Salt Lake City - Utah Governor Gary Herbert announced today he is appointing former Republican AG candidate Sean Reyes to replace John Swallow as Attorney General. Swallow resigned in November and left office on December 3. Reyes was defeated by Swallow in last year’s Republican primary.
Swallow resigned following investigations by the Utah Legislature, FBI, Department of Justice, and the Salt Lake and Davis County Attorney’s Office began to reveal possible campaign violations and other irregularities involving the former Attorney General.
The Alliance for a Better Utah, who filed the initial complaint about Swallow’s campaign practices and the Utah Democratic Party reacted to the Governor’s announcement with disappointment. Both groups hoped Herbert would move away from making a political selection and would instead choose someone willing to help the Attorney General’s office recover from this year’s scandal. Improprieties reaching back to and involving former Attorney General Mark Shurtleff are also being investigated. Swallow was Shurtleff’s deputy before the 2012 election.
Utah Democratic Chair Jim Dabakis issued the following statement: "Today, Governor Herbert picked politics over statesmanship, and selected a man that will be running for office and raising money on day one as Utah's Attorney General, even as he sits in John Swallow's disgraced seat. The governor had the opportunity to select a strong person, a dedicated person who could have exclusively devoted a year to restoring the integrity of the office. The governor could have picked a steward to clean up the mess left by Shurtleff and Swallow. Instead, Herbert has decided to play politics-as-usual and again put his rabid GOP delegates ahead of the people of Utah. Shame on Governor Herbert."
Utah law requires the party of the Attorney General to provide the Governor with at least three possible candidates. Governor Herbert chose Reyes over former Utah Supreme Court Justice Michael J. Wilkins and Attorney General Brian Tarbet who is filling in for Swallow.
Wilkins had told the Republican State Central Committee who made the selections he did not plan to run for office next November. He said, “One critical question facing you is whether the State, the Attorney General’s Office, and the party would be benefited most by an appointed Attorney General who is busy seeking election to the office next November, or one whose entire focus is on rehabilitating the dignity and integrity of the Office of the Attorney General.”
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