the money or he went back to the electronic report filing and deleted any note of ever receiving the money.

According to Joe Demma, chief of staff for Lt. Gov. Gary Herbert, there is only one office that can really investigate and enforce compliance for negligent campaign finance filings—the Attorney General’s Office.

The effect of money on a candidate is difficult, if not impossible, to measure. In relative terms, most campaigns are very expensive, especially statewide campaigns. In his written response to City Weekly, attorney general spokesman Paul Murphy made these points in response to concerns of conflicts of interest. “What you are proposing would only allow people with deep financial pockets to run for office. Your approach also takes away the rights of companies and individuals to give to the candidate of their choice,” Murphy writes.

Yet, when asked why—if there were no conflict of interest with MOA—did Shurtleff return $30,000 in campaign donations from MOA, spokesman Murphy said that the $10,000 check was a typo on MOA’s report. As for returning the $20,000, Murphy writes via e-mail: “For reasons unrelated to Consumer Protection or unsubstantiated allegations of drug abuse, the Attorney General sent a $20,000 check back to MOA and removed $20,000 from his report.”

The Web 
So, for a candidate like Shurtleff, who raised $680,546 in 2008, MOA’s donation makes up a small chunk of that change. But from the call-center telemarketing industry in Utah, Shurtleff pulls in $156,000 in donations for 2008. Counting the allegedly returned MOA checks: $187,500.

These companies weave together a large web of money and legal actions. Several have multiple company names and most are interconnected, sharing client information so different companies can offer the same client additional services (see diagram, p. 20). There is even one infamous complaint of one company using waterboarding as a motivational exercise.

Prosper Inc., located in Provo, gained some notoriety on Feb. 28, 2008, when The Salt Lake Tribune reported that former employee Chad Hudgens had sued his former supervisor for using a method of torture on him that dates back to the Spanish Inquisition as part of a company exercise. The tactic induces psychological trauma by convincing the body it is drowning. Hudgens alleged his boss waterboarded him, explaining to watching employees that they should put the same amount of struggle into making sales as Hudgen’s body did as it struggled for air. Prosper, which markets business coaching to customers in areas such as real estate, investing and Web commerce also donated $15,000 to Shurtleff in 2008. Despite repeated attempts to contact representatives of Prosper, City Weekly was unable to obtain comments about an administrative citation issued against them by the Utah Division of Consumer Protection in 2007 for deceptive trade practices.

Another company that donated to Shurtleff, Storesonline, which markets a service selling and hosting online-business Websites, has been named in two individual lawsuits and settled eight actions with various state attorneys general from California to North Carolina. It is also facing two pending actions in the United States and one in Australia. The 2007 pending case with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission comes only a year after Storesonline settled with the country in 2006. In that agreement, the company promised to stop making false and misleading statements and agreed to refund 175 Australian consumers a total $673,478.

That amount barely edges out a California settlement where Storesonline agreed to pay fines and restitution to the tune of $550,000 in 2006. In all of the company’s settlement arrangements, Storesonline agreed to amend its business practices. Yet documents show between 2003 and 2008, the company has been fined and/or ordered to offer restitution for a combined sum of $2,194,289, an average of roughly $440,000 in fines and restitution owed per year.

General counsel for Storesonline Jeffrey Korn says that the company had a recent change in management in November 2008, and that previous management considered its $15,000 in political donations to Shurtleff in 2008 as part of being good corporate citizens. “Current management does not believe that and won’t be making any charitable or political donations,” Korn says. He says the company does not consider that an appropriate use of shareholder funds. “And personally, I wouldn’t have done it,” Korn says, because of the possibility of a perceived conflict. He adds that in his dealings with the state there has never been any significant contact with the Attorney General’s Office. “The negotiations and the complete settlement were done between me and [Consumer Protection] with no input from the Attorney General’s Office.”

