Andrew McCullough's Blog

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

League of Women Voters

I received a message from the League of Women Voters this past week that they had published their annual voter guide without a response from me to the three questions they had sent all five candidates for Utah Attorney General. Well, out of those five candidates, one did respond, so I have to assume they did send out the questions, though I have no record of having received them. Apparently, neither did Attorney General Reyes (or he chose to ignore them because he sees no need to engage in a campaign). shortly after that, I received a message from an individual voter asking me why I had not responded, and giving me the questions again. So, I am going to post my response here.

1. If elected, what is the single most important thing you would do to gain back the public's trust in the Attorney General's Office?

Answer: I still don't know if either of the two previous Attorneys General broke any laws. I would like to hope not, as I rather like Mark Shurtleff as a person. He has always been friendly and decent with me. Nevertheless, he and his successor left the impression that they had favors for sale in return for large campaign contributions and/or vacations, use of expensive cars and airplanes, etc. Pictures of Mr. Shurtleff in the private jet and the Lamborghini car owned by a businessman who was under suspicion for illegal business practices were everywhere on the internet. I have no favors for sale, and I will not have my photo taken showing "conspicuous consumption". It is not my thing. If I am elected, I will strive to treat all those I deal with with equal fairness. My approach to prosecution will not be as aggressive as some. I have little interest in putting people in jail for being sick (using drugs) and engaging in other activity which essentially is none of the State's business. But I will deal firmly and fairly with those who hurt and abuse others. It will not matter if they are "party faithful" or other privileged people. If the law is too harsh, we will work to make it lees so. As one might expect, I have no large contributors, so I owe nobody any favors. That will not change.

2. Do you think the Attorney General's office has a responsibility to advise the Utah State Legislature and/or the Governor's office against lawsuits posing a great financial burden to Utah's tax payers? Please explain your position.

Answer: In Utah, as in many other states, the Attorney General represents the interests of the people, not the Governor. I intend to take that responsibility seriously. I will not defend the unlawful actions of State employees; and I will not encourage the State to believe that it should throw great resources into lost causes. It is certainly the responsibility of the Attorney General to defend a law passed by the Legislature. But endless appeals and the use of mean spirited and untenable arguments are neither necessary nor appropriate. Specifically, I would do my best to end the State's defense of the prohibition of same sex marriage. After the appeal to the Tenth Circuit, the Attorney General has certainly done his duty. Anything further is not only a waste of resources, it is an insult to many citizens of the state who do not march in lockstep with the majority on this very personal question.

3. What solutions will you pursue to prevent fraud/abuse in issues such as payday lending and business opportunity enterprises (Biz-Ops), as well as to combat identity theft.

Answer: There is nothing inherently unlawful or fraudulent about the payday lending business or those businesses which "sell" business opportunities. Obviously, if they do engage in unlawful or fraudulent practices, they should be prosecuted and shut down to protect our citizens from their practices. I have personal concerns about payday lenders. There seem to be so many of them, and they appear to make such high profits. Certainly, they must be fair and honest with their customers, who tend to be those who can not afford the high interest rates that they are charged. I am not sure the answer is to prohibit or tightly regulate them. Utah previously had a usury statute, which was repealed by the legislature. Perhaps these enterprises fulfill a real need. But I am certainly open to looking carefully at their practices and doing what is necessary to stop abusive practices. For one thing, I will take no large campaign contributions from them, and I will owe them no loyalty when complaints come in that need to be reviewed.

If you agree with my positions, tell a friend. This is not a campaign that will spend large amounts of money. I need those who like what I stand for to pass the word.


  • At 3:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I think that you will make a very good attorney general. I like your different views. You can tell that you really took these questions seriously.


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