Sean D. Reyes

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Sean D. Reyes
Attorney General of Utah
In office
December 30, 2013 - present
Term ends
Years in position 1
PredecessorInterim officeholder Brian Tarbet (R)
Elections and appointments
Next general2014
AppointedDecember 23, 2013
Appointed byGov. Gary Herbert (R)
Term limitsN/A
Bachelor'sBrigham Young University
J.D.U.C. Berkeley
Office website
Personal website
Campaign website
Sean D. Reyes campaign logo
Sean D. Reyes is the current Republican Utah Attorney General.[1] He has served in this position since his appointment by Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert on December 23, 2013. Reyes was sworn into office on December 30, relieving interim attorney general, Brian Tarbet, who had been filling in since the resignation of John Swallow. Reyes will have to run for election in November 2014 to serve out the remaining two years of Swallow's term.[2] Prior to his appointment, he worked as an attorney and judge.

Reyes ran for attorney general in 2012 but was defeated by Swallow, then the deputy chief attorney general under Mark Shurtleff (R), in the Republican primary contest on June 26, 2012.

An active member of the Utah Republican party, Reyes served as a member of the State Central Committee and as a delegate for the party on the local, state, and, in an alternate capacity, the national level. He was appointed by Governor John Huntsman to serve on the Third District Judicial Nominating Commission and spent years working on President George W. Bush's National Congressional Commission, conducting public hearings throughout the country to advise the Administration and Congress on Latino issues.[3]


Reyes was born to immigrant parents of Spanish, Hawaiian, and Asian heritage who raised him in a predominately minority community in Utah. Reyes attended Brigham Young University for his bachelor's degree and then University of California at Berkeley Law School, from which he graduated with his J.D. in 1997.

Reyes eventually became a partner at Utah's Parsons Behle & Latimer, and was the first person to be awarded with the title "Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year" in 2008 by the American Bar Association. He has served as a small claims judge for the last 11 years, during which time he was appointed to both state and federal commissions, including a Presidential Commission established by former President George W. Bush.[4] He spent two years as an executive committee member of the Utah State Bar and was President of the Utah Minority Bar.

He is currently General Counsel for Utah media and technology company eTAGZ. Apart from his professional duties, Reyes devotes his time to community outreach programs. He has founded multiple non-profit organizations dedicated to education, business and anti-fraud awareness.[3]


  • B.A., Brigham Young University (1994)
  • J.D., U.C. Berkeley (1997)

Political career

Attorney General (2013-present)

Reyes was appointed attorney general by Gov. Gary Herbert (R) effective December 30, 2013.[2]

In summer 2014, Reyes reorganized the Attorney General's office by creating a new Markets and Financial Fraud division. According to Salt Lake City's City Weekly, this new unit "would consolidate different divisions devoted to investigating and prosecuting different kinds of fraud—Medicaid fraud, consumer-protection cases, mortgage fraud—under one roof to maximize expertise and efficiencies."[5] Alongside this reorganization, Reyes urged the Utah State Legislature to pass a bill establishing a registry of people convicted on charges of fraud.[5]


The 2012 Republican primary race between Reyes and Swallow was called "one of the dirtiest in years." Organized attacks by SuperPACs were mobilized against both candidates in the week leading up to the June 26 election, spilling over into the candidate debates, and resulting in at least one defamation suit, from Reyes, who accused Swallow of working illegally "in concert" with the Nevada based PAC "It's Now or Never, Inc," to run a smear campaign against him.[6] In 2013, the Utah House Special Investigative Committee presented documents that demonstrate the Swallow campaign's connection with the "It's Now or Never, Inc" PAC as part of that committee's "inquiry into allegations of improper conduct by Attorney General John Swallow."[7][8]

Most of the PAC-sponsored anti-Reyes TV and radio spots claimed that he lacked the rectitude and civility required of a high ranking public servant, based on a 1993 reckless driving episode and an alleged under the table cash contribution made to his political consultant. The latter accusation originated from a campaign finance reporting mishap in April involving a $5,000 reimbursement. The sum was "misreported"[9] as a contribution, according to Reyes, and the minor scandal was settled swiftly by the lieutenant governor's office, which oversees state elections. Reyes retaliated by suing Swallow for defamation of character, and by bringing up a disclosure incident from Swallow's 2002 congressional campaign which resulted in formal penalties, in contrast with his treasurer's mistake. "He knows he can't beat me when it comes to credentials, either legal credentials or leadership credentials, so he resorts to these kinds of bush league tactics," Reyes stated.[10] The UTE SuperPAC responsible for sending mailers and airing - predominantly radio - spots against Swallow accused the deputy attorney general of being a target of a federal investigation for intervening in a Salt Lake County bid process.[9] Swallow's camp insisted that the mailer in particular, which insinuated the candidate is poised for federal indictment, was a lie, and a "malicious hit piece and a potential violation of state law."[11]



See also: Utah attorney general special election, 2014

A special election will be held in November 2014 to determine who will complete the term of resigned attorney general John Swallow. With his term not scheduled to expire until January 2017, Swallow's early departure, in December 2013, prompted the special election as well as the appointment of Reyes' to fill in the office during the intervening year. Reyes is running for the right to serve out Swallow's unexpired term.

Reyes won the Republican primary on June 24 without opposition.


See also: Utah attorney general election, 2012

Reyes was a 2012 Republican primary candidate for Utah attorney general. He lost to John Swallow in the primary contest on June 26, 2012.

  • Primary-2012 Republican Race for Attorney General
    • Reyes garnered 32% of the primary vote.
Attorney General of Utah, Republican Primary, 2012
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngJohn Swallow 68% 156,644
Sean D. Reyes 32% 73,868
Total Votes 230,512
Election Results



  • Healthcare reform

Reyes cited repealing the Affordable Care Act as his top priority for the office. [13] On his official campaign website, Reyes said that Obamacare is just one example of federal overreach that stand to hinder Utah's economic growth. "As your Attorney General I will aggressively oppose the implementation of Obamacare and any other federal program that infringes on our state sovereignty." He also called the individual mandate, which will require people to purchase health insurance, unconstitutional.[14]


Reyes currently resides in Cottonwood Heights with his wife Saysha and their six children.[3]

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Political offices
Preceded by
Brian Tarbet (R)
Utah Attorney General
December 2013-present
Succeeded by