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Sean D. Reyes
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AG Reyes and 23-State Coalition Urge the 5th Circuit to Uphold the Right to Regulate Abortion

May 12, 2023

Today Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes and 22 other Attorneys General filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in the case of Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 

The Attorneys General argue that the Biden Administration and the FDA’s attempt to roll back safety mechanisms for the abortion-inducing drug mifepristone and to make it widely available through the mail violates both federal law and state laws. Current federal criminal law plainly prohibits the distribution of abortion-inducing drugs through the mail. (18 U.S.C. § § 1461, 1462) 

As the Attorneys General wrote, “The FDA was not following a congressional mandate or responding to changed circumstances on mifepristone’s safety in promoting a new mail-order abortion regime. Rather, the agency was acting at the behest of the current Administration and its allies who demanded action after Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.”

They continue, “The Administration claims that it has the power to make abortion drugs broadly accessible despite contrary determinations by States and despite laws that States have enacted to protect life, health, and safety in the use of those drugs. That claim is wrong.”

Previously in this case, Justice Samuel Alito noted in his dissent on the Application for Stay before the U.S. Supreme Court on April 21, 2023, “Our granting of a stay of a lower-court decision is an equitable remedy. It should not be given if the moving party has not acted equitably, and that is the situation here. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has engaged in what has become the practice of leveraging district court injunctions ‘as a basis’ for implementing a desired policy while evading both necessary agency procedures and judicial review.”

Attorneys General from Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia, and Wyoming joined General Reyes on this brief.  

Read the amicus brief here.

AG Reyes Leads New Multistate Effort To Protect Reliability and Affordability of Electric Grid

May 10, 2023

This week, Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes and a coalition of states filed a Motion to Intervene and a Motion for Relief regarding BlackRock, Inc.’s blanket authorizations from the U.S. Federal Regulatory Commission (FERC). The states moved to intervene in FERC’s three-year reauthorization of BlackRock’s blanket authorizations to buy, acquire or take over $10 million in voting securities of public, electric, utility, transmitting or holding companies.

The filing follows General Reyes’ Wednesday appearance before the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Accountability in Washington, D.C., where he testified on the critically important issue of how Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) factors are distorting the American financial system and harming consumers.

Over the past decade, BlackRock has been granted blanket authorizations and reauthorizations from FERC. In its applications, BlackRock repeatedly assured FERC that reauthorizations are warranted because BlackRock is merely a passive, non-controlling investor. Currently, the coalition asserts this isn’t true. As a member of several horizontal associations, BlackRock aims to pressure utility companies to phase out traditional energy investments.   

Under the 2022 BlackRock Order, the coalition requests that FERC exercise its ongoing authority to:

  1. Audit BlackRock’s compliance with their application representations and commitments for reauthorization and the Order terms.
  2. Issue supplemental orders and other appropriate relief, including ordering BlackRock to function as passive, non-controlling investors.
  3. Cease all coordination with other asset managers and owners to influence control of utility operations by purchasing or acquiring additional securities.  

Attorney General Reyes issued the following statement: “The reliability of our nation’s electric grid is on the verge of catastrophe because of the push to net zero. BlackRock is skirting federal law by telling FERC it is a passive investor in public utilities while actively pursuing its multiple commitments to net-zero initiatives. We will continue to fight for our constituents against these efforts that will make electricity more expensive and less reliable.”   

According to the States, BlackRock has violated § 824b(a)(2) of the FPA and FERC’s reauthorization for two independent reasons, each sufficient for relief.   

First, BlackRock, as a “holding company,” has not received FERC’s authorization. BlackRock is a signatory to horizontal associations—including Climate Action 100+ and the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative—that coordinate shareholder voting power across their members to influence FPA-covered utilities’ operations.   

Second, BlackRock is not acting as “passive, non-controlling investors” as they represented in seeking authorization. FERC’s orders never allowed BlackRock to engage in activities that might influence commercial conduct, determine whether physical utility assets are available or withheld from the marketplace, or participate in operational decisions for utility companies.

