Attorney General of Utah

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Utah Attorney General
General information
Office Type:  Partisan
Office website:  Official Link
2013 FY Budget:  $69,343,400
Term limits:  None
Length of term:   4 years
Authority:  Utah Constitution, Article VII, Section 1
Selection Method:  Elected
Current Officeholder

Name:  Sean Reyes
Officeholder Party:  Republican
Assumed office:  December 30, 2013
Compensation:  $98,509
Next election:  November 8, 2016
Last election:  November 4, 2014
Other Utah Executive Offices
GovernorLieutenant GovernorAttorney GeneralTreasurerAuditorSuperintendent of EducationAgriculture CommissionerInsurance CommissionerNatural Resources CommissionerLabor CommissionerPublic Service Commission
The Attorney General of Utah is a publicly elected executive position within the Utah state government. The attorney general is the chief law enforcement, legal officer and lawyer for Utah. The attorney general also serves as a member of the State Boards of Prison Commissioners, Insane Asylum Commissioners, and Reform School Commissioners, alongside a selection of other state executive officials including the governor, auditor and superintendent of education.

Current officeholder

The current attorney general is Sean D. Reyes (R).[1] Gov. Gary Herbert (R) appointed Reyes to fill the seat left vacant following the resignation of John Swallow in early December 2013. Reyes' took office December 30, 2013, and won election in 2014 to serve out the remaining two years of Swallow's term.[2]

When Reyes was sworn in, he relieved interim officeholder Brian Tarbet, who had taken over the role after Swallow left on December 3, 2013.[3]


The office of attorney general is established in Article VII, Section 1 of the state constitution.

Article VII, Section 1:

The elective constitutional officers of the Executive Department shall consist of Governor, Lieutenant Governor, State Auditor, State Treasurer, and Attorney General...


Article VII, Section 3 of the Utah Constitution establishes the qualifications of the office:

To be eligible for the office of Attorney General a person shall be 25 years of age or older, at the time of election, admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the State of Utah, and in good standing at the bar.
  • a qualified voter
  • a resident of Utah for five years next preceding election
  • at least 25 years old at the time of election
  • admitted to practice law in Utah
  • in good standing with the bar at the time of election


Utah state government organizational chart

According to Article VII, Section 2 of the state constitution, Utah voters elect the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, treasurer and auditor...

...every four years at the time and place of voting for members of the Legislature. The candidates respectively having the highest number of votes cast for the office voted for shall be elected. If two or more candidates have an equal and the highest number of votes for any one of the offices, the two houses of the Legislature at its next session shall elect by joint ballot one of those candidates for that office.

  • Per Article VII, Section 1, the newly elected attorney general takes office beginning on the first Monday of January next after their election.

Full history


See also: Utah Attorney General special election, 2014

On November 4, 2014, Republican incumbent Sean Reyes won election to fill the remainder of the term.

Attorney General of Utah, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngSean Reyes Incumbent 63.1% 355,275
     Democratic Charles Stormont 27% 151,967
     Libertarian Andrew McCullough 4% 22,333
     Constitution Gregory Hansen 3.3% 18,722
     Independent Leslie Curtis 2.7% 15,108
Total Votes 563,405
Election Results via Utah Lieutenant Governor.


In the event of a vacancy in the office of attorney general, treasurer, auditor, or superintendent of public instruction, Article VII, Section 10 of the state constitution allows the governor to fill the vacancy by appointment. The appointee must be from the same political party as the removed officer, and shall hold the office until a successor is elected and qualified.

Push to make position appointed

In March 2013, Utah Sen. Todd Weiler (R) pushed for a study on amending the Utah Constitution to change the position of state attorney general from an elected to an appointed position.[4]

Weiler explained, "The discussion is: As an elected official in a statewide race, we’re asking these candidates to run around and ask people for political donations. If someone was appointed, we’d take that entirely out of the process. We wouldn’t have the chief law enforcement officer asking people for money."[5]

Not surprisingly, then-Attorney General John Swallow (R) pushed back, stating, "The attorney general is the guardian of the public interest and should be independent and provide legal advice based on the law instead of political pressure. Utah is one of 43 states where the attorney general is elected by popular vote and this process ensures the attorney general is the lawyer for all Utah citizens."[4]

At least two other proposals to make the office appointed were considered in 1995 and 2011. A constitutional amendment would be necessary to change the method of selection.[5]


