SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Jan. 26, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes has issued a statement regarding Rep. Andrew Stoddard’s decision to ask the state House to look at possibly impeaching Reyes “for misusing the powers of his office.”
Stoddard (D-Sandy) released a statement Tuesday morning, saying Reyes “has worked shamelessly over the past few months to undermine our country’s election results. As an attorney and a public officer, he has violated his duty to the State.”
Stoddard said that, in pursuing his “desire to make sure that our state is represented ethically,” his options are to file a GRAMA request or open a bill file seeking impeachment, because the current state code “provides no in-between options for the legislative branch to investigate another branch of government.”
Later Tuesday, Reyes issued his response, calling impeachment a “drastic measure.”
Reyes states that his team has helped Stoddard with his criminal justice bills during this legislative session, but Stoddard hasn’t asked to meet to discuss his concerns with Reyes.
Stoddard has questioned Reyes’ unilateral decision to involve Utah in a Texas lawsuit seeking to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in four states.
“In December, Attorney General Reyes joined 16 other attorneys general in endorsing a baseless Texas petition to invalidate the election results in four battleground states won by President Joe Biden – Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia and Wisconsin, which was ultimately rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court,” Stoddard said.
In response, Reyes said:
“As I stated at the time Utah joined the Texas lawsuit, we need to have the U.S. Supreme Court answer a critical constitutional question regarding separation of powers. Namely, when are executive and judicial branches allowed to change or disregard state law without approval of the legislative branch or referendum process.
“I know many state legislators along with a majority of Utahns wanted this question answered and still do. I understand the Supreme Court is hesitant to address even important constitutional issues like this amid political controversy. Nevertheless, it is a question that remains and needs to be answered before the next election cycle.
“As Attorney General, I have to defend state election laws and advise the executive branch but can’t do so if the force of those laws is in question.”
When it became known that Reyes had joined Utah in the Texas lawsuit, there was considerable backlash from individual Utahns as well as several organizations, all demanding that Reyes issue a public apology for his action or else “step down.”
Rep. Stoddard also referred to Reyes’ involvement with RAGA, the Republican Attorneys General Association, saying it “has been very concerning given their role in inciting the domestic terrorism that occurred at our nation’s Capitol on January 6th. Reyes has not provided clear answers to his involvement with any of this.”
Reyes took issue with that, saying, “It has been well documented by the media and national organizations that I was not involved in planning or encouraging any violence at our nation’s Capitol Building. I immediately and emphatically denounced the lawlessness and loss of life on January 6 in the same manner I condemned the equally tragic riots, looting, burning, violence and loss of life all summer long in cities across our nation.”
On Twitter, Stoddard said his decision to look at impeaching Reyes is not a partisan or political move, and “While impeachment is not necessarily the goal, based on what the investigation uncovers, it may be a potential outcome.”