Korn confirmed Storesonline’s relationship with other Shurtleff donor companies Professional Marketing International (PMI) and the Tax Club as companies that sell products to Storesonline customers. The Tax Club, a call center that sells business tax plans, donated $40,000 to Shurtleff in 2008. They were also subject to Consumer Protection citations for deceptive trade practices in 2007. Despite repeated attempts, to contact representatives of the Tax Club, City Weekly’s calls for comment went unanswered. PMI, aka National Marketing Resources, which gave $10,000 to Shurtleff in 2008, is a company offering real estate coaching and helps market Storesonline software. PMI has faced no citations or actions from Utah Consumer Protection. PMI President Phil Smith says its donations were only a show of support and that the company had likewise donated to several other races and causes in the state. “There was never any conflict of interest,” Smith says.

Jeremy Johnson, president of iWorks, a company that gave $50,000 to Shurtleff in March 2008, didn’t believe he was buying any favors, either. “[Shurtleff] is a guy that we like and believe in and there’s nothing else to it,” he says. In 2007, Johnson’s company, which markets products to assist customers in obtaining government small-business loans, was prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Office on behalf of the Division of Consumer protection for deceptive trade practices. The charges were dismissed in early 2008.

“We handle clients for a dozen companies with a 150,000 new customers every week. A certain percent complained to Utah’s Consumer Protection, and they decided to take action,” Johnson says. Besides, “Their own lawyers told them if they took it to court they’d lose, so they dropped it.”

Of course, Consumer Protection’s own lawyers are by statute, from the Attorney General’s Office.

The Alliance 
In relation to the iWorks campaign donations, the AG’s office’s Murphy pointed out inaccuracies in a June 19, 2008, City Weeklystory titled “The $50,000 Question.” The story incorrectly stated that members of the Attorney General’s Office participated in the investigation of iWorks. “Three assistant attorneys general have been involved in representing [Utah Consumer Protection] in matters relating to that investigation, but their role has always been as legal counsel, not as participants in any investigation,” Murphy writes.

Murphy says, however, that the decision to dismiss the 2007 case against iWorks was one decided “independently” by Consumer Protection, writing that while his staff worked with Consumer Protection on the issue, “The Attorney General had no input and no communications with Consumer Protection about this decision.”

Murphy says the Attorney General’s Office collaborated with a number of these businesses as well as the Consumer Protection Division to formulate a best-practices policy for dealing with complaints as part of a new industry association called the Alliance for Lifelong Learning.

“The attorney general does not have a relationship with these companies and has not been involved with any complaints that may have been made in the past. They all have compliance and complaint policies and should respond and refund money if there is a problem,” Murphy writes. “Some of these companies have not always been as prompt at responding, but it is hoped that this new association will provide better support for consumers.”

While the dismissal was Consumer Protection’s ultimate decision, Murphy notes the attorney general’s advisory capacity in how the division proceeded with the case. “In its role as counsel for the Division in proceedings involving Mentoring of America, the Attorney General’s Office represented the interests of the Division and had various internal discussions, prepared legal papers and had attorney-client communications.” Attempts by City Weekly to gain access to records of these internal documents and discussion records have been denied by the Attorney General’s Office, citing the legal standard of government privacy.

“Many companies are very legitimate and doing great work,” says Bill Nixon, executive director of the Alliance for Lifelong Learning, the trade association created with mostly Utah County call-center companies in January 2008. “But this is an industry where you also have fly-by-night, boiler room operations.” Nixon hopes that the association will be able to regulate its industry much like many other national industry associations by requiring members to adhere to strict standards of practice. Nixon says in the association’s first year it has already established a system to resolve customer complaints within roughly 48 hours. “The successful [complaint] closure rate is almost 100 percent,” Nixon says, adding that he still has concerns.

