Salt Lake City, UT – Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes is under fire following a recent uptick in donations from companies regulated by the FTC. Now, the good-government group Alliance for a Better Utah is asking Reyes if his campaign is complying with the procedures he has previously laid out relating to accepting and managing contributions that create actual or potential conflicts of interest.
Late last week, the Salt Lake Tribune published a column looking into several recent campaign contributions Reyes had received from individuals and businesses who do business with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). There have been several reports that the Trump Administration is considering appointing Reyes to be Chairman of the FTC.
“These contributions are troubling because they indicate that the appearance of ‘pay-to-play’ politics is once again returning to the Office of the Attorney General,” said Josh Kanter, Better Utah’s board chair. “Reyes ran for office on a promise to rid that office of corruption once and for all. When it comes to public trust, appearances are as important as realities. It now seems as though Reyes is willing to accept campaign contributions from parties he may regulate as Attorney General and those he may regulate if named Chairman of the FTC. That certainly gives rise to at least the appearance of a serious conflict of interest.”
Reyes has previously stated his campaign office “carefully scrutinizes every single donation or potential donation” and has rejected contributions from certain individuals, organizations and industries that are under investigation by the Utah AG’s office. Better Utah is seeking clarification of Reyes’ campaign office’s policies and procedures to assure the public that real or perceived conflicts of interest are being avoided.
“The timing and sources of these contributions are troublesome regardless of whether they are intended to aid Reyes in a future election here in Utah or result from the rumors of Reyes’ consideration by the Trump Administration as a potential Chairman of the FTC,” continued Kanter. “The appearance of a pay-to-play system should be avoided at every level – perhaps most importantly when it concerns the state’s top cop.”
This is not the first time Reyes has been questioned for accepting conflict-ridden contributions since he has taken office. In May 2015, Better Utah and others criticized Reyes for not returning a $5,000 contribution from 1-800-Contacts that was made after Reyes’ office began defending a law that would benefit that company.
A full copy of Better Utah’s letter to Reyes can be found here.