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Attorney General Reyes Urges Investigation into Beef Packing Industry

June 2, 2020

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes is notifying the Department of Justice that a growing number of states intend to pursue a federal investigation into suspected national price-fixing by meatpackers in the cattle industry, and urge the Department to coordinate with the states on that investigation.

In a letter to U.S. Attorney General William Barr, AG Reyes expressed concern over the likelihood of manipulation of the market for processed beef. The four largest meatpacking companies control more than 80% of the beef processing in the United States. The shelf price of beef is exceptionally high, while cattle prices are low and continue to dive. The concern over market manipulation has increased with beef prices reaching record levels as consumers stockpile meat in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but cattle prices remain low and are decreasing.

“Especially now, we need to encourage fair competition in the meat packing industry and protect consumers,” said Attorney General Reyes.  “We intend to ask the DOJ to conduct a vigorous investigation into the meatpacking industry with an eye on what kinds of competitive practices occur.”

Attorney General Reyes says the pricing margins are a sign that meat packers are using their ability to control the market for processed beef and take advantage of the situation in a manner that could violate the federal antitrust law. In addition to harming cattle producers, this potentially illegal practice hurts consumers nationwide, many of whom are themselves struggling because of loss of employment and reduced incomes.

Attorney General Reyes and a growing number of Attorneys General from Midwestern states believe the situation warrants a full federal investigation because the alleged anticompetitive conduct harms consumers and cattle ranchers across the United States.

Read the letter here.

State AGs, Department of Justice Meet to Discuss Google Probe

February 5, 2020

Yesterday, Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes joined the U.S. Department of Justice and fellow attorneys general to discuss coordinating efforts in the Google probe, which includes a bipartisan group of the nation’s attorneys general.

This follows the Department of Justice’s announcement in July 2019 that it was opening a broad antitrust investigation into “market-leading online platforms” – including Facebook, Amazon, and Google – and the September 2019 announcement by nearly all state attorneys general on plans to investigate Google’s overarching control of online advertising markets.

“We’re working well together and trying to make sure that there aren’t redundancies,” told Reuters outside the Justice Department. “We’re hoping to go as quickly as we possibly can but I don’t have a specific timetable.”

Read more here.

AG Reyes Joins Department of Justice’s Summit on Combating Human Trafficking

January 14, 2020

WASHINGTON D.C. — Utah actively works with other states and the Department of Justice to fight the onslaught of human trafficking-related issues that occur every day. Today, the Department of Justice hosted a Summit on Combating Human Trafficking where Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes addressed the cooperation that is necessary in order to fight violations of human rights that occur both behind closed doors and in public.

States like Utah are leading the charge to arrest the perpetrators of heinous crimes like slavery, sexual exploitation, child labor, forced labor, debt bondage and forced marriage. At the conference, Attorney General Reyes addressed his work with the legislature to change state laws in order to deal with these crimes. He outlined ways that the Attorney General’s Office partners with various state service organizations to help people get out of these desperate situations.

This work is extremely difficult and continuous. With financial assistance in the form of grant funding provided by the Department of Justice, the Utah Attorney General’s office is able to devote significant resources to investigating and prosecuting these crimes.

In 2019, there were several trafficking arrests and prosecutions, most notably: Joseph Moore, who was sentenced to two terms of five years up to life in prison for sex trafficking a 16-year-old child and exploiting his own adult daughter for prostitution. Moore was convicted of Human Trafficking, Aggravated Exploitation of Prostitution Involving a Child, and Exploitation of Prostitution, after a three-day jury trial

Also last year, James Savage Brown was convicted and sentenced to the maximum sentence on each of eight counts of human trafficking-related charges included Aggravated Human Trafficking, Aggravated Kidnapping, Rape, Forcible Sodomy, Aggravated Exploitation of Prostitution and Tampering with a witness.

The value of the partnerships with other states and the Department of Justice cannot be overstated. The crimes are heinous, and the perpetrators are elusive. We fully pledge to continue to investigate these cases and prosecute those involved to the fullest extent of the law.

Upcoming: National Missing Children’s Day Poster Contest

January 29, 2019

The National Missing Children’s Day Poster Contest is a nationwide contest, hosted by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), designed to promote awareness among teachers, parents/guardians, and children and engage them in discussions about safety.

The Utah Attorney General’s Office invites fifth graders to participate in the contest with an annual theme of “Bringing Our Missing Children Home”. Participants must submit their poster to the State Contest Manager by February 25th, at which time a winner will be chosen to represent Utah in the national judging competition and will receive a national award certificate from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).

The national winner, with his/her teacher, parents/guardians, and the state manager, will be invited to Washington, D.C. to participate in the DOJ’s National Missing Children’s Day Ceremony on May 22nd.

Contest rules and the application can be found in the information packet.

Posters and applications are due to the State Contest Manager by February 25th.


Utah State Contact:

Ms. Michelle Busch-Upwall Utah Attorney General’s Office 801-281-1245
mbusch-upwall@agutah.gov

Dept. of Justice hosts discussion on tech companies with state AGs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 25, 2018

 

ATTORNEY GENERAL SEAN D. REYES JOINS U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL TO DISCUSS TECH COMPANIES
State attorneys general share consumer protection concerns on tech company platforms

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes joined U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, eight other state attorneys general, and representatives from five state attorneys general offices at the Department of Justice to discuss competition, free exchange of ideas, and consumer protection surrounding tech company platforms.

AG Reyes shared the following statement after the meeting concluded:

Today’s meeting was part of a critical, ongoing dialogue on protecting consumers and competition in the technology sector without unnecessarily burdening innovation or investment. State AGs have grappled with these issues for years. Having a federal perspective was welcome. The meeting was bipartisan. It was productive. We compared notes with our federal partners about a range of issues including cybersecurity, privacy, data gathering, and monetization of personal information by members of the tech community.

We shared ideas and concerns about the impact of dominant market players on competition and how they may be unfairly leveraging their position for competitive advantage. We agreed that at the federal and state level, we are both seeking robust protection of consumers and markets through responsible regulation and disciplined enforcement.

Utah is a rapidly expanding innovation hub. As such, consumer protection, privacy, and a level playing field in the tech ecosystem are of utmost concern to me and the Utah AG Office. I want to thank Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his team at the U.S. Department of Justice for inviting us to collaborate in addressing issues crucial to the future of our nation.

Utah joined attorneys general from Alabama, California, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Nebraska, Tennessee, and the District of Columbia, as well as representatives from the Office of the Attorney General in Arkansas, Arizona, Missouri, Texas, and Washington.

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Photo by Marvin Meyer

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