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Sean D. Reyes
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Utah Sues SEC Over ESG Proxy Disclosure Rule

February 23, 2023

Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes filed a lawsuit against the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) opposing a new proxy disclosure rule that would increase activism, administrative costs, and shareholders’ risk of loss. Texas, Louisiana, and West Virginia also joined in the lawsuit.  

Utah outlined its concerns with the rule when it filed comments with the SEC in December 2021. The rule creates new reporting categories of proxy votes for registered management investment companies. But investors already have access to detailed information about proxy votes. Instead, the required information will be used by activists to increase their leverage to advance politicized proposals unrelated to investors’ economic interests. Specifically, in the Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) realm, investment firms are disguising social causes and political goals as objectively advancing shareholder value.

Fund advisers are legally bound first and foremost by their duty to the investors. The voting pressures that will result from the new rule will lead to decisions that undermine the primary responsibility of maximizing investors’ return on their investments.  

Read the filed lawsuit here.

AG Reyes Takes Next Step in Lawsuit Over Risky ESG Retirement Investing

February 21, 2023

Today, Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes took the next step in his previously announced lawsuit against the Biden Administration by filing a motion for a preliminary injunction to prevent a new U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) rule from risking the retirement savings of more than 150 million Americans.   

The DOL rule requires retirement investors to use Environmental, Social, and Governance (“ESG”) standards, not sound financial investment principles when it comes to retirement investment decisions. The ESG standards prioritize the Biden Administration’s climate and social agenda above healthy retirement savings.  

Under the rule, certain fund managers would be allowed to make investment decisions based on nonfinancial or nonpecuniary factors, such as ESG considerations, even when those decisions are not in the best interests of their clients’ long-term financial stability.  

Federal law—specifically, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”)—has long protected hardworking Americans’ retirement accounts by ensuring that the number one priority of fund administrators is the financial prosperity of those who have entrusted them with their life savings. This new rule directly undermines ERISA and the reasoning behind why Congress enacted it.  

To read the full motion for a preliminary injunction, click here.  

Honoring Gold Star Families

February 17, 2023

This morning, Utah families gathered at the Capitol to honor those who lost a loved one during military service this past year. It was a solemn moment as each family stood to introduce themselves, tears almost always followed when a family member shared the name of their lost loved one. Governor Cox addressed the special guests and expressed his sincere desire that the room was empty and there was no need to host such an event.

The Governor, Lt. Governor, and Attorney General Reyes personally greeted each family member as they received a gold rose and a gift. As Attorney General Reyes was handing out roses he noticed two young boys with their grandma, one had lost his father and the other lost the uncle he called ‘dad.’ AG Reyes brought the boys to his office and gave a phone call to the Cobra Kai actor ‘Hawk’, one of the boys’ heroes. They left with badges and smiles.  

The day continued with recognition to all families on the House and Senate floor followed by an honorary lunch. No words can suffice for the grief these Utahns are facing, Governor Cox acknowledged this by saying, “nothing can fill that void, but we hope to at least honor the void.” The Attorney General and our staff’s hearts go out to all of Utah’s Gold Star families. We stand with and remember the brave individuals our state has lost. 

Resources for Reporting Human Trafficking

February 17, 2023

Today, Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes announced resources for citizens who observe or would like to report instances of suspected human trafficking in Utah as instances of human trafficking increase.  

Hundreds of thousands of visitors travel to and through Utah every month.  Large gatherings, tourist attractions and events are magnets for different types of illegal activity, and law enforcement appreciates the public’s help to report potentially criminal activity.

Online: To report ongoing cases of human trafficking activity from your phone or computer, visit:  There will be a form to fill out to provide information about a potential investigations.  

Citizens can also use the Attorney General’s Office SECURE tip line, if they would like law enforcement to take a close look at a situation:  801-200-3443 

AG Reyes responds to Biden’s SOTU Call to Ban Assault Weapons

February 16, 2023

Today, Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes joined a coalition of 16 other state attorneys general to call out President Biden’s recent irresponsible, radical, and unconstitutional statements he made during the State of the Union demanding Congress ban firearms commonly used by law-abiding Americans for self-defense.  

