Sean Reyes: Greatest Hits

The primaries are over and the general election is quickly approaching. There are going to be many important races on the ballot this year, and I know how difficult it is to learn about each candidate so  that you can make an informed decision when you vote. Not everyone gets paid to follow the latest news in politics and government. 

As a lawyer, one of the state offices I pay close attention to is that of the Utah Attorney General. It’s an important position that wields a lot of power to defend our laws and protect Utahns from harm. Yet, many people don’t know anything about our current Attorney General, Sean Reyes. To help you make an informed decision this year when voting for our next attorney general, here are some of Sean Reyes’ greatest hits:

  • Shortly after taking office, he promised to depoliticize the AG’s Office. As you read through this list, you’ll see how quickly he abandoned that promise. (Link)
  • Having become Attorney General following the John Swallow scandal, he promised to not accept questionable campaign donations. (Link)
  • Very soon thereafter, he accepted questionable campaign donations. (Link)
  • He joined other GOP attorneys general to sue the Obama administration, seeking to block an executive order that protected millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation. (Link)
  • His office used unprecedented efforts to avoid acknowledging a state investigation into then-San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman following the infamous “Recapture Canyon Ride.” (Link)
  • He went undercover at the Sundance Film Festival to allegedly uncover a human trafficking ring, but was caught being self-promoting himself to a posse of reporters at a high-profile, heavily-guarded party. (Link)
  • He received the “Black Hole Award” from the Utah Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists for his consistent resistance to transparency and public information laws. (Link)
  • He was one of Donald Trump’s earliest supporters, having endorsed him before the GOP convention, something he remains proud of to this day. (Link)
  • Once again, he joined other GOP attorneys general to sue the federal government to prohibit transgender students from using restrooms that match their gender identity. (Link
  • Joined by the only Utahn who enjoys being in front of a camera more than himself, Jason Chaffetz,  he participated in a child porngraphy sting operation, but because he intended it more as a photo-op in the first place, he ended up ruining the case. (Link)
  • He spent over $2 million defending Utah’s unconstitutional ban against gay marriage up until the bitter end. (Link and Link) Not content with only oppressing LGBTQ Utahns, he doubled down on his position and fought to keep gay-marriage bans in other states as well. (Link)
  • He’s endorsed by the NRA. Enough said. (Link)
  • During the short time he was being considered for a position on the Federal Trade Commission, he yet again was the recipient of questionable campaign donations, this time from payday lenders, lawyers, and others that would have benefitted from his favor if appointed to the FTC. (Link)
  • He joined other state leaders to oppose the designation of the Bears Ears National Monument and supported Trump’s reduction of the size of two national monuments in Utah. (Link and Link)
  • Even after his fellow western attorneys general said it would be a fruitless endeavor, he continued planning a $4 million lawsuit to wrest away control of our precious public lands from the federal government. (Link)
  • In an amicus brief signed by his fellow GOP attorneys general, he opposed giving LGBTQ individuals federal protection against workplace discrimination. (Link)
  • He used his position as attorney general to promote Liberty Defense Technologies, a private company building invasive body scanners (like the ones used at airports). These scanners were meant to be used for large gatherings at private locations and company information would not have been available through public information laws. (Link)
  • He is helping lead Trump’s re-election effort in  Utah. (Link)
  • Joining his fellow GOP attorneys general, he signed an amicus brief that urged a court to drop the case against Michael Flynn (who admitted to lying to the FBI) after the controversial decision by the Justice Department to no longer prosecute the case. (Link)
  • His office contracted with a startup tech company, Banjo, to build a massive surveillance system and only decided against the huge invasion of privacy when it was discovered that Banjo’s founder had been involved with the KKK. (Link)
  • Remember how he promised to depoliticize the attorney general’s office? He joined his fellow GOP attorneys general to urge U.S. senator’s to acquit Trump during his impeachment trial. (Link)
  • Trump endorsed him earlier this year. (Link)
  • He lied about his acceptance and handling of campaign contributions from Washakie Renewable Energy, a company associated with polygamy and a huge fraud scandal. (Link and Link)
  • He joined his fellow GOP attorneys general to support an unconstitutional complete ban on abortions in Texas during the COVID pandemic. (Link)
  • He continues to challenge the Affordable Care Act by pursuing a lawsuit that would result in millions of Americans losing their health insurance. (Link)

Chase Thomas is the executive director for Alliance for a Better Utah

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