Recently the Deseret News asked my opponents to respond to several policy questions, but did not send the questions to me. I have reproduced those questions, and added my responses here. Some of the questions may be similar to other questions already answered on this page, but I wanted to show a complete response which can be compared with the answers my opponents gave, and which are available on the Deseret News website.
Q: What is the major issue facing Utah today and how would you deal with it?
A: I see the role of Attorney General differently than does the incumbent. While he talks about extending State power in an effort to make Utah "safer", I want to review the uses of State power, in an effort to make Utahns more free. I will work to make all branches of state government more understanding and responsive toward individual rights, and I hope that state government's interaction with citizens is truly "kinder and gentler". We need, for instance, to turn drug enforcement efforts toward those who make others dependent on drugs, and thus regular customers. Our jails and prisons are now full of people arrested for simple possession or use. These people are not criminals, but victims. I hope to end prosecution of victims, and work toward their rehabilitation in an environment free from fear.
Q: How will you handle having to defend legislation you personally disagree with?
A: All attorneys represent people who's viewpoint is different than their own, and we nevertheless do our jobs. The Attorney General, however, has more power to make his influence felt than the typical trial lawyer. He can work with the Legislature to explain constitutional problems with pending legislation, and hopefully avoid the necessity of defending legislation which is likely indefensible. My concerns would not be so much that I personally disagree with legislation, as it would be that Court decisions make the legislation unwise. I believe it is within the power of the Attorney General to concede in Court, that the Legislature may have made a mistake, and should consider amending or repealing the legislation. The present Attorney General worked hard in the Legislature to overturn much of what the people passed in Initiative B four years ago. This Initiative prohibited police agencies from profiting from confiscating private property. I would certainly not have taken the position that the present Attorney General is seeking to once again allow police agencies to seize property and keep the proceeds.
Q: Does the Utah attorney general need to use outside counsel? Under what circumstances? How would you control costs?
A: There are situations from time to time where a conflict of interest will require outside counsel. There also are occasional situations where outside expertise may be needed. In my administration, the use if outside counsel would be kept to a minimum, and I would actively look for attorneys who could provide the service at a reduced fee. In many cases, outside experts would be used to supervise or assist staff attorneys, and therefore to keep fees to a minimum.
Q: In the past, AG incumbents/candidates have been criticized for accepting campaign donations from law firms that currently have, or recently had, outside contracts with the Attorney General's Office. Have you accepted donations from firms or law firm principals with outside contracts? If so, why?
A: Libertarians do not get large contributions from anybody. I certainly have not received donations from large law firms who hope to gain favor or influence. If I am elected, I will owe nobody any favors.
Q: What is the one personal trait/characteristic that you want voters to know about you, and why is that important in this race?
A: I am in this race because I really want to work for a change in government, and change its attitude toward citizens. I am passionate about defending freedom, and I see my candidacy as revolutionary. If you share my vision, help spread the word.
Q: How have you funded your campaign, and what, if anything, does it show voters about your candidacy?
A: My campaign in being run on a grassroots, shoe-string budget. There have been no large corporate contributions. Those who have contributed want a more free society. What may be more important is what contributions say about my opponents. Mr. Shurtleff says that it is necessary and appropriate to obtain large contributions from "corporate citizens". It seems that Mr. Shurtleff considers them an important part of his constituency. Those who support my campaign have little money to give, but their interests are most important to me.
Q: In Lawrence v. Texas, the U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled sodomy laws, such as the one on Utah's books, as unconstitutional. There have been several unsuccessful attempts to strike the Utah law in the Courts. In light of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling, should Utah's sodomy law be taken off the books?
A: Certainly the Supreme Court has made it clear that the government has no place in personal intimate conduct. There have been no attempts that I am aware of to enforce sodomy laws in Utah. Nevertheless, the Legislature should get to work to repeal those laws, and other attempts to regulate "public morals". Certainly as Attorney General I would be urging Utah legislators to do just that.
Q: The Utah Supreme Court is considering a dispute between the University of Utah and the state over the university's policy prohibiting faculty, staff and students from bringing guns on campus. The State contends only the Legislature has authority to enact gun laws in the state, while the university contends it should not be subject to the Legislature's authority.
(A): What is your personal view about guns on college campuses?
A: The Utah Legislature has made a clear decision that no local government entity is free to modify or disregard the law on concealed firearms.
(B): Should state colleges and universities be autonomous from the Legislature's authority? Why?
A: Nothing contained in any grant of autonomy seems to be strong enough to counter the Utah Legislature's general policy decision. The concealed carry law is designed to make Utahns safer, not less safe. If people are allowed to properly defend themselves and others, incidents of violence should decrease, not increase. There seems to be little reason to require permit holders, who are allowed to bring their firearms through most of the State, to refrain from carrying them at state university campuses. Current law does, however, exempt private property holders from the requirement. Brigham Young University and Westminster College, as private property owners, are properly exempt.
(C): Should the state have appealed the lower court ruling that found that the university's gun ban was legal? Why?
A: Yes. To the extent that the State of Utah believed that the ruling was inconsistent with the Utah Legislature's intent, the appeal was justified.
Q: As you know, public attorneys often say they have dual roles. They represent their state and officeholders, but that are elected by the public and represent it, also. As AG, how would you divide those roles? Would you put your responsibility to the public ahead of your legal responsibility to a particular officeholder, department or other state client?
A: If I am elected, there will be very serious efforts to change the attitude of the Attorney General's Office to take the individual rights of Utahns into account. If State officers injure people, they should not be blindly defended, but reasonable settlements should be made, and efforts increased to educate State employees to avoid such injuries. Police officers, for instance, should be taught that constitutional protections from those suspected of criminal activity are not "technicalities", but are serious protections from unreasonable State enforcement. State employees need to be carefully taught that they serve the people, they do not rule or control them. If this attitude change can be encouraged, there should be no conflict between the roles.
Q: The above questions are aimed at finding out where you stand and why voters should pick you. Can you give us one (or more) reasons why voters should not pick your general election opponents (include major party candidates if you wish)? For example, does he lack experience, education, vision, does he bring conflicts of interest or is he too closely associated with minority political views, ect.?
A: My two opponents campaign on increasing State power in the name of insuring safety. I agree with Ben Franklin who said that those who give up some of their liberty to gain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty or safety. My opponents are both good attorneys, but they do not share my vision of a more open and free society. The government always has reasons, like the war on drugs or the war on terror, to increase its power, and restrict individual rights. The difference between my two opponents and me is that I consider resisting this impulse to increase State power as the most important thing that I can do. I bring a choice to this race of a very different attitude and vision. It should not be difficult to decide which of these visions a voter favors. If I am "too closely associated with minority political views" it is because the public needs to be converted to these views, so I am no longer in the minority.