The State AG Report Weekly Update August 3, 2017

2018 AG Elections

Republican Jay McMahon Announces Bid for Massachusetts Attorney General

  • Republican Jay McMahon, an attorney in private practice, announced his candidacy to become Massachusetts AG. McMahon is the first candidate to formally announce his or her candidacy in the 2018 Massachusetts AG election.
  • Democratic incumbent AG Maura Healey, reported to be a potential gubernatorial candidate in 2018, has yet to officially announce her reelection bid.

Charities

Michigan Attorney General Issues Cease and Desist Order Against Military Charity Over Allegations of Deceptive Solicitations

  • Michigan AG Bill Schuette filed a Notice of Intended Action and Cease and Desist Order (“Notice”) against Healing American Heroes, Inc. and its professional fundraiser Jeremy Squire & Associates (collectively “Heroes”) for allegedly violating the state’s Charitable Organizations and Solicitations Act by deceptively soliciting funds and diverting them for other purposes.
  • According to the AG’s office, Heroes allegedly, among other things, sent mailings nationwide soliciting consumers to donate funds for phone cards to be sent to soldiers, but only $5,000 of the $2.7 million raised actually was spent on purchasing phone cards.
  • According to the Notice, the AG intends to sue Heroes and its president, deny its fundraising registration, and request restitution and litigation costs if no satisfactory resolution or settlement is reached.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

20 AGs Pen Letter to Senate Leadership in Support of CFPB Final Rule Banning Mandatory Arbitration Clauses

  • 20 Democratic AGs, led by Massachusetts AG Maura Healey, penned a letter to U.S. Senate leaders urging them to protect the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (“CFPB”) Arbitration Rule and vote no on a House-passed Joint Resolution of Disapproval that would set aside the Rule under the Congressional Review Act.
  • As previously reported, the CFPB issued a Final Rule banning the use of mandatory arbitration clauses in contracts that seek to prevent customers from joining together in class action suits against banks and other financial institutions.
  • According to the CFPB, this new Rule is designed to prevent certain financial services businesses from blocking class action lawsuits by requiring individual consumers to agree to resolve suits through privately appointed arbitrators.

Consumer Protection

Virginia Attorney General Reaches Settlement with Credit Lender Over Alleged Illegal Charges

  • Virginia AG Mark Herring reached a settlement with Alternative Finance Company, LLC (“Alternative Finance”) for allegedly violating the state Consumer Protection Act by imposing illegal charges and misleading consumers on open-end credit loans, which are loans that may be used repeatedly without a specific use or duration.
  • According to the AG’s office, Alternative Finance allegedly imposed charges on borrowers during their finance-charge-free grace period, misrepresented to consumers that it did not perform credit checks, and obtained judgements in a Virginia Beach court against consumers without legal basis for that venue.
  • Under the terms of the settlement, Alternative Finance must, among other things, forgive $450,000 in consumer debt and $17,000 in interest, and provide $14,000 in refunds to consumers who were allegedly charged improper fees after consumers paid off their loans.

Data Privacy

34 AGs File Amicus Brief Asking the U.S. Supreme Court to Decide Whether Email Providers Must Release Information Stored on Servers in Foreign Countries

  • 34 AGs, led by Vermont AG TJ Donovan, filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court asking the Court to address whether a private company—such as an email provider—must comply with law enforcement warrants seeking information stored on private servers in a foreign country.
  • The coalition of AGs requested that the Supreme Court review United States of America v. Microsoft Corporation, No. 17-2, a lawsuit that stems from a federal district court issuing a warrant under the Stored Communications Act (“SCA”) directing Microsoft to produce the contents of a customer’s email account for a criminal investigation. On appeal, the Second Circuit determined that Microsoft was not obligated to surrender information since the email servers were housed in Ireland and such seizure of information would be an impermissible extraterritorial application.
  • The AGs’ brief requests that the Supreme Court grant certiorari and determine that foreign servers are not protected under this interpretation of the SCA.

State AGs in the News

Colorado Attorney General Appoints New Chief Deputy Attorney General, Chief of Staff

  • Colorado AG Cynthia Coffman recently appointed Melanie J. Snyder to serve as Chief Deputy AG and Leora Joseph to serve as Chief of Staff.
  • Snyder previously served as Chief of Staff for AG Coffman as well as Deputy AG of the Revenue and Utilities Section. Joseph, a former criminal prosecutor, previously served as a Chief Deputy District Attorney in Boston and Denver.
FacebookTwitterShare