Joining Utah in filing the Motion to Intervene and the Motion for Relief are the states of Indiana, Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas and West Virginia. 

Read the FERC Filing here.  

AG Reyes Testifies Before House Oversight Committee on ESG Dangers

May 10, 2023

Today, Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes appeared before the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Accountability to provide testimony on the critically important issue of how Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) factors distort the American financial system and harm consumers. 

General Reyes has been one of the nation’s foremost leaders in identifying and fighting against organizations that promulgate ESG priorities over the financial and economic interests of investors and beneficiaries. The Utah Attorney General’s Office has recently called on the Security and Exchange Commission to allow full public input on ESG and climate investing rules, led a motion to protest Vanguard’s application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, spearheaded a multistate coalition to challenge the ESG practices of two proxy advisory companies, and joined almost two dozen attorneys general to warn many of the nation’s largest asset managers about ESG investments being made with Americans’ hard-earned money. 

After testifying before the House Oversight Committee, General Reyes issued the following statement: I am thankful to Chairman James Comer and the members of the committee who realize the vital nature of the ESG issue. For too long, many Americans have found their financial and economic security compromised through the unlawful and unethical actions of certain organizations conforming to radical environmental standards and policies. All public servants, regardless of political party affiliation, should join the fight to stop this ESG movement and protect the interests of our constituents.

In General Reyes’ written testimony to the Committee, he explains why he has taken on an extremely active role in the campaign against ESG: “As the elected Attorney General of Utah, I serve as the chief law enforcement officer of a State that is home to over three million people. My fellow state attorneys general and I are charged with enforcing antitrust and consumer protection laws to protect fair competition in our marketplace. Ultimately, our duty in this regard is to protect consumers, and ESG is a clear and present threat to them. I, therefore, welcome the Committee’s interest.” 

General Reyes also encouraged Congress to remain vigilant and willing to confront the ESG movement on behalf of the American people: “The third is the recent Department of Labor rule that paves the way for ERISA fiduciaries to consider collateral factors in investments and shareholder voting. I applaud the bipartisan action of Congress to repeal this rule under the Congressional Review Act. As you know, it is only because of the President’s exercise of his first veto in his entire administration that this rule presently stands. I am proud to be leading a coalition of 26 states, along with private parties, challenging this rule in court. And I believe that actions by Congress such as attempting to repeal bad rules under the CRA draws much needed attention to these constitutional concerns. I urge you to keep up that work for future rules that are suspect on legal and policy grounds.” 

Read General Reyes’ written testimony here

Watch the House Oversight hearing here

Sweet v. Cardona: Strategic Surrender Undermines the Constitution

May 9, 2023

Today, Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes co-led an amicus brief to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Sweet, et al., v Cardona, et al. The case involves a challenge to the Department of Education’s unconstitutional action to unilaterally absolve student loans. 

In the brief, General Reyes and the amici States detail the Secretary of Education’s most recent plan for canceling billions of dollars in student debt, thanks to the federal government’s settlement of a long-pending class-action case involving applications filed by individuals seeking the forgiveness of federally held debt that borrowers claim to have incurred because of misconduct by the schools they attended. The settlement provides that borrowers who accrued debt by attending any of 151 schools will have their debt forgiven automatically. A second group of about 68,000 borrowers may seek review of their federally held debt under a novel procedure that all but guarantees their debt will be forgiven. And a third group of borrowers (approximately 206,000 who attended approximately 4,000 schools) may seek forgiveness through yet another process. 

General Reyes issued the following statement: “Over the past two-plus years, the White House has contorted its way around the Constitution, the rule of law, and the U.S. Congress. This is not how our system of government was created to operate, and the consequences will be severe for our posterity if it is allowed to remain unchecked. I’m grateful for this coalition of attorneys general who realize the importance of pushing back against the latest attempt from the federal government to circumvent our checks and balances and I am confident that the judicial system will see through these misguided efforts.”

The amici States make three arguments in this court filing to the federal appeals court.

  • First, “the Secretary has no legal authority to do what the settlement requires.”
  • Second, “strategic surrenders permit the executive branch to undermine the Constitution’s structural protections.”
  • Finally, “the collusive settlement must be rejected because it fails to satisfy the demands of Rule 23 governing class-action settlements.” 

