Candidates for Utah Attorney General talk transparency

Posted at 9:50 PM, Apr 18, 2014
and last updated 2014-04-18 23:50:55-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- Restoring public trust in The Utah Attorney's Generals Office: Sean Reyes says he's up for the challenge, but so does his democratic challenger, Charles Stormont.

The two were at the Hinckley Institute of politics Friday, discussing ways to improve transparency in the public position.

"We want to make sure, not only do we not step over that line, but that there's no perception even that there's a conflict between the political side and the policy side," said Utah's acting A.G., Sean Reyes, to a crowd of students at the University of Utah.

In the world of politics, sometimes perception is what ultimately leads to your demise. John Swallow stepped down from his embattled position as Utah's A.G. amid allegations of bribery and after allegedly violating campaign finance laws.

Sean Reyes was appointed to take over in December, and now the Republican is running a campaign, all while trying to convince voters that, under his watch, things will be different.

"I was joking I have two phones, two laptops, we have two different staff, much like the federal government officials," said Reyes, who was discussing how the state will restore the public's trust in the Attorney General's Office.

Reyes said: "Our vision and our goal is to not make decisions based on political expediency, what's popular or what might be good from a political standpoint. It's, what is the law? What is the best, most reasonable interpretation of that law and long term? Let's uphold the rule of law and processes."

While Reyes talked about transparency, his political opponent was also in the room. Charles Stormont works as an Attorney in the A.G.'s Office, with Reyes. The Democratic challenger is pushing for a watchdog on Capitol Hill.

Stormont said while there's a "D" next to his name, the only real difference between he and Reyes is a word that starts with "P" ...Politician.

"There probably aren't terribly many differences between Sean and I or our view on the A.G.; I think the place where I'm coming from as someone who works as an attorney for the state already, not coming into it as a politician,” Stormont said.

The Utah Attorney General's special election will take place November 4, 2014.