Attorney General of Utah
|Utah Attorney General|
|Office website:||Official Link|
|2013 FY Budget:||$69,343,400|
|Length of term:||4 years|
|Authority:||Utah Constitution, Article VII, Section 1|
|Assumed office:||December 23, 2013|
|Next election:||November 8, 2016|
|Last election:||November 6, 2012|
|Other Utah Executive Offices|
|Governor • Lieutenant Governor • Attorney General •Treasurer • Auditor • Superintendent of Education • Agriculture Commissioner • Insurance Commissioner • Natural Resources Commissioner • Labor Commissioner • Public Service Commission|
The newly appointed officeholder is Sean D. Reyes (R). He was appointed by the Governor and will have to run for election in 2014 to serve out the remaining two years of Swallow's term. Reyes replaced the interim appointment, Brian Tarbet, who had taken over the role following John Swallow's resignation on December 3, 2013.
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
...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.
To view the electoral history dating back to 2000 for the office of Utah Attorney General, Click [show] to expand the section.
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
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."
Not surprisingly, 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."
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.
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 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 Children's Justice Center program.
- Assist the Constitutional Defense Council.
- Investigate and prosecute criminal violations of the 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
The budget for the Attorney General's office in Fiscal Year 2013 was $69,343,400.
- See also: Compensation of state executive officers
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Office of the Attorney General
Post Office Box 142320
Salt Lake City, UT 84114-2320
Toll Free Phone: 800-244-4636 (Utah Only)
- Governor: Gary Herbert (R)
- Lieutenant Governor: Spencer Cox (R)
- Attorney General: Brian Tarbet (R)
- Auditor of State: John Dougall (R)
- Commissioner of Agriculture and Food: LuAnn Adams
- Treasurer of State: Richard Ellis (R)
- Office of the Utah Attorney General
- About the office of the Utah Attorney General
- Duties of the Utah Attorney General
- Deseret News, "Sean Reyes vows to restore 'integrity' to Utah Attorney General's Office," December 26, 2013
- Deseret News, "Acting Utah Attorney General Brian Tarbet not ruling out run for top spot," December 3, 2013
- Standard Examiner, "Davis lawmaker wants study on appointing Attorney General," March 19, 2013
- Salt Lake Tribune, "Senator wants Utah to look at appointing attorney general," March 18, 2013
- Governor's Office of Planning and Budget, "2013 Budget Summary – Tables," accessed April 6, 2013
State of Utah
Salt Lake City (capital)
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