The States highlight the dangers of the “strategic surrender” that has come to define the federal government’s attempts to rewrite laws and policies without legislative input. The amicus brief stated the following. 

“Strategic surrender poses a serious threat to our constitutional order. Settlements like the one approved in this case permit executive agencies to exercise what amounts to legislative power since, using these settlements, agencies can assign themselves authority to take actions Congress never approved. And by acquiescing in orders vacating federal rules – by collusively dismissing cases and appeals, for example – the executive branch can change federal policy without proceeding through the rigorous notice-and-comment process that Congress has required.”

The States also urged the judiciary to correct the wrong from the Department of Education’s unlawful settlement in this class-action case, granting de-facto student loan amnesty to tens of thousands of borrowers, stating: “And when the executive branch attempts to gain new power through a settlement, courts can either refuse to approve the settlement (which is what the District Court should have done in this case) or else vacate the settlement on appeal (which is what this Court, and the Supreme Court if necessary, should do in this case).” 

Joining Ohio and Utah on this brief are the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina. 

Read the amicus brief here.

Attorney General Reyes Stands Against Bureaucratic Regulation

May 2, 2023

Attorney General Sean D. Reyes joined a coalition of states in co-signing a comment letter to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), expressing concern “with the DOE’s new attempt to control what appliances Americans can buy – this time for residential clothes washers.” 

The coalition highlights that this rule follows three other proposed EPCA standards, one for dishwashers, one for ovens/stoves, and one for refrigerators/refrigerator-freezers/freezers. The attorneys general write, “This inexplicable slog through Americans’ homes is unwarranted by the facts and unauthorized by the law.” They urge the Department to pull back and let Americans decide what appliances they will use daily.

The coalition’s comment letter contains four parts. First, “the Department should not use or reference the IWG estimates in its analysis. Second, the Department’s analysis does not comply with Executive Order 13,132. Third, the Department failed to consider the EPCA’s constitutional issues in analyzing the Proposed Standards. Finally, the Department’s analysis ignores important aspects of the problem.”

Joining General Reyes in this letter to the DOE are the attorneys general of Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia. 

Read the comment letter here

Excellence Award for Utah Medicaid Fraud Control Unit

May 4, 2023

Today, Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes is proud to announce that Utah’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) received the Inspector General’s Award for Excellence in Fighting Fraud, Waste, and Abuse. The award reflects a strong partnership with the Utah Attorney General’s Office, Health and Human Services, and the Office of Inspector General, as well as success in combatting Medicaid fraud, patient abuse, and neglect. General Reyes congratulates everyone in the MFCU division.  

In 2022, Utah MFCU obtained 18 indictments, 23 convictions, and total recoveries of more than $1.5 million, an exceptional case outcome for a Unit staff of 16. Utah MFCU investigates fraud and cases of patient abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation. In 2022, fraud cases involved 27 types of providers. Through MFCU’s authority to investigate noninstitutional abuse and neglect cases, five investigations have been conducted involving hospice nurses, personal care attendants, and a home health agency.

“Through dedication, determination, and very hard work, our office has produced impressive results –especially for a staff of 16,” MCFU Director Kaye Lynn Wootton said. “I am extremely proud of every one of my coworkers. We work well independently and as a team. We’re dedicated to protecting both vulnerable victims and taxpayers. We’ve come a long way, and we’re all committed to continuing this excellent work.” 

Utah MFCU collaborates with staff from the State and Federal OIG, Utah DHHS, Adult Protective Services, DEA, U.S. Attorney’s Office (jointly working 11 cases in 2022), Managed Care Entities, and the National Association of Medicaid Program Integrity-Fraud Control Units.  

Judge Enjoins HB 467 – “Abortion Changes”

May 2, 2023

Today, Third District Court Judge Andrew Stone enjoined HB 467, “Abortion Changes,” which was signed into law this year. The ruling means abortion clinics, like Plaintiff Planned Parenthood of Utah, may retain their licenses and may continue providing abortion services as the law is challenged in court.  

