23 Attorneys General Band Together to Make PayPal’s Charitable Donations Platform More Transparent

Charities

23 Attorneys General Band Together to Make PayPal’s Charitable Donations Platform More Transparent

  • A bipartisan coalition of 23 AGs, led by Connecticut AG William Tong and Nebraska AG Doug Peterson, reached a settlement with PayPal Charitable Giving Fund, Inc. (“PPGF”), the charitable arm of e-commerce platform PayPal, to resolve allegations that PPGF provided inadequate information and disclosures to donors making charitable contributions through its platform.
  • According to New York AG Letitia James’ office, the AGs jointly investigated allegations that PPGF aggregated and distributed donor-contributed funds more quickly if the donor had a PayPal account than if the donor did not have a PayPal account, and failed to adequately disclose that discrepancy to donors. Moreover, in certain instances, PPGF allegedly redirected contributions from the donor-selected charities to other, similar organizations without notifying the donors of the change.
  • Under the terms of separate settlement documents, PPGF agreed to amend its disclosures to inform donors they are contributing to PPGF rather than directly to the charity of their choice, the timeframe in which a charity may receive the donated funds, and when their contributions are redirected to a different charity than the donor selected. PPGF also agreed to pay $200,000 to the National Association of Attorneys General’s Charities Enforcement and Training Fund, which defrays investigation and litigation costs and provides training and education to state charities regulators.

2020 AG Elections

Indiana Revenue Commissioner Resigns to Seek the Office of Attorney General

  • Indiana Department of Revenue Commissioner Adam Krupp has resigned to seek the Republican nomination for Indiana AG.
  • Krupp, who has experience in private legal practice, held the Commissioner’s position under the last three governors. He is seeking to unseat incumbent Republican AG Curtis Hill who announced his reelection bid in November 2019.
  • As previously reported, attorney John Westercamp is also seeking the Republican nomination for AG.

Consumer Protection

CenturyLink Agrees to Pay $8.9 Million to Settle Another Suit over Marketing and Billing Practices

  • Minnesota AG Keith Ellison reached a settlement with international telecommunications company CenturyLink, Inc. and related companies (collectively, “CenturyLink”) to resolve allegations of deceptive advertising and billing practices in violation of Minnesota’s Consumer Fraud Act and deceptive trade practices law.
  • The complaint alleges that, among other things, CenturyLink billed consumers for amounts other than those they were quoted, imposed hidden fees to effectively increase the price above the promised fixed price, and did not honor promised discounts.
  • Under the terms of the consent judgment, CenturyLink is required to disclose all charges, fees, and material terms in its sales and advertising materials and provide consumers with an “Order Confirmation” containing a complete summary of the price consumers will pay. It must also honor all promised discounts and stop charging hidden internet fees. In addition, CenturyLink will pay $8.9 million, including $8.05 million to the state and $844,655 in direct refunds to Minnesota consumers.
  • As previously reported, CenturyLink recently reached similar settlements with Washington AG Bob Ferguson and Oregon AG Ellen Rosenblum.

Data Privacy & Security

FTC to Companies: Do Not Fib About Your Participation in EU-U.S. Privacy Shield

  • The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) reached a settlement with digital clinical trial company Medable, Inc. to resolve allegations that it misled consumers about its participation in and compliance with the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield framework (“Privacy Shield”) in violation of the FTC Act.
  • According to the FTC’s complaint, Medable allegedly claimed that it participated in Privacy Shield even though it was never certified as a participant.
  • Under the terms of the order, Medable is precluded from misrepresenting its participation in Privacy Shield or any other data privacy or security program sponsored by the government or any other standard-setting organization, and is required to periodically report on its compliance with the order to the FTC, among other things.

Pharmaceuticals

FTC Forces Bristol-Myers Squibb to Divest a Blockbuster Drug to a Competitor in Bid to Protect Consumers

  • The FTC determined that the acquisition of pharmaceutical company Celgene Corporation (“Celgene”) by another pharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (“BMS”) would violate the Clayton Act and the FTC Act.
  • In the complaint, the FTC alleged that the proposed acquisition would harm consumers and reduce competition in the U.S. market for oral medications for moderate-to-severe psoriasis because BMS would acquire Celgene’s Otezla—the most popular oral psoriasis treatment currently on the market—while also developing an advanced oral treatment for psoriasis, likely to be a direct competitor to Otezla.
  • According to the final order, BMS is required to divest Otezla to Amgen, Inc. for $13.4 billion, which is reportedly the largest divestiture ever required by the FTC or U.S. Department of Justice in a merger enforcement matter.
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