The State AG Report Weekly Update May 3, 2018

Cozen in the News

Cozen O’Connor’s State Attorneys General Practice Analyzes Candidacies of Attorneys General Seeking Higher Office in 2018

  • Eight AGs announced their candidacies for higher office this election cycle; six for governorships and two for seats in the U.S. Senate.
  • Check out our latest article discussing the status of these races, who is still running, and who has been eliminated.
  • As the primary season gets underway and shifts into high gear this month, Cozen O’Connor’s State AG Election Tracker will provide timely updates on all the key AG races.

2018 State AG Elections

Democrat Tatewin Means Announces Candidacy for South Dakota Attorney General

  • Democrat Tatewin Means announced her bid for South Dakota AG in 2018.
  • Means, currently the Chair of Graduate Studies at Oglala Lakota College, has previously served as Deputy State’s Attorney for Oglala Lakota County and on statewide task forces on child abuse and juvenile justice reform.
  • As previously reported, incumbent AG Marty Jackley is term-limited, leaving an open seat in 2018.
  • Means joins former U.S. Attorney for the District of South Dakota Randy Seiler in seeking the Democrat nomination. Republicans John Fitzgerald, Jason Ravnsborg, and Lance Russell are vying for their party’s nomination.

2019 State AG Elections 

Republican Mark Baker Announces Bid for Mississippi Attorney General

  • Republican state Representative Mark Baker announced his candidacy for Mississippi AG in 2019.
  • Representative Baker, a former city prosecutor and municipal judge, has served in his current position since 2004.
  • Representative Baker is the first candidate to file for the 2019 AG election. Incumbent AG Jim Hood, a Democrat, has not yet announced whether he will run for reelection.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

16 Democratic Attorneys General Pen Letter in Support of CFPB Investigative Powers

  • 16 Democratic AGs, led by California AG Xavier Becerra, and the Executive Director of the Hawaii Office of Consumer Protection wrote a letter to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) in response to the agency’s January 2018 Request for Information Regarding Bureau Civil Investigative Demands and Associated Processes (“Request”) seeking comments and information to assist the CFPB in assessing potential changes to the agency’s investigatory processes.
  • In the Request, the CFPB notes that the Civil Investigative Demands (“CIDs”) issued by the agency to investigate potential consumer protection violations impose burdensome demands on recipients and seeks input “on how best to achieve meaningful burden reduction” or other improvements.
  • In their letter, the AGs urge the CFPB to retain its full CID authority because CIDs are necessary for the CFPB to fulfill its consumer protection mandate and adequate protections against overly burdensome investigations are provided by judicial supervision.

Environment

Arizona, Maryland, West Virginia Attorneys General Settle Respective Consumer Protection, Environmental Claims Against Vehicle Manufacturer

  • Arizona AG Mark Brnovich, Maryland AG Brian Frosh, and West Virginia AG Patrick Morrisey separately announced settlements with car manufacturers Volkswagen AG, Audi AG, Porsche AG, and related affiliates (collectively, “the VW Group”) to resolve claims arising from the VW Group’s alleged sale of diesel vehicles equipped with “defeat device” software intended to circumvent applicable emissions standards.
  • According to the office of AG Brnovich, the Arizona settlement resolving alleged state consumer protection law violations requires the VW Group to pay $10.5 million in consumer restitution, $20 million to the state, and attorney’s fees and costs.
  • AG Frosh obtained a consent decree resolving alleged state environmental law violations, requiring the VW Group to pay $29 million in civil penalties; make certain business investments to benefit the Maryland economy; and increase the availability of zero emission vehicles in the state.
  • AG Morrisey obtained a consent judgment resolving alleged state consumer protection law violations, requiring the VW Group to pay $2.65 million to the state and refrain from any future unfair or deceptive practices.
  • The VW Group has previously resolved similar allegations in settlements with a 43-state coalition over alleged consumer protection violations in June 2016 and a 10-state coalition over alleged state environmental law violations in April 2017. Maryland was a party to the June 2016 settlement; none of these three states participated in the April 2017 settlement.

20 Democratic Attorneys General Submit Comments Regarding Proposed EPA Rule

  • A coalition of 20 Democratic AGs and seven cities and counties, led by New York AG Eric Schneiderman, submitted comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) as part of the public comment period for a rule to replace the 2015 EPA rule entitled “Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units” (commonly known as the “Clean Power Plan”).
  • The AGs’ comments urge the EPA to retain the Clean Power Plan because it furthers the EPA’s mandate to “protect public health and welfare” from the threat of carbon pollution.
  • As previously reported, a coalition of 21 Republican AGs submitted comments in support of the EPA’s repeal and replacement of the Clean Power Plan earlier this year.
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