The mission of the office of the attorney general is to uphold the constitutions of the United States and of the state, enforce the law, provide counsel to state agencies and public officials, assist law enforcement, and protect the interests of the state, its people, environment and resources. Specific duties of the attorney general include:

  • Prosecute or defend all causes in which the state or a state agency is a party.
  • Initiate legal proceedings on behalf of the state.
  • Direct the process of executions on judgments.
  • Account for state funds which comes into possession of the office.
  • Keep a file on each case, civil or criminal, in which the attorney general is required to appear.
  • Act as supervisor to district and county attorneys within the state.
  • Give opinions on questions of law to state agencies, officers, boards, commissions and to county or district attorneys.
  • Assist district or county attorneys when required by public service or by the governor.
  • Purchase property in the name of the state offered under executions and enter partial or whole satisfactions of judgment as directed by the state board of examiners.
  • If a judgment debtor’s property is under a prior encumbrance, the attorney general shall redeem the property.
  • Pay costs necessary to the prosecution of any proceedings necessary to set aside fraudulent conveyances made by judgment debtors.
  • Discharge the duties of a member of any official boards of which the attorney general is legally required to be a member.
  • Prosecute corporations which act illegally.
  • Investigate in order to recover property which should revert to the state.
  • Administer the state children's justice center program.
  • Assist the state constitutional defense council.
  • Investigate and prosecute criminal violations of the Utah False Claims Act.
  • Investigate and prosecute complaints of abuse, neglect or exploitation of patients at health care facilities that receive payments under the state Medicaid program.


The office of the attorney general includes the following divisions:

  • Child/Family Support Division
  • Child Protection Division
  • Civil Appeals Division
  • Commercial Enforcement Division
  • Children’s Justice Division
  • Criminal Appeals Division
  • Criminal Justice Division
  • Education Division
  • Environment Division
  • Investigations Division
  • Litigation Division
  • Natural Resources Division
  • State Agency Counsel Division
  • Tax and Revenue Division

State budget

See also: Utah state budget and finances

The budget for the attorney general's office in Fiscal Year 2013 was $69,343,400.[6]


See also: Compensation of state executive officers

DocumentIcon.jpg See statutes: UT Code § 67-22-1 (2014)

The attorney general, along with Utah's other elected executives, is entitled to a fixed salary, pursuant to Article VII, Section 18 of the Utah Constitution.

The Governor, Lieutenant Governor, State Auditor, State Treasurer, Attorney General, and any other state officer as the Legislature may provide, shall receive for their services a fixed and definite compensation as provided by law.

The amount of compensation the attorney general receives annually is set by Title 67, Chapter 22, Section 1 of the Utah Code.[7]


In 2014, the attorney general received a salary of $98,509, according to the Council of State Governments.[8]


In 2013, the attorney general was paid an estimated $98,509. This figure comes from the Council of State Governments.[9]


In 2012, the attorney general was paid an estimated $98,509. This figure comes from the Council of State Governments.

Historical officeholders

There have been 21 attorneys general of Utah since 1896.[10]

List of Former Officeholders from 1896-Present
# Name Tenure Party
1 A. C. Bishop 1896 - 1901
2 M. R. Breeden 1901 - 1909
3 A. R. Barns 1909 - 1917
4 Dan B. Shields 1917 - 1921
5 Harvey H. Cluff 1921 - 1929
6 George P. Parker 1929 - 1933
7 Joseph Chez 1933 - 1941
8 Grover A. Giles 1941 - 1949
9 Clinton D. Vernon 1949 - 1953
10 E. R. Callister 1953 - 1959
11 Walter L. Budge 1959 - 1961
12 A. Pratt Kessler 1961 - 1965
13 Phil L. Hansen 1965 - 1969
14 Vernon B. Romney 1969 - 1977
15 Robert B. Hansen 1977 - 1981
16 David L. Wilkinson 1981 - 1989
17 Paul Van Dam 1989 – 1993
18 Jan Graham 1993 - 2001
19 Mark L. Shurtleff 2001 - 2013 Ends.png Republican
20 John Swallow 2013 - 2013 Ends.png Republican
21 Sean Reyes 2013 - present Ends.png Republican

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the terms "Utah Attorney General."

Some of the stories below may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of Google's news search engine.

Attorney General of Utah - Google News Feed

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Contact information

Office of the Attorney General
Post Office Box 142320
Salt Lake City, UT 84114-2320

Phone: 801-366-0260
Toll Free Phone: 800-244-4636 (Utah Only)
Fax: 801-366-0221

See also

External links

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