John Swallow, a Republican candidate for attorney general, has suggested that the job of protecting Utah consumers be transferred from the Department of Commerce to the attorney general. That sounds like a bureaucratic shuffle of little consequence. It's not. It's a really bad idea spawned by a long, nasty feud between the A.G.'s office and the Division of Consumer Protection.
That history, and the circumstances surrounding Swallow's suggestion, is the best reason to keep consumer protection right where it is today in state government.
Swallow is chief deputy to current A.G. Mark Shurtleff, who is not running for a third term. His office has crossed swords repeatedly with Francine Giani, director of the Department of Commerce, over enforcement actions arising from consumer protection. Shurtleff himself has tried at least once to strip consumer protection from the commerce department and add it to his portfolio.