“If a company gets 30 complaints in a quarter,” Nixon says, “there may be 3,000 other unsatisfied customers who just don’t complain.” For him, the Alliance can’t simply be a paper tiger. “It’s not enough in my mind that we just meet the consumer’s expectations and thoughtfully and compassionately address their concerns. What we really want to do is improve the behavior of anybody who might be working in this industry. And if they don’t improve, they’ll be moved out of the association.”

According to Francine Giani, director of the Utah Department of Commerce—the state agency that houses Consumer Protection, the new association, while helping to resolve complaints won’t affect how the division acts on its investigations. “Citations will still go out,” Giani says, if companies display a pattern of negligent or criminal behavior. “We’re not heavyhanded here. I think we have to balance on [whether we can] correct the business’ practice to bring them in line or will they never learn?” But both Giani and Consumer Protection Director Kevin Olsen, agree the association is helping to resolve complaints. “If self regulation by the industry is the first step, that makes government regulation a lot easier,” Olsen says.

Giani did not see Mentoring of America as a driving force behind the association’s founding. “In fact it’s my understanding that they were the last to jump on board,” Giani says.

Regarding Consumer Protection’s waiving of MOA’s fine in 2007, Giani explained that consumers’ refunds might have been jeopardized by a protracted court battle. “We believe our first priority is to refund the consumers and not fund the coffers for the state,” Giani says.

Olsen notes the industry association is still in its infancy. “I think the alliance gave us a new tool,” he says. “We’re waiting to see if it’s the tool we really hope it is”.

The Candidate 
Marcus Aurelius, ancient Rome’s philosopher king, once wrote: “That which is not good for the beehive, cannot be good for the bees.” Utah Federal District Court Judge Paul Cassel would echo that statement in a legal opinion some two thousand years later.

Storesonline had sought an injunction against the Division of Consumer Protection to halt a 2007 administrative citation against it by arguing that the division lacked jurisdiction since complaining customers did not reside in Utah. Judge Cassel denied this argument and dismissed the company’s motion. Explaining why a company like Storesonline could potentially damage Utah even though the complaining customers were from outside the state, he wrote: “The state has an interest in protecting consumers against the harms of unchecked, exploitative businesses that are centered in Utah. And the state has an interest in preventing Utah from obtaining a reputation as being a haven for such businesses.”

Thus, the state helps bolster its image when it protects consumers from deals too good to be true, even consumers from out of state.

It protects consumers such as John and Claire Patrick, a retired couple from Tucson, Ariz., who complained of software and services they purchased from Utah County call-center company The Summit Group in 2007 for $8,000, meant to help them set up an online business site. Claire documented the return of all the materials the company charged her for, and luckily, her credit card company stood by her and canceled the charges. She also demanded a refund and pointed out to Summit that her husband—who had bought the program— was manic-depressive. According to a 2008 Division administrative citation against The Summit Group, John Patrick had even become suicidal when he learned the com pany would not refund the full amount— even after Claire Patrick told them about her husband’s condition. Claire Patrick says, however, that after she talked to the Utah Attorney General’s Office about her husband’s condition and Summit’s behavior, the full amount was soon refunded.

The Summit Group and another call center, Thrive Learning, both under the management of Colton Moody and Eric Largin, donated $25,000 to Shurtleff’s campaign in 2008.

“We were luckier than most,” Claire says. “Apparently, they kind of go after retired folks like us and maybe people with mental situations like my husband,” she says. “They kind of prey on folks.” Despite repeated attempts, representatives of the Summit Group could not be reached for comment.

For Donna Croninger, who works in foster care in Deshler, Ohio, documenting everything and complaining loudly to as many government entities as possible also helped her recoup roughly $8,000 from Mentoring of America in 2007. Still she was embarrassed for getting involved in the first place.

“It was stupidity on my part, I know that. But they said you’re making your money back. … You get promised things that aren’t there,” Croninger says. She’s grateful she got her money back and besides the abovementioned advice, she could recommend two other tactics that worked for her: “I cried and prayed,” she says.

