This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2015, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Jason Powers, the controversial political operative whose dark-money campaign tactics came to light during the John Swallow and Mark Shurtleff criminal investigations, is back in business in Utah.
He is working with his brother, Greg Powers, whose G1 Consulting has contracted with Gary Herbert's Governor's Leadership Political Action Committee.
But Greg Powers and Marty Carpenter, a spokesman for the governor's re-election campaign, say the contract stipulates that G1's data-entry work will not be delegated to anyone other than Greg Powers.
That point was made specifically to ensure Jason Powers would not be involved in any work for the governor's PAC, Carpenter said.
Greg Powers said his brother is not a partner or employee in the firm, although he gives him work on some G1 contracts but nothing having to do with the governor.
Jason Powers popped up in a Utah House investigation into former Attorney General Swallow that found a pay-to-play culture in the attorney general's office.
Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill and Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings eventually filed criminal corruption charges against the two former officeholders.
The probes revealed that Jason Powers orchestrated a scheme to undermine the campaign of state Rep. Brad Daw, R-Orem, who was targeted by payday lenders after he proposed tighter regulations on that industry, which had a cozy relationship with Swallow and Shurtleff.
Powers set up a nonprofit called the Proper Role of Government Education Association that inundated Daw's district with campaign propaganda labeling the GOP incumbent as a socialist and President Barack Obama sympathizer.
The investigations discovered the nonprofit, which also attacked Swallow's 2012 GOP opponent, Sean Reyes, was almost entirely funded by the payday-lending industry, although the donors were kept anonymous at the time of the mudslinging.
The deception so offended Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, and Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy, that they paid for a YouTube video denouncing the tactics.
It also led now-House Speaker Greg Hughes, R-Draper, to sponsor a bill forcing nonprofits to disclose their donors if they spend more than $750 in a calendar year on political causes.
Before the revelations of Jason Powers' tactics against Daw who lost the 2012 race before reclaiming his seat in 2014 many Republican candidates employed Jason Powers as their campaign strategist.
They included Sens. Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee, former state Rep. and 2012 congressional candidate Carl Wimmer, state Auditor John Dougall, and several other GOP legislators even Niederhauser.
After the Swallow-Shurtleff scandal, Powers disappeared from the political scene in Utah and moved out of state. Although he has never been charged, he reportedly was looked at by prosecutors Gill and Rawlings, and was a possible witness in the case against the former attorneys general.
Now that he is back, he can continue to maintain a low profile by piecemeal work through his brother's company.
Where are they now? • The largest gathering ever of world leaders has begun near Paris to deal with global climate change.
The A-list includes U.S. President Barack Obama, French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister David Cameron, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Also on hand is lame-duck Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker.
Becker flew to France with wife Kate Kopischke, who is there on behalf of the U.N. to attend the meetings in his capacity as president of the National League of Cities, said his spokeswoman Nichol Bourdeaux.
The two-term mayor has made energy conservation a priority during his eight-year tenure, but it remains to be seen how the information he brings back to Utah will be embraced by Mayor-elect Jackie Biskupski, who defeated him last month in a bitterly fought election.
A ringing endorsement • Ricky J. Nelson is an estate planning attorney for the firm Spaulding Gomm in Pleasant Grove.
On Avvo.com, a website where attorneys are reviewed by their peers and clients, Nelson has received high praise for his work.
One of Nelson's colleagues at the firm wrote the following:
"Having known, worked with and supervised many attorneys throughout my career, as a litigation partner in a civil litigation firm, and as chief deputy attorney general for Utah and as Utah's former attorney general, I am impressed with Mr. Nelson's knowledge, ethics and thoroughness. I am happy to endorse him."
Those glowing words come from none other than John Swallow.