Ex-Utah AG Campaign Staffers Called Transgender Delegate ‘That Thing’

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January 3, 2014 2:49 p.m.

An ugly side note to the scandal involving former Utah Attorney General John Swallow: emails sent among Swallow campaign staffers in 2012 referred to a transgender delegate to the state’s Republican Convention as “that thing.”

The emails were made public in court documents unsealed on Thursday, and were part of an affidavit tied to the investigation of Swallow, fellow former Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, and others. The documents were first reported on by The Salt Lake Tribune.

According to the affidavit, a portion of which the Tribune shared with TPM, the emails were sent on April 11, 2012 and April 12, 2012, while Swallow was running for attorney general. They concerned events known as the “feedings” of delegates, which took place in the weeks leading up to the Republican Party’s convention. According to the Tribune, it is common for candidates to buy meals for delegates “who have tremendous clout in picking the party’s nominees.”

“I’m going to try to give a total for every day,” campaign staffer Seth Crossley wrote in the first email mentioned in the affidavit. “Yesterday we had 80 delegates at our feedings. Looking like we’ll beat it today!”

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“Feedings?” consultant Greg Powers replied. “Is this like a [sic] delegates are deer and John is a salt lick kind of thing?”

“I was thinking more goats and a tin can,” Crossley replied. “Not sure if that analogy actually happens outside of cartoons though.”

Later in the email thread, Crossley provided another update.

“77 graced us with their presence yesterday including the infamous cross dresser!” he wrote.

“I’m still waiting for a picture of the tranny!” campaign staffer Renae Cowley wrote back. According to the the Tribune, Cowley was referring to a transgender delegate who identifies as a woman.

“I offered a picture of that thing while it was next to me!” Crossley wrote. “You declined.”

“No i [sic] didn’t, I just said not an ‘up the skirt’ shot,” Cowley replied.

At that point, Swallow campaign consultant Jason Powers chimed in.

“Take me off this thread and email send emails to personal accounts,” Powers wrote.

On Thursday, the Tribune reported that Powers allegedly filed fake tax documents for a nonprofit group that ran ads attacking Swallow’s opponents. Powers’ attorney denied the allegations.

Swallow and Shurtleff have both repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

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