The State AG Report Weekly Update June 15, 2017

AG Elections

2017 Virginia Attorney General Election Update

  • Following uncontested primaries, incumbent Democrat AG Mark Herring and Republican challenger John Adams will proceed to the Virginia general election this fall.
  • First elected in 2013, AG Herring previously served in the Virginia Senate for eight years and worked as an attorney in private practice in Leesburg.
  • Adams currently works at a Richmond-based law firm. Adams previously served as a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Richmond, Virginia and as an Associate White House Counsel for President George W. Bush.

Democrat Brad Levin Announces Bid for Colorado Attorney General

  • Brad Levin formally announced his candidacy to become Colorado AG. Levin is now the fourth Democrat to formally enter the 2018 Colorado AG race, following Michael Dougherty, Phil Weiser, and state Representative Joe Salazar.
  • The four Democrats are seeking to challenge Republican AG Cynthia Coffman, who is expected to run for re-election.
  • Levin is a shareholder at a Denver law firm focusing on tort and commercial litigation, including insurance coverage disputes.

Former Acting Attorney General Announces Candidacy for Alabama Attorney General

  • Former Acting AG Alice Martin formally announced her candidacy to become Alabama AG. Martin is the first Republican to challenge Republican AG Steven Marshall.
  • Martin previously served as Deputy AG under former AG Luther Strange prior to his appointment to the U.S. Senate, and she later served as Acting AG before Governor Robert Bentley appointed AG Marshall as Senator Strange’s successor.
  • Prior to serving as Deputy AG, Martin was the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama from 2001 to 2009 under President George W. Bush.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

20 AGs Pen Letter in Support of the CFPB

  • A coalition of 20 Democratic AGs, led by New York AG Eric Schneiderman, sent a letter to congressional leadership to oppose legislation that would curtail the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (“Dodd-Frank”), which among other things established the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”).
  • In the June 7 letter addressed to the leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives, the AGs warned against voting for the Financial Choice Act of 2017, which they assert would severely limit the authority of the CFPB and harm consumer protection. The Financial Choice Act passed the House on June 8 with a vote of 233 to 186 and is awaiting action in the Senate.

Consumer Protection

New Mexico Attorney General Files Lawsuit Against Discount Retail Chain

  • New Mexico AG Hector Balderas filed a lawsuit against discount retail chain DOLGENCORP, LLC (d/b/a Dollar General, Corporation) (“Dollar General”) for allegedly violating state consumer protection laws by selling “obsolete” motor oil.
  • According to the complaint, Dollar General allegedly misled and deceived consumers by knowingly marketing, distributing, and selling obsolete motor oil unsuitable for the vast majority of modern vehicles, which allegedly resulted in damage to vehicle engines and emissions control equipment and harm to the state’s air quality.
  • The lawsuit seeks to enjoin Dollar General from engaging in deceptive marketing practices and require Dollar General to develop a State-approved program to notify and compensate affected consumers, among other things.

State v. Federal

Republican, Democratic Coalitions File Briefs Supporting and Opposing President Trump’s Travel Ban

  • A coalition of 16 Republican AGs and the governor of Mississippi, led by Texas AG Ken Paxton, filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of President Trump’s revised Executive Order on immigration entitled “Executive Order Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.”
  • Another coalition of 17 Democratic AGs filed two amicus briefs with the U.S. Supreme Court opposing President Trump’s Executive Order: the first brief opposes the Administration’s petition for certiorari and the second brief opposes its request to allow the ban to go into effect pending its appeal.
  • As previously reported, AG Paxton previously led a 12-state coalition that filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Last month, the Fourth Circuit affirmed a ruling that blocked the Executive Order, and this week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed a similar ruling.

District of Columbia and Maryland Attorneys General Sue President Trump Over Alleged Violation of Anti-Corruption Clause

  • District of Columbia AG Karl Racine and Maryland AG Brian Frosh filed a federal lawsuit against President Donald Trump alleging that he violated the Constitution’s Foreign and Domestic Emoluments Clauses by retaining involvement in and benefiting from his global business dealings.
  • According to the complaint, President Trump allegedly violated the Emoluments Clauses by receiving millions of dollars in payments, benefits, and other valuable consideration from foreign governments as well as federal and state agencies. Further, Trump allegedly harmed D.C. and Maryland businesses that compete with Trump’s businesses, as foreign and state governments allegedly favor Trump-owned businesses.
  • The lawsuit seeks a declaratory judgment stating that President Trump violated and will continue to violate the Emoluments Clauses, injunctive relief enjoining him from violating the Emoluments Clauses, and other relief deemed just and proper by the court.
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