HB 467, which was scheduled to take effect Wednesday, removes licensing for abortion clinics in the State. The law requires that abortions be provided solely by hospitals and their clinics across the State. Another provision of State law, the “trigger law” which is also currently enjoined, restricts abortions to cases of rape, incest, or the health of the mother. With these laws enjoined by Judge Stone, abortion clinics may provide elective abortions up to 18 weeks of pregnancy. 

The Utah Supreme Court is currently reviewing the injunction of the trigger law.     

Read the decision here.

Read HB 467 here.

Attorney General Reyes Joins 18 States in Letter Urging Chase to Stop Discriminating Against Customers

May 2, 2023

Today, Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes joined a coalition of 18 states in sending a letter to JPMorgan Chase & Co. (Chase) urging the company to stop discriminating against customers due to their religious beliefs or political affiliations.

In its public-facing statements, Chase professes openness and inclusivity. In their letter, the attorneys general argue that Chase “has not extended its openness and inclusivity to everyone” and points out the company’s pattern of targeting and denying service to religious and conservative-leaning customers, like the National Committee for Religious Freedom. The coalition’s letter also calls for greater transparency in how the bank treats viewpoint diversity.

The attorneys general aren’t alone in voicing their concerns. After a report revealed Chase has “unclear or imprecise policies” that allow it to “deny service for arbitrary or politically biased reasons,” the bank faced backlash from shareholders and outside groups for refusing to disclose and investigate such policies.

The coalition calls on Chase “to stop its religious and politically biased discrimination and start living up to its commitment to an inclusive society where everyone feels welcomed, equal, and included.” 

Attorney General Reyes joined attorneys general from Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia in sending the letter.

To view a copy of the letter, click here.

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AG Reyes Leads Amicus Brief Supporting Ohio Attorney General

April 27, 2023

This week, Attorney General Reyes led a 19-state amicus brief in support of Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost.

The case addresses the circumstances under which public records requests can become compelled depositions of high-ranking state officials. It asks whether and when a state attorney general with important public duties like fighting crime, protecting consumers, and combating the opioid epidemic can be pulled away from these duties for a fishing expedition.

The dispute began when the Center for Media and Democracy requested public records from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. The AGO searched its files and found no relevant records. Unsatisfied with the AGO’s response, CMD filed a lawsuit and attempted to depose several AGO officials, including the Ohio Attorney General. Although the Ohio Attorney General was not involved in the records search and the AGO officials who conducted the search had already testified, the Ohio Court of Appeals ordered the Ohio Attorney to be deposed. It was clear from CMD’s questions at the depositions of the other officials that this lawsuit wasn’t about the sought-after records but rather about the Attorney General’s activities outside the office.

As a result, the AGO appealed to the Ohio Supreme Court. Leading a coalition of 19 states, Utah’s brief argues that a party must demonstrate “extraordinary circumstances” to justify the deposition of a high-ranking government official. Further, the brief argues that the Ohio Court of Appeals erred by not determining whether extraordinary circumstances existed before ordering the Ohio Attorney General’s deposition.

Attorney General Reyes issued the following statement: “All elected officials should embrace transparency to ensure accountability and lawful actions. We believe that Attorney General Yost and his Office followed the law and responded appropriately to this public records request. However, we believe that if the Ohio judicial system were to allow the Center for Media and Democracy to proceed with this unnecessary and distracting deposition, it would create a precedent that would needlessly take our states’ chief law enforcement officers away from the important responsibilities that they were elected to perform. For this reason, we proudly stand with our colleague from Ohio, and we hope the Court will decide this case in his favor.”

The brief highlights why the case is essential to all states, including Utah: “If every public records request could be turned into a deposition of a high-ranking government official, such depositions would quickly become an enormous disruption to public administration at every level. The wheels of government would grind to a halt. The extraordinary circumstances standard ensures that high-ranking officials are not needlessly and routinely pulled away from their official duties to provide testimony in litigation involving their offices—particularly when the subject is something as frequent as a public records request.” 

