Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) released a statement Sunday responding to recent bribery allegations made by a Utah businessman who claims he arranged a deal to pay off the senator.
"Senator Reid has no knowledge or involvement regarding Mr. Johnson’s case," the Senator’s office said in a statement. "These unsubstantiated allegations implying Senator Reid’s involvement are nothing more than innuendo and simply not true."
Jeremy Johnson, the Utah man who has been charged with felony bank fraud, money laundering, and other offenses, told federal investigators that he had funneled $600,000 through Utah’s attorney general, John Swallow, to influence Reid in an FTC investigation.
"The truth is the worst thing I think I’ve done was I paid money knowing it was going to influence Harry Reid," Jeremy Johnson told the Salt Lake Tribune. "So I’ve felt all along that I’ve committed bribery of some sort there."
According to Roll Call:
Johnson says that Utah Attorney General John Swallow — before he held the office — connected Johnson with a businessman named Richard Rawle, who was described as "Harry Reid’s contact." Rawle’s family owns a chain of payday lending operations called Check City. Rawle has made campaign contributions to Reid’s efforts, but also to a host of other politicians on both sides of the aisle, including Utah GOP Sens. Mike Lee and Orrin G. Hatch, campaign filings show.
Swallow, not Reid, appears to be the target of Johnson’s allegations, since he is the one identified as the intermediary between Johnson and Rawle. Swallow denies any criminal wrongdoing. Swallow, a Republican, is the new attorney general in Utah.
"I can say this emphatically: I have never had a financial arrangement with Mr. Johnson and no money has ever been offered or solicited," Swallow told the Utah newspaper. The publication also said it was unclear if any of the money transferred to an operation set up by Rawle ever reached Reid or his political operations. Rawle himself is now deceased.