US Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada is being investigated regarding a pay-to-play plan that involve two past attorney generals of Utah, said a county prosecutor Wednesday.
A Republican, County Attorney Troy Rawlings, ensured that he is inquiring on the accusation against the Democratic senator. Rawlings, however, didn’t disclose anything about the allegations and only disclosed the petitions filed on the information provided by the witnesses in the general case.
Reid, in a statement by his spokesperson Kristen Orthman, fired back at Rawlings, though he hasn’t been charged. The spokeswoman claimed Rawlings is grabbing attention, using the name of Sen. Reid to accelerate his political influences by pursuing stories by initiating the same dubious allegations.
Reid has denied any wrongdoing ever since a businessperson expressed that a former Utah attorney general organized a deal to pay the legislator to avoid a federal investigation into a software business in 2013. Federal prosecutors declined to register charges in the case.
Rawlings stated he has a responsibility to pursue leads in the attorney general case, and he has also been permitted to investigate probable crimes across the state in connection with the case. He said legal bindings prevent him from disclosing specific information, but he specified that he’s investigating Reid in response to queries from a local newspaper.
“To simply ignore and run from what has been presented by multiple witnesses and sources… would mean I am either intentionally blind, or overly worried,” Rawlings said in his statement.
Reid’s name came up during Rawlings’ inquires into the actions of John Shurtleff and John Swallow, earlier Utah attorney generals. Both of them were arrested last summer, as prosecutors accused the men of being involved with a wide-ranging, pay-to-play plan where they traded favors with businessmen in trouble with regulators at the time of their 13-year combined tenures in the state office. Swallow has pled not guilty to bribery charges. Shurtleff has pled not guilty to hindering justice charges. Both will go to trial in 2016.
Rawlings revived his criticism of the US Department of Justice for restricting the information he has the right to use and the matter of what he is able to investigate. Justice officials shutdown the investigation in 2013 without any charges. FBI investigators continued the case to assist state attorneys who dealt it.
“It is not up to the DOJ to tell me who can and who cannot be investigated and what evidence is relevant and material to a state case,” Rawlings said.
Justice officials declined to comment on the matter.
Rawlings has been considered the top prosecutor in Davis County in northern Utah since 2007. He won his first election to this post after having worked as an attorney for six years. He started his profession as a defense attorney. He has run for office several times with the Democratic district attorney of Salt Lake County, Sim Gill, including on this case, prior to a separating of responsibilities. Gill supported Rawlings’s dealings on the case, saying he and Rawlings both committed to following all leads when they took the case, and this one comes to Rawlings, since he’s the one with ability and power to handle statewide crimes.
“I trust Troy to do what he deems is right and appropriate,” Gill said. “I think he’s trying to do his due diligence.”
The story that Rawlings was looking into the allegations against Reid was initially reported by Salt Lake City Newspaper City Weekly.