Last month, a riotous mob stormed the United States Capitol building in an attempt to prevent the certification of the 2020 presidential election results. Ever since then, there have been ongoing efforts to hold people accountable for the events of that now infamous day. At least 232 individuals have been charged with a variety of crimes for directly participating in the insurrection at the Capitol. However, it would be a mistake to stop there and forget about all those who may not have personally participated in ransacking a building that’s a sacred part of our nation’s civic life, but nevertheless stacked the tinder or fanned the flames of rebellion.
Next week, the United States Senate will hopefully fulfill its constitutional role in holding Trump accountable for his brazen attempt to subvert the democratic process. But what about all the others who were involved in enabling Trump’s reckless behavior, spreading baseless lies, or otherwise legitimizing this assault on a free and fair election?
Only three days after Election Day 2020, Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes proudly volunteered to head over (uninvited) to Nevada and offer his services in the Trump campaign’s effort to uncover election irregularities and illegal votes. This decision was followed by widespread condemnation from Utahns, including then-Governor Gary Herbert and Governor-Elect Spencer Cox. Unrepentant, Reyes decided a month later on December 9 to join a partisan lawsuit before the U.S. Supreme Court seeking to invalidate millions of votes in battleground states and keep Trump in power.
Dozens of state and federal judges, including the justices of the Supreme Court, rejected the unfounded claims brought before them by partisans like Reyes who tried using the judicial branch to overturn an election. Despite all this and following calls for apologies, resignation, and even impeachment, Reyes has continued to defend his actions and undermine the legitimacy of the election.
Many have begun to refer to the far-right tactics used in the months leading up to the January 6 insurrection as “The Big Lie,” a propaganda technique that Reyes perpetuated, whereby facts and truth are grossly distorted or misrepresented for political ends. These tactics culminated in an attempt to prevent the certification of the election by a mob, and millions of Americans still believe the disinformation. By spending so-called “personal time” to challenge the election results of a neighbor state, using his position as chief lawyer for the State of Utah to try invalidating millions of legal votes, and pursuing partisan interests along with the rest of the Republican Attorney General Association, Reyes has eroded trust in our democratic process and institutions.
As Senator Mitt Romney recently said in reference to Trump’s impeachment, “if we’re going to have unity in our country, I think it’s important to recognize the need for accountability, for truth and justice.” Even though Reyes refuses to apologize to Utahns for his actions and his fellow Utah Republicans have closed ranks by refusing to entertain impeachment, the need for accountability is still there.
Among other things, a campaign contribution signifies support for a politician’s positions and actions. The following is a list of corporations that have given to Reyes since he began promoting “The Big Lie” back in November. It’s concerning, to say the least, that these corporations that do business in Utah have chosen to signal their support for a politician that attempted to overturn millions of votes cast in a free and fair election.
Utah Association of Realtors – $5,000
CW Development Group – $250
TitleMax – $1,000
Cigna – $5,000
Aaron’s, Inc. – $8,500
RAI Services Company – $2,500
CentryLink – $1,500
doTERRA – $10,000
UnitedHealth Group PAC – $7,500
As Utahns, we’ll each need to hold Sean Reyes accountable with our votes during the next election. I hope you’ll join me in calling on these corporations and all others that have given to Reyes in the past to also do their part in holding him accountable by refusing to financially support a politician that deliberately chose to pursue “The Big Lie” over truth.