NY Times Looks at Swallow Investigation

Former Utah Attorney General John Swallow sought to transform his office into a defender of payday loan companies, according to a special legislative report released last week.

Writes Nicholas Confessore:

A former state lawmaker, Mr. Swallow had worked as a lobbyist for the payday loan company Check City, based in Provo, Utah, becoming close with its founder, Richard M. Rawle, a charismatic entrepreneur who had built a sprawling empire of payday loan and check-cashing companies. One witness would later describe Mr. Swallow’s attitude to his former boss as one of “reverence.”

When Utah’s sitting attorney general, Mark Shurtleff, decided in mid-2011 not to run for a fourth term, Mr. Swallow, then his chief deputy, laid plans to run as his successor. He teamed with Mr. Powers, a Republican political consultant who has helped elect most of Utah’s most powerful political figures.

To support his campaign, Mr. Swallow turned to payday lenders and other businesses that frequently clash with regulators.

“I look forward to being in a position to help the industry as an AG following the 2012 elections,” Mr. Swallow wrote to one Tennessee payday executive in March 2011.