Thursday, September 30, 2004

GNC Swallows

In Utah's Second District, a race that once was on everyone's hit list has been fading from the spotlight as incumbent and Democrat Jim Matheson has a 31 point lead on GOP nominee John Swallow. Many have wondered why its happened, given that Matheson won by a whisker last time. I happen to think that most of it is due to Matheson's hard work in the new part of his district and his conservative stances on many cultural issues (even though he votes with his party over 60 percent of the time).

However, it might also be Swallow's "ties to the dietary supplement industry" could be hurting him in his bid, according to Roll Call. Swallow was formerly "in-house counsel" to Basic Research, maker of "diet pills and weight-loss creams," which is under "investigation by the" FTC "for its marketing and advertising practices." And he "has raised about $44,000 from industry executives as of June 30." "Initially, Basic Research told the FTC that part of Swallow's duties included reviewing ad copy for the products" under investigation. "A company spokesman then backed away from that claim." Swallow camp. manager Tim Garon, on the investigation: "I don't think there is any issue here." He also said "he sees no problem with Swallow accepting donations from individuals associated with the dietary supplement industry."

"Despite a trickle of recent newspaper articles," Swallow's connections to "an industry that does not have the best reputation" have "yet to become a major issue" in the campaign, but they are "clearly hurting" his standing with voters. "An independent poll conducted Sept. 6-9 showed Swallow trailing Matheson by a surprising 31 points, 61 percent to 30 percent."

Utah State University's Mike Lyons: "The revelations have coincided with Matheson widening his lead at a time when it should be getting closer." So far, "neither the Matheson campaign nor any third-party groups have sough to paint" Swallow's connections "as a negative," and "Democratic campaign officials were reluctant to discuss the subject this week." Garon says if they do make it an issue, "it will be a sign of ... desperation."

"Swallow's contributions from the dietary industry are not the only ones raising eyebrows." He has also received $118,000 in donations from "a group of donors who run homes for troubled teens that has been the subject of three separate abuse investigations by the state." Another "Swallow donor," Cameron Lewis, "is accused of defrauding public schools out of millions of dollars." Lewis "gave $12,000 to Swallow's campaign" All doped up and no where to go, what a shame.

No comments: