Digest 12.21.2017 The State AG Report Weekly Update

AG Elections

Democrat Evangelos Argyrakis Launches Bid for Nebraska Attorney General

  • Democrat Evangelos Argyrakis has filed as a candidate for Nebraska AG in 2018. Argyrakis is a former immigration attorney.
  • Argyrakis is the sole Democrat to announce his or her candidacy to date. Incumbent AG Doug Peterson has announced his intent to run for reelection in 2018.

Democrat Samuel Clark Announces Run for Minnesota Attorney General

  • Democrat Samuel Clark, a St. Paul City Attorney, has declared his candidacy for Minnesota AG in 2018.
  • Clark was appointed City Attorney for St. Paul, Minnesota in March 2015. He had previously worked as the State Director for U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar.
  • Clark joins three Democrats—state Representative Debra Hilstrom, former state Representative Ryan Winkler, and Matt Pelikan—vying for the seat. Republican Doug Wardlow has also announced his candidacy to become AG.
  • Democratic incumbent AG Lori Swanson has not yet publicly announced whether she intends to run for re-election. According to reports, AG Swanson is considering a run for governor.

Republican William Herlong Declares Bid for South Carolina Attorney General

  • Republican William Herlong announced his campaign for South Carolina AG in 2018.
  • Herlong is an attorney in private practice and former two-term Greenville County School Board member.
  • Herlong will face incumbent AG Alan Wilson and state Representative Todd Atwater in the Republican primary for South Carolina AG. Currently, no Democrat candidate has filed to run.


Florida Attorney General Files Lawsuit Against Charity Over Alleged Failure to Support the Causes It Purportedly Championed

  • Florida AG Pam Bondi filed a lawsuit against Community Charity Advancement, Inc. d/b/a Breast Cancer Research and Support Fund, U.S. Volunteer Firefighters Association, United States Firefighter Association, United States Firefighters Association, and US Volunteer Firefighters Association (collectively “CCAI”) for allegedly violating the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act by not donating funds consistent with its solicitations.
  • According to the AG’s office, CCAI allegedly misrepresented to donors that it would provide financial assistance to breast cancer research organizations, breast cancer patients, and families of firefighters lost in the line of duty, but only 2% of its cash expenditures between 2013 and 2016 went towards those causes. Further, the AG’s office alleges that CCAI falsely represented having a partnership with bona fide cancer research institutions in an effort to lend legitimacy to its solicitations.
  • The lawsuit seeks the appointment of a receiver to dissolve CCAI, to permanently enjoin CCAI’s associates from engaging in charitable activity, to award civil penalties, and restitution or disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, among other things.

Consumer Protection

District of Columbia Attorney General Files Lawsuit Against Company that Allegedly Abused Crowdfunding Platform

  • District of Columbia AG Karl Racine filed a lawsuit against athletic apparel startup Sivil, Inc. for allegedly violating the District’s Consumer Protection Procedures Act by using crowdfunding platform Kickstarter to promote, market, develop, and sell athletic apparel it never produced.
  • According to the complaint, Sivil allegedly promised supporters athletic shirts in return for contributions, but it neither provided the promised goods nor paid the refunds they promised to consumers. Further, Sivil allegedly spent $112,000 of its funds on its owners’ personal expenses unrelated to production of athletic apparel.
  • The lawsuit seeks a permanent injunction to prevent future violations, civil penalties, restitution for consumers, and attorney’s fees and costs.

Data Privacy

Kansas Attorney General Files Lawsuit Against Nursing Home For Allegedly Mishandling Patient Personal Information

  • Kansas AG Derek Schmidt filed a lawsuit against Caney Guest Home, Inc. d/b/a Caney Nursing Center and its owner (collectively “Caney”) for allegedly violating the Kansas Consumer Protection Act and the supplemental Wayne Owen Act—which is part of the Consumer Protection Act—when it failed to protect patients’ personal information.
  • According to the AG’s office, Caney allegedly kept patient and employee records in an unsecured building that had been burglarized and trespassed upon, yet despite this knowledge, Caney failed to implement reasonable procedures to protect personal information, exercise reasonable care to protect information, or take steps to destroy records containing personal information.
  • The AG’s lawsuit seeks a permanent injunction, restitution to all affected consumers, civil penalties of $10,000 per violation, and attorney’s fees and costs.
  • Earlier last week, a Kansas state court issued a temporary order requiring Caney to follow state law governing security of documents with personal information and ordered the AG to enter Caney’s premises to conduct an investigation.

For-Profit Schools

Four Attorneys General File Lawsuits Against Department of Education For Refusing to Discharge Certain Student Loans

  • Illinois AG Lisa Madigan, Massachusetts AG Maura Healey, and New York AG Eric Schneiderman filed a joint lawsuit and California AG Xavier Becerra filed a separate, parallel lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Education (“ED”) alleging the ED violated the respective states’ consumer protection laws and the federal Administrative Procedure Act when it failed to provide federal loan discharges for students targeted by the now defunct for-profit college Corinthian Colleges, Inc. (“Corinthian”).
  • According to the AGs, the ED has made involuntary collections from students who were subject to Corinthian’s violations of state law, refused to discharge the student loans of many Corinthian borrowers despite valid defenses to repayment, and withheld or unreasonably delayed action on all individually-signed borrower defense to repayment claims. The AGs allege that due to widespread fraud, the collection of federal student loan debts incurred from Corinthian is unlawful.
  • The lawsuits seeks to declare federal student loan debts incurred from Corinthian not legally enforceable for purposes of tax refund or benefit offset for wage garnishment, and declare that the ED unlawfully withheld final decisions on individually-signed borrower defense to repayment claims.
  • As previously reported in 2015, AGs sent two separate letters to ED expressing concerns about the agency’s response to Corinthian’s closure and assistance to student borrowers who seek relief from loans when a school is deemed to have violated the law.

State AGs in the News

Hawaii Attorney General Announces Congressional Bid

  • Hawaii AG Doug Chin has announced his candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Hawaii’s 1st congressional district. The seat is currently held by Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for Governor in 2018.
  • AG Chin was appointed by Governor David Ige to serve as AG in 2015. Prior to his appointment, he was the Managing Partner of a private firm focusing on corporate and administrative law and litigation. He also served as the Managing Director for the City and County of Honolulu from 2010 to 2013.
  • If he wins the congressional race, AG Chin’s replacement will be appointed by the Governor. The Hawaii AG is a non-elected position that is appointed by the Governor with approval by the state Senate

New Hampshire Attorney General Forms Civil Rights Unit

  • New Hampshire AG Gordon MacDonald has formed a state Civil Rights Unit within his AG office, appointing Assistant Attorney General Elizabeth Lahey to lead the new unit. Governor Chris Sununu issued an Executive Order formally establishing the new unit within the New Hampshire Department of Justice.
  • AG MacDonald said the new Civil Rights Unit will reinforce the work his office already does in enforcing anti-discrimination and civil rights laws.