When the John Swallow investigation was getting started in the House, Senate President Wayne Niederhauser instructed his fellow senators to lay low and not make public statements on it. At the time, it seemed like a prudent course of action to follow. Since the Senate would be responsible for any trial, you don’t want the potential jurors saying something they can’t back out of, nor would it be wise to make a statement you would later need to walk back. Curiously, though, Sen. Niederhauser chose again and again to not follow his own advice.
It starts last September when Sen. Niederhauser first called to end the House investigation since federal prosecutors decided to not press charges at that time. He reiterated the need to halt the investigation in November when Swallow finally resigned. He even referred to John Swallow as his “good friend” in an email to a constituent. Since then, evidence of no fewer than eight potential criminal charges have been found by the House investigators. What possible motivation could the senator have for disregarding his own advice and making such damaging statements?
As it turns out, he has $180K worth of reasons. During his initial run for senate, Wayne Niederhauser spent over $180K with Jason Powers and campaign manager Jessica Fawson, both of whom have been implicated in Swallow’s campaign money laundering scheme. I’m speculating here, but it seems that a continued investigation would have explored the depths of his involvement with people who now appear to have committed multiple criminal acts. That’s political poison.
The question remains on if a potential challenger will seek to unseat a powerful state senator or if these shady connections will become major campaign talking points. At the least, the senator from Sandy has an awful lot of explaining to do.
- John Swallow: Utah’s Most Corrupt Politician Ever? (utahpoliticohub.com)
- Some Gems from the John Swallow Report, Part 1 (utahpoliticohub.com)