In a letter sent to President Biden, the coalition of attorneys general highlight the many flaws of his reasons for banning his personal, broad definition of “assault weapons,” as well as the dangers of doing so.  

“According to your own CDC, Americans use guns to protect themselves and their families up to 3 million times per year, if not more—far more often than guns are used in crimes, and far, far more often than guns injure people,” the letter said. “The right to keep and bear arms in self-defense guards and protects the right to life, the first and most fundamental God-given right recognized in the Declaration of Independence. And, needless to say, your repeated attempts to deprive law-abiding Americans of guns that are in common and widespread use for self-defense are patently unconstitutional. We stand ready to oppose any attempt by your Administration to trample on this fundamental constitutional right.” 

Semi-automatic pistols are the self-defense weapon of choice for the overwhelming majority of law-abiding gun owners. Under President Biden’s proposed policy, the administration will deprive 100 million Americans of their ability to defend themselves, their families, homes, and businesses.  

Additionally, the letter calls out President Biden for his incorrect claim that the 1994 federal “assault weapon” ban, which he supported in Congress, reduced mass shootings.  Two different studies commissioned by the U.S. Department of Justice—during the Clinton and Bush Administrations—found no discernible effect on violent crime from that legislation. 

Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen led the effort and, in addition to Reyes, was joined by attorneys general from Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Texas, West Virginia and Wyoming.  

Click here to read the letter. 

AG Reyes Recognizes Afghan Refugee for Bravery and Human Rights Advocacy

February 15, 2023

Today, Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes presented the ‘Warrior Award’ to Afghani native Crystal Bayat, an immigrant now living in Utah who escaped the violence and brutality of the Taliban regime in 2021.

Before the Taliban took Kabul by force in 2021, Crystal was an outspoken advocate for women and children’s rights in Afghanistan. During the violent and brutal takeover by the Taliban, Crystal protested on the streets of Kabul risking her own life. Through the help of friends and supporters here in Utah, she was able to escape execution and now calls Salt Lake City her home.

Crystal’s humanitarian work has become a beacon of hope for all women and children in present day Afghanistan as the Taliban continue to revoke basic human rights such as education, employment and free movement. Her own story is an inspiration to women worldwide, as she continues to advocate for justice for those who struggle to fight effectively themselves.

AG Reyes Leads 27-State Letter Asking Congress to Stop ESG Investing with Retirement Funds 

February 14, 2023

Today, Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes led a 27-state letter to U.S. Senate and House leaders, asking they exercise Congressional Review Act authority to stop Environmental Social Governance (ESG) investing with Americans’ retirement savings. The attorneys general also filed a lawsuit over the 2022 rule in January and are asking Congressional leaders to oppose it separately.   

The illegal Department of Labor rule, titled “Prudence and Loyalty in Selecting Plan Investments and Exercising Shareholder Rights,” 87 Fed. Reg. 73822 (Dec. 1, 2022), permits asset managers to place retirement savings at risk by using them to advance political agendas. 

From the letter: “Not only are these practices problematic for using people’s retirement savings to advance causes they disagree with, but ‘multiple studies’ have found that ‘ESG investing’ reduces returns. ‘Over the past five years, global ESG funds have underperformed the broader market by more than 250 basis points per year, an average 6.3% return compared with an 8.9% return. This means an investor who put $10,000 into an average global ESG fund in 2017 would have about $13,500 today, compared with $15,250 if invested in the broader market.’” ERISA protects the retirement savings of over 152 million workers and $12 trillion in assets—the rule instead threatens the financial security of Americans.  

The letter also highlights why the DOL rule is unlawful as it contradicts the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, (ERISA), violates the Administrative Procedure Act, and constitutes executive overreach.  

The attorneys general are asking for prompt action, as Congress only has 60 days to disapprove of the rule. 

Read the letter to Congress here.  

Read the complaint filed in January here.  

