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Op-ed: Swallow's alter ego sticking close to the trough

Published November 30, 2013 1:01 am
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

From John Swallow's alter ego:

Look, I know I said I would resign, but that was last Thursday, and I gave myself until Dec. 3, and anyway, if those crappy reporters had been on their toes, they would have seen my crossies.

When I finally gave that damn, left-leaning Tribune what it wanted, all it got me was comparisons to Richard Nixon, who, by the way, like me, was not a crook. It wasn't enough to factually report my assumed resignation; they had the nerve to critique it!

And whoever heard of the Dalliance for a Better Utah, a Commie front group fer shur. Memo to Self when I get back to my desk: settle their snarky hash PDQ.

I had this epiphany while the wife and I were reading all this frenzied off-with-his-head stuff that Gehrke and Pyle dished up after my press conference where — remember — I was in crossies.

It was late, and a spectral raven settled on my chamber door, and it said "John, John, why are these self-righteous legislators and their pricey lawyers persecuting you? After all, you are the evolutionary product of the campaign finance system they created. Get a grip, John. You learned how to oink at their trough, and now they're sore that you learned too well? Nevermore!"

So I'm back. As I've plainly told you all, I have done nothing wrong, and it's just a darn shame that all those e-mails which would have proved my innocence got deleted. Honestly, the name of the political game is Friends Helping Friends.

This whole phony flap is really only about my having raked in a bigger pile. So I took campaign cash, and lots of it, from people who wanted and needed some help — big deal. Payday lenders are people, too. So who else hasn't?

Gov. Herbert's $100,000 campaign contribution limit was self-reformed down to a mere $50,000. Is there a major road contractor that doesn't pony up when the Guv's lookin' for money? The $13 million UDOT bid payoff boondoggle was snazzy footwork, and now it's a snoozer.

Who out there still believes the UTA Frontrunner station selection process didn't have some insider thumbs on the scale? I don't see any calls for million-dollar investigations over any of that! It's just Friends Helping Friends.

And speaking of glass houses, who are legislators kidding by pelting mine with stones? It isn't like their cash comes from the tooth fairy, because practically none of it comes from voters who live in their districts.

The lobbyists who routinely fork it over like to call it "an investment in good government." If it weren't for these investment "transactions," we wouldn't have the maxim about honest politicians, who, once they're bought, stay bought.

It's a phenomenal racket, especially for legislators who don't have opponents but still take in a ton of campaign cash. What are "leadership PACs" and donations from one legislator's campaign account to another's? Sure, it looks like straight-up vote purchasing, but it's just classic Friends Helping Friends.

What's so noble about the lobbyists who bankroll leadership races? We're all in the same racket together, truly, but I'm somehow the go-after guy? And what about that senator who's always writing bills tailored to get education contracts for his buddies? It's just more Friends Helping Friends, and they're making me a piñata for being a little bit better at it than they are?

OK, I was naïve. I met the marks at places I shouldn't have: Krispy Kreme and Mimi's. Not real classy, but my friends are payday lenders. Get real. So, I shoulda done business at the Alta Club or on a pricey golf course like these rock-throwers in the House? But that would only hurt consumers, who might see their interest rates jacked to 1,700 percent annually. Gimme a break.

The more I pondered it, the more I realized that this whole year's worth of agony, which has drained my campaign/retirement slush fund to zero, is really over style, not substance. I'm everyone's target not because of what I did — which is what goes on all the time in Utah politics — but because of how I did it. This is all about cosmetics.

I demeaned my fellow oinkers by troughing at Krispy Kreme, and I ain't goin' down over a doughnut! Bring on impeachment, but look in the mirror first!

David Irvine and Alan Smith are co-counsel for Utahns for Ethical Government






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