August 1, 2008

Media Outlets Turn Over Tapes in Treasurer Race Bribe Probe

By Cathy McKitrick, The Salt Lake Tribune

Aug. 1--Media outlets KUTV, KSL-TV and KSL NewsRadio have complied with subpoenas requesting taped interviews of three Republicans linked to an ongoing bribery investigation.

Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings and Weber County Attorney Mark DeCaria had requested interviews featuring former Rep. Mark Walker, R-Sandy, current Chief Deputy State Treasurer Richard Ellis and House Speaker Greg Curtis, R-Sandy.

Walker and Ellis were vying for the GOP nomination in the state treasurer's race. According to Ellis, Walker told him he could keep his current job and get a $56,000 raise if he would withdraw from the race.

"We received the material and are grateful for their cooperation," Rawlings said Thursday evening.

The stations limited their release of information to what had already aired, Rawlings added. Anything beyond that would be protected under Utah's new shield rule, adopted by the state Supreme Court in January. In a sworn affidavit to the state Supreme Court -- part of Ellis' effort to force Lt. Gov. Gary Herbert to either advance or dismiss his complaint before the June 24 primary -- Ellis said that Walker told him he had spoken with the person who could make that kind of pay increase happen.

Herbert handed off Ellis' complaint to the state Attorney General's Office immediately after polls closed. Ellis handily eliminated Walker in the primary.

Attorney General Mark Shurtleff supported Walker, so his office delegated the criminal investigation to the two county attorneys, Rawlings a Republican, DeCaria a Democrat.

In early July, Walker, a two-term member of the state House of Representatives, resigned his seat -- the night before the House Ethics Committee was slated to address a related complaint launched by five lawmakers. Rawlings declined further discussion of the probe, except to say he and DeCaria plan to finish it sometime in August.

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