AG Reyes Joins Multistate Letter Condemning Leaked Anti-Catholic FBI Memo 

February 10, 2023

Today, Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes and 19 other attorneys general joined a letter led by Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares to Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Christopher Wray and U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland. The letter strongly condemns an anti-Catholic internal memorandum created by the Richmond, Virginia, FBI field office that became public on February 8, 2023. The memo targets Catholics as potential threats due to their religious beliefs. The attorneys general request a full explanation of the document’s origins, documents related to its implementation, information regarding how this document has already affected Virginia’s Catholic population, and information on whether the FBI has begun infiltrating houses of worship in conflict with the FBI’s internal guidelines. 

The memorandum distinguishes between what the FBI deems acceptable and unacceptable Catholic beliefs and practices. The memorandum suggests that there are “radical-traditionalists” who could be “racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists.” According to the memo, the FBI believes these are Catholics who prefer a traditional Latin mass and pre-Vatican II teachings. It also suggests that the FBI should develop “sources with access” in “places of worship”—meaning that the FBI should start recruiting Catholics to spy on their fellow parishioners. The document is sourced with information from a widely discredited report issued by the Southern Poverty Law Center. 

The FBI’s damage control efforts and promise to review the memo in response to public outrage do not change the fact that this was an internal, official policy document not meant for public knowledge. The fact that this document was created in the first place demands answers. 

Attorney General Reyes signed the letter, along with attorneys general from the following states: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Read the letter here.

Attorney General Reyes Files Brief Challenging the FDA’s Defiance of Federal and State Law in Approving Abortion Drugs

February 10, 2023

Today, Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes today filed an amicus brief, along with 21 other Attorneys General, in the Northern District of Texas in the case of Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The brief argues 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)

The Attorneys General write, “State laws on chemical abortion… account for the public interests at issue—and they do so with the benefit of democratic legitimacy (and legal authority). The FDA’s actions can make no such claim. By obstructing the judgments of elected representatives, the agency has undermined the public interest.”

They continue, “Even if the FDA’s approval of mifepristone harmonized with the agency’s own regulations and federal criminal law, those actions would not simply displace state laws regulating abortion. The amici States are entitled to enforce their duly enacted laws regulating chemical abortion in the interests of life, health, and safety.”

“[T]he whole point of the Administration’s recent actions is to encourage and achieve evasion of those state laws.…The FDA—and the broader Administration—is encouraging lawbreaking on a mass scale,” the Attorneys General write.

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

Read the brief here.

Attorney General Reyes Joins Coalition in Lawsuit Against US AG and the ATF on Pistol Brace Rule 

February 9, 2023

Today, Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes joined a coalition of 24 states in filing a lawsuit against U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and its director that seeks to enjoin a recently issued final rule governing “Stabilizing Braces,” commonly known as pistol braces. 

The rule, called Factoring Criteria for Firearms with Attached Stabilizing Braces, indicated that when manufacturers, dealers, and individuals pair stabilizing braces with 99% of pistols, they must comply with the laws that regulate those rifles, including the National Firearms Act (NFA).  

That means those who use a stabilizing brace would have to apply for a permit with the ATF within four months, pay a tax and face restrictions on future transfer of the brace. 

Stabilizing braces were designed to help people with disabilities use pistols. Since then, many others, including older persons, people with limited mobility and those with smaller stature have come to use the braces. For more than a decade, these braces have been sold as firearms attachments not subject to regulation. 

The rule, however, affects most all pistol and handgun owners—many lawful gun owners use stabilizers to prevent some recoil when using firearms and to help with accuracy. 

The lawsuit is asking the United States District Court for the District of North Dakota Western Division to declare unlawful and set aside the rule, among other things. 

“In sum, ATF’s factors are little more than window dressing for the agency to reach whatever outcome it wants, regardless of the facts,” according to the lawsuit. 

West Virginia Attorney General Morrisey was joined in the lawsuit by Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wyoming. 

The other plaintiffs are Firearms Regulatory Accountability Coalition Inc. (an advocacy group), SB Tactical (a brace manufacturer), B&T USA (a firearms importer and manufacturer) and Richard Cicero, a retired police firearms instructor and a wounded warrior who uses stabilizing braces. 

Read the complaint here.