Maybe it's the lingering aftertaste from the whole John Swallow/Mark Shurtleff pay-for-play fiasco, but Utahns don't think Attorney General Sean Reyes should take donations from individuals or organizations that are involved in litigation being considered by his office.
A new UtahPolicy.com poll conducted by Dan Jones and Associates finds an overwhelming number of Utahns (87%) think the AG should not take donations from those people or companies.
Reyes' predecessor, Swallow, was hammered in an investigation that said there was a "For Sale" sign on the AG's office door. Since he took office, Reyes has taken in some questionable donations. Those include a $5,000 check from 1-800 Contacts. The AG's office is currently defending a law passed by the 2015 Legislature that bans price-fixing on contact lenses. That bill directly benefits the Utah-based discount retailer.
Editorial boards and community groups have called on Reyes to return that particular donation.
A Salt Lake Tribune analysis of Reyes' donations found other donations that could raise eyebrows, too. A spokesperson for Reyes told the Tribune they thoroughly vet all of the donations that come into the office.
What's clear from our survey is Utahns are very wary of any donation to the AG that smacks of a quid-pro-quo arrangement for the state's top law enforcement officer, and it's not even close. Every single demographic we surveyed said they want Reyes to avoid taking donations from sources that would present a conflict of interest for him. In fact, 84% of Republicans, 96% of Democrats and 88% of independent voters say he should not take those donations.
If Reyes listens to the voters will, that could severely impact his fundraising. He is up for re-election in 2016. He spent more than $400,000 in his re-election campaign in 2014 and has raised nearly $100,000 so far this election cycle.
The survey was conducted by Dan Jones & Associates from June 2-8, 2015. 601 adult Utahns were contacted via telephone and online means. It has a margin of error +/- 4%.