Friday, January 3, 2014

Political Cancer

"She had 2 different kinds of cancer," says the former state representative, fiddling with his black tie framed against his bright red dress shirt.  Brad Daw stands inside his Orem home, as photographer Paul Sampson extends a light stand, and un-spools a black cable for our interview.  Daw glances at a blank wall, I suppose, recalling his wife's fight against the ravages of breast cancer, and his own battle against a nebulous, mysterious, and brutal political action committee, that, to Daw, may have seemed like the political equivalent of cancer.  "Needless to say, 2012 was not my favorite year." he says with melancholy.
Former State Rep. Brad Daw

In 2012, representative Daw and his wife huddled together, grappling with the stark realities of her mortality. At the same time, Political mega-broker Jason Powers and soon-to-be Attorney General John Swallow were, according to a recently released affidavit, gathering as well, in the back rooms of pay day loan companies, planning Daw's political death.

Court documents suggest that John Swallow, being mentored by outgoing Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, was constructing a political machine, that Boss Tweed might have envied.

Search warrant affidavits claim Swallow, with Powers, were raising money, not only for Swallow's AG race, but to defeat politicians with whom they saw a a threat to their allies.  In the case of Brad Daw, it was the peddlers of pay day loans.  Daw who had championed a modest bill that pay day loan businesses didn't like, found himself in front of Swallow's money machine investigators claim.

Swallow had secretly funneled money into a PAC called "The Proper Role of Government Defense Fund, say investigators, and the PRDGF began to brutalize Daw with a misleading ad campaign that suggested he was a supporter of ObamaCare, was for illegal immigration, and was even a proponent of school yard bullying.

For years, Daw never knew who was truly behind the scathing blitz that lead to his eventual defeat, but he never suspected it could be his old friend, John Swallow.  A friend for whom Daw had expended considerable political capitol, leading the charge on a child predator bill that was not popular among some state legislators.
Former AG John Swallow

I can tell, the defeat still stings deeply for the former representative.  "Do you still have any of those old flier?" I ask, in hopes of getting a few pictures of some of the more egregious attacks against him, " I have them all," he responds with pained enthusiasm.  Daw marches up the steps of his split level, and like a homing pigeon locates a plastic, aqua folder containing the offending fliers.  He holds the handbills with pained, cautious reverence, as if the card stock handbills are historic relics or a basket of rattle snakes.

Anti-Daw flier
Daw splays the political placards out gently across the flowered love seat in his sitting room, "that was one of the first ones," Daw eyes a glossy handout, showing the former rep, next to President Obama, both men in surgical scrubs, claiming the two were allies on health care issues.

 After our interview,  I ask how his wife is doing with her cancer battle, and with real joy he responds, "remission!" That joy is tempered a bit as he bends down to carefully gathered up the fliers,  attentive not to crease them as he places them into that vile aqua folder,  remembering the time that a different kind of cancer, killed his political career.

1 comment:

  1. Great summary of what has happened. I have always known Swallow was a bad man, having worked behind the scenes in politics for a short time. But Shurtleff I was never sure about. I am positive as the onion layers are peeled back we will find even more here. Thanks for this, it was very powerful and emotional to read and can only imagine how Daw felt finding out the truth.