AFTER THIS STORY More breaks out on Mark Shurtleff….

Mark Shurtleff: Ethical Questions

Records Request Points To Ethical Concerns In The AG’s Office.

POSTED BY CITY WEEKLY // MARCH 10,2010 –

 
Mark shurtleff and John Swallow Scammers

Mark shurtleff and John Swallow Scammers

When Utah Attorney General’s Office spokesman Paul Murphy was asked if it were appropriate for Mark Shurtleff to have his taxpayer-funded state secretary arrange a campaign lunch, Murphy said there was no problem.

“Mark’s schedule is a mixture of public and private, so his secretary has to schedule everything for him to make it work,” Murphy said, adding that “everything” included family time, church time and even doctor’s visits—all for the sake of efficiency.

While state law prohibits state employees working on campaign functions, the language is not black and white as to what activities are prohibited. Figuring out the nuances of state campaign law is the job of the Utah Attorney General’s Office.

Even though Shurtleff’s office sees nothing wrong with the practice of having a state secretary schedule all appointments, other officials disagree. In surveying local government officials at various city, state and legislative levels, City Weekly found no other agency that approved of a government secretary scheduling both office and campaign activities.

Using a state secretary to schedule campaign lunches in and of itself might not trigger alarm bells, but records show Shurtleff’s staff did express concern over campaign donations he had accepted. In a series of documents and internal e-mails City Weekly obtained through a records requests, one assistant attorney general mentions having “begged” Shurtleff to better screen his campaign donors after Shurtleff accepted $50,000 in campaign donations from a company his office had brought fraud charges against.

No Free Lunch
In January 2008, Shurtleff sent an e-mail asking his state secretary, Helen Petersen, to set up a meeting with him and representatives of call-center company Mentoring of America as well as the company’s salesman and lobbyist Tim Lawson, who is also a personal friend of Shurtleff’s.

In the e-mail, Shurtleff tells his secretary that the company’s CEO, Doug Gravink, and chief operating officer Gary Hewitt “will fly up here for the meeting (and bring me another $15k),” writing also, “Please call Tim [Lawson] and let him know date and time after you set it up. Thanks!” Neither Tim Lawson nor representatives from Mentoring of America returned a comment for this story.

According to the State Elections Office, only the attorney general can legally spell out whether a specific activity could be considered campaign work or the people’s work. But in practice, numerous state staffers say using the same secretary to schedule both campaign and office activities is not how they would operate.

Angie Welling, Governor Gary Herbert’s spokeswoman, for example, says campaign tasks are handled by others outside the governor’s office. “Campaign staff members are responsible for the logistics of all campaign-related meetings, such as setting the time and date, securing details of the event and putting together background information and briefing materials,” Welling writes in an e-mail to City Weekly. “Obviously, the campaign scheduler has to work with the Governor’s scheduler to make sure there are not scheduling conflicts or overlapping events.”

Bad Coincidence?
Mentoring of America, the company whose executives were invited to be Shurtleff’s lunch guests, has been under investigation by the Utah Division of Consumer Protection four times between 2004 and 2009.

City Weekly reported on the company’s close association with Shurtleff in the April 2009 article “Called into Question.” In responding to questions from City Weekly for that story, spokesman Murphy wrote that in late 2007 that the Attorney General’s Office was not involved in any pending legal action against MOA. However, there were outstanding administrative citations that eventually made the company liable for a $113,500 fine.

Meanwhile, secretary Petersen coordinated lunch reservations for Jan. 16, 2008, for multiple attendees involved with MOA at the now-closed Ruth’s Chris Steak House in downtown Salt Lake City. The meeting, Murphy says, was strictly a campaign lunch.

Two months later, the state’s charges were dropped, and MOA ended up paying no fines after the company joined other Utah call centers at Shurtleff’s and others’ request to form an industry association to help them resolve consumer complaints. While the state dropped its charges, 14 months later, in July 2009, the Federal Trade Commission charged MOA for allegedly defrauding thousands of consumers nationwide out of more than $300 million.

