SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Utah county prosecutor said Wednesday he is investigating U.S. Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada in connection with a pay-to-play scheme involving two former Utah attorneys general.
Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings, a Republican, said in a statement that he’s looking into allegations related to the Democratic senator.
Rawlings declined to disclose the allegations and only said the claims are based on information from witnesses in the attorneys general case.
Reid hasn’t been charged and didn’t immediately comment on the investigation.
Reid has denied wrongdoing since a businessman said in 2013 that a former Utah attorney general arranged a deal to pay the senator to get rid of a federal investigation into a software business.
Federal prosecutors declined to file charges in the case.
Rawlings said he has a duty to follow up on leads in the attorneys general case and has been granted permission to investigate possible statewide crimes in relation to the case.
He said he’s limited by what he can disclose due to judicial rules but decided to confirm that he’s investigating Reid in response to questions 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 the statement.
Reid’s name came up as Rawlings looks into the actions of former Utah attorneys general John Shurtleff and John Swallow.
The two were arrested last summer after prosecutors said the men engaged in a wide-ranging, pay-to-play scheme where they traded favors with businessmen in trouble with regulators during their combined 13 years running the state office.
Swallow has pleaded not guilty to bribery charges. Shurtleff has pleaded not guilty to obstructing justice charges. Both have trials scheduled in 2016.
Rawlings renewed his criticism of the U.S. Department of Justice for limiting what information he has access to and what he can investigate.
Justice officials closed their investigation in 2013 without filing charges. FBI investigators stayed on the case to help state attorneys who took it over.
“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 comment.
The disclosure by Rawlings that he’s looking into the accusations against Reid was first reported by City Weekly, a newspaper in Salt Lake City (http://bit.ly/1kCFK6G)
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