Former St. George multimillionaire Jeremy Johnson speaks to reporters after being found guilty on eight of 86 charges at the federal courthouse in Salt Lake City on Friday, March 25, 2016. | Laura Seitz, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — Convicted internet marketer Jeremy Johnson has agreed to not challenge allegations that he made illegal campaign contributions to Utah GOP Sen. Mike Lee and retired Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, ending a yearslong Federal Election Commission case.
Johnson, 44, used “straw” donors to give $50,000 to Lee’s Senate campaign and $20,000 to Reid’s reelection campaign in the 2009-10 election cycle, according to a pending consent judgement filed Monday in U.S. District Court.
The FEC, which filed a civil complaint against Johnson in 2015, fined the St. George businessman $840,000. But recognizing Johnson owes the federal government millions of dollars in connection with other cases and is limited in earning a living, the commission agreed to forgo the penalty.
A federal judge must still sign off on the judgement.
“They wanted us to admit the facts. We wouldn’t do it because a lot of them are not true,” said Karra Porter, an attorney for Johnson. “What we did agree to for the purposes of this one filing was not to challenge the allegations.”
Porter said the FEC went to “all that trouble” of going after Johnson for nothing.
“They got nothing out of it. They didn’t even get an admission of liability or of the facts. They just wanted it gone,” she said.
In a document accompanying the consent judgement, Johnson agreed not to contest a list of FEC allegations describing how he came to make the campaign contributions, several of which involve former Utah Attorney General John Swallow.
According to the document, Swallow solicited Johnson for donations to Lee in 2010 and for former Utah
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