Talk at the Water Cooler
E-mails also show Shurtleff’s own staff questioning Shurtleff’s acceptance of campaign donations from companies his office has brought charges against, or who faced legal citations from the Division of Consumer Protection.

“It has occurred to me that since you are being asked repeated questions that relate to our office’s practices concerning conflict checks, you could consult with Fred Voros about discussions our office’s ethics committee has had on that subject,” Assistant Attorney General Blaine Ferguson writes Shurtleff in a March 17, 2009, e-mail, adding, “I offer this simply as an idea for your consideration.”

That was not the first time a concern had been expressed by a member of his staff about campaign donations. In June 2008, City Weekly covered Shurtleff’s acceptance of $50,000 in campaign donations from Jeremy Johnson, CEO of IWorks, a company charged with numerous fraud counts in late 2007. Several months after the Division of Consumer Protection dismissed charges against iWorks, Shurtleff received two $25,000 donations from the company[ed. note: this sentence has been corrected to clarify which agency prompted the dismissal].

E-mails show Paul Murphy circulated City Weekly’s June 2008 IWorks article to members of the attorney general’s staff. Assistant Attorney General Kirk Torgensen replied to Murphy, stating simply: “I have begged Mark to vet people through the office before [he] accepts donations.”

The Go-Between
Vetting campaign donors is one thing; vetting those who work on one’s campaign staff is another. In one e-mail, Lawson’s name appears on Shurtleff’s 2009 inauguration guest list, identified as a member of Shurtleff’s campaign staff (Murphy says he worked as a volunteer). This was within months of Lawson working as a lobbyist for MOA.

In a January 2009 interview, Lawson described himself as a man sought after by companies because of his connections in state government. “I don’t know that people generally like me, but I know they like the people I know,” he said.

As a member of Shurtleff’s campaign staff, Lawson had Shurtleff’s ear. They were close enough friends that Lawson and a guest were invited to join the attorney general on his trip to Israel in July 2008, before it was postponed due to Shurtleff’s health complications related to his 2007 motorcycle accident.

While Lawson told City Weekly that he was hired by MOA to do government lobbying, e-mails also indicate that Lawson may have acted as a go-between for other call-center companies, such as IWorks, in their dealings with the Attorney General’s Office.

Lawson attempted to reach out to Shurtleff on behalf of Johnson as early as January 10, 2008, as indicated in this e-mail that Helen Petersen wrote to Lawson: “I haven’t heard back from [Shurtleff] in regards to tomorrow regarding the meeting with Jeremy Johnson. When I do, I’ll let you know. Have a great weekend!”

Crossing the Line?
When learning about conflicts of interest, engaging former lobbyists as campaign staff and using taxpayer-funded secretaries to schedule campaign lunches, Quin Monson of Brigham Young University’s Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy is not all that shocked.

“Utah law is pretty ‘hands-off’ in many ways,” Monson says. “It’s kind of the Wild West of campaign finance laws here. If you can take unlimited donations from corporations, it’s hard to imagine why having a [secretary] make calls for you would be prohibited.”

Monson says with such loose regulations, it’s unlikely any laws were broken, but does concede that the behavior does push up against the perception of impropriety—which is troublesome on its own.

“It’s walking along the line of acceptable behavior that gets you in danger of crossing over it.”

 These are just a few of the stories and shady dealings that Utah Politicians have been involved in. Keep in mind Mark Shurtleff has 20 years in office worth of mystery and shady dealings.
Only to pass it down to his precedence and Right Hand “Picked Man” John Swallow the now Attorney General. Which goes into a host of more shady dealings in the next post. This is just the tip of the ice berg as this story goes into lobbyists, senators, State Division Departments, Lawyers, and the Utah Governor’s office.