Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff keeps providing interesting material for bloggers. Two weeks ago I wrote about the campaign contributions Shurtleff receives from multi-level marketing companies (MLMs) like Usana Health Sciences (NASDAQ:USNA) and Pre-Paid Legal (NYSE:PPD), and his support for weakening laws against pyramid schemes in Utah. This is important because it is my contention that most MLMs are pyramid schemes in disguise, and that the government can and should enforce anti-pyramiding laws against them.
And of course, there was the whole situation in which Shurtleff lied about Sam Antar. Sam’s a convicted felon who travels around the country (on his own dime) educating accountants, investigators, and lawyers about corporate fraud from the perspective of a reformed criminal. He does this simply as a public service.
Shurtleff falsely accused Sam of using his speaking engagement in Utah for the Attorney General’s office as a self-promotional tool. (Sam did no such thing. All he did was mention on his blog that he did the engagement and list it on his website, as he does with all speaking engagements.)
That whole situation reeked of Shurtleff attempting to help Overstock.com (NASDAQ:OSTK) silence a vocal critic of the company’s perpetual money-losing machine. Overstock has donated at least $11,000 to Shurtleff’s campaign since 2001.
And now Shurtleff is in the middle of case in which Marc Sessions Jenson was accused of fraud and racketeering. It’s alleged that Shurtleff had charges brought against Jenson as a favor to a political donor, Ricke White. White says Jenson defrauded him of a million dollars with an investment scheme. Shurtleff says that he isn’t involved, and all decisions in the case were made by his staff.
Everyone is fighting over who is influencing who. Which lobbyists are twisting which arms. Who’s intimidating who. And so on… But I just find it interesting that Shurtleff finds himself in the middle of another case involving donors and questions about his ethics and conduct.
Another interesting tidbit I found while researching this situation? Unusual deletions from Mark Shurtleff’s online campaign contribution data. Utah’s site which details all campaign contribution information is currently offline, supposedly for an overhaul. But prior to this, the Salt Lake Tribune noticed that records were being altered.
One such record? Shurtleff’s contribution to John McCain’s campaign. Why was it altered? The Deseret News reported earlier this month that the donation might have violated federal election laws. Shortly thereafter, the entry in the database went missing.
Then a second Shurtleff entry also went missing after he was questioned about it. This one involved a contribution to the Scott Rolle campaign for Maryland’s attorney general. Right after The Deseret News asked about that one, it went missing as well.