Attorney General Reyes recently won a case in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit involving a similar order that would have required him to testify in a wrongful termination suit. In re Off. of the Utah Att’y Gen., 56 F.4th 1254 (10th Cir. 2022). Because the officials who made the termination decision had already been deposed, the Tenth Circuit ruled that extraordinary circumstances did not justify taking General Reyes away from his essential duties to sit for the deposition. Id. at 1264.

Joining AG Reyes on this brief were the Attorneys General of Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia.

Read the amicus brief here.

Children’s Justice Center in Washington County Expands

April 27, 2023

The Utah Attorney General’s Office celebrates this week’s groundbreaking for the Washington County Criminal Justice Center expansion. Our office works closely with a team of dedicated professionals who handle crucial counseling, investigation, and prosecution of child sexual assault cases in Washington County. Due to the area’s growth, it now requires more capacity in order to handle the increased caseload.

The Washington County CJC shared the following Press Release:

Washington County Children’s Justice Center Breaks Ground on Expansion Project

April 25, 2023

St. George—The Washington County Children’s Justice Center is pleased to announce the groundbreaking for an expansion project to strengthen access to trauma-informed services for children who have been victims of abuse and other crimes.

This new building will house the Children’s Justice Center’s growing medical and mental health programs adjacent to the current center at 463 East 500 South. Additionally, it will provide training space for the Center’s multidisciplinary team that investigates and prosecutes child abuse cases. The current Children’s Justice Center building will continue to provide forensic interviewing and victim advocacy services.

The groundbreaking event is scheduled for Wednesday, April 26, at 10 am.

“We are honored to hold the stories of children who have been victims of abuse and to help them on their journey to becoming healthy, thriving survivors,” says Kristy Pike, director of the Washington County Children’s Justice Center. “While it is true that Washington County has been growing, this additional building is more about our expanded services. When the current space was completed 15 years ago, no one was thinking we would be offering medical and mental health services on-site, but today we do. Now there will be space designed specifically for those services.”

As with all services offered by the Children’s Justice Center, the upcoming building will be a public-private partnership. Intermountain Health has provided a charitable land lease on the 1.22-acre parcel where it will construct the expansion. The Washington County American Rescue Plan Act has pledged $2 million for construction funding. The community will raise the final $500 thousand to complete the construction project through grants and donations (

“We are constantly in awe of the generosity of our community as the Center works to fulfill its mission of collaborating with multidisciplinary partners to protect each child, advance justice, promote healing, and educate our community,” says Joanie Ayers, acting chair of the Friends of the Washington County Children’s Justice Center. “Our community has always stepped up, and we believe they will do so again.”

“We are appreciative of the great collaboration between Intermountain, Washington County, the City of St. George, the state of Utah, Children’s Justice Center staff, and private partners to quietly care for the most vulnerable in our community – our children,” says Washington County Commissioner Gil Almquist.

“The Children’s Justice Center is crucial to our county’s response to crimes against children,” says Washington County Attorney Eric Clarke. “The collaboration that happens there between CJC staff, law enforcement, Child Protective Services, medical and mental health professionals, prosecutors, and others is key in helping us ensure a safe community.”

“Adverse childhood experiences like abuse have been shown to increase risk factors for nine of the ten of the leading causes of death in Utah, including things you would expect, like suicide, and things you may not expect, like cancer and Alzheimer’s,” says Pike. “The services provided by our Children’s Justice Center are designed to buffer those effects and help children grow into healthy adults.”

The Friends of Washington County Children’s Justice Center is a qualified 501(c)(3) that supports the center’s work. Forensic interviews, victim advocacy, and medical and mental health services are available to children who have been abused or witnessed crimes. As of 2022, the Center served 420 victims and their non-offending families. Children seen at the Center most commonly report child sexual abuse/assault.

The Washington County Children’s Justice Center is accredited by the National Children’s Alliance. Public/private funding is partly provided by the Utah Attorney General’s Office, Washington County, the Utah Office for Victims of Crime Department of Justice, the Friends of Washington County Children’s Justice Center, and private donations.

Find more information at