Utah Lawmaker Opens Resolution To Impeach Attorney General Sean Reyes

Jan 26, 2021, 9:39 AM | Updated: 11:37 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – A Utah representative announced he has opened a bill file to impeach Attorney General Sean Reyes.

Rep. Andrew Stoddard, D-Sandy, said the measure is based on Reyes allegedly misusing the powers of his office.

Utah’s attorney general in December joined more than a dozen other attorneys general in a Texas lawsuit that sought to invalidate votes cast in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia and Wisconsin. That petition was rejected by the Supreme Court of the United States.

The move prompted condemnation from then-Gov. Gary Herbert, who called it a “waste of our taxpayer dollars.” Then-Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox also decried Reyes’ joining the lawsuit, saying: “Whether Utah gets involved in this won’t change anything at all. It just costs money.”

Reyes also traveled to Nevada in November 2020 to help then-President Donald Trump’s campaign with litigation in battleground states, which also prompted criticism from Utah officials.

“I thought that was just absolutely irresponsible,” Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gil said at the time.

Stoddard on Tuesday released the following statement:

Utah’s Attorney General, Sean Reyes, has worked shamelessly over the past few months to undermine our country’s election results. As an attorney and a public officer, he has violated his duty to the State. He has put the aims of special interest groups above the voters who elected him. His involvement with RAGA, the Republican Attorneys General Association, has been very concerning given their role in inciting the domestic terrorism that occurred at our nation’s Capitol on January 6th. Reyes has not provided clear answers to his involvement with any of this.

As a legislator, a member of a coequal branch of government, my options to investigate these potentially unethical and impeachable offenses are very limited. I can file a GRAMA request, or I can open a bill file seeking impeachment. The current state code provides no in-between option for the legislative branch to investigate another branch of government. Therefore, after much consideration, I have opened this bill file to impeach the Attorney General. My action is not meant as a display of incivility or partisanship. My decision comes from a desire to make sure that our state is represented ethically and to hold public officers to the highest standard of public responsibility.

An impeachment would need the support of at least two-thirds of the Utah House of Representatives.

In response, Reyes released a statement saying that Stoddard has never asked to meet with him to discuss his concerns.

“Impeachment is a drastic measure, especially if, as Representative Stoddard says, he is simply looking for answers to his questions,” said the statement from Reyes.

In regard to election issues, Reyes said there remains a question that needs to be answered before the next election cycle.

“As I stated at the time Utah joined the Texas lawsuit, we need to have the U.S. Supreme Court answer a critical constitutional question regarding separation of powers,” Reyes said. “Namely, when are executive and judicial branches allowed to change or disregard state law without approval of the legislative branch or referendum process.”

As for the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol, Reyes said he immediately denounced the violence and lawlessness.

“It has been well documented by the media and national organizations that I was not involved in planning or encouraging any violence at our nation’s Capitol building,” Reyes’ statement said.

House Speaker Brad Wilson, R-Kaysville, responded Tuesday evening to Stoddard’s resolution:

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Utah Lawmaker Opens Resolution To Impeach Attorney General Sean Reyes