Election News

The State AG Report Weekly Update July 13, 2017

AG Elections

Republican Chess Bedsole Announces Bid for Alabama Attorney General

  • Chess Bedsole, who previously served as the Alabama campaign chairman for President Trump, announced his candidacy to become the Alabama AG.
  • Bedsole is the third Republican to officially enter the 2018 Alabama AG race, following incumbent AG Steve Marshall and former Acting AG Alice Martin.
  • Bedsole worked for two years for the Trump presidential campaign and later for U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions as Senior Counsel.

State Representative Debra Hilstrom Announces Bid for Minnesota Attorney General

  • Democratic state Representative Debra Hilstrom formally announced her candidacy to become Minnesota AG. Hilstrom is the fifth candidate to officially enter the 2018 Minnesota AG race, following the announcements of Democrats Ryan Winkler and state Representative John Lesch and Republicans Harry Niska and Doug Wardlow.
  • Incumbent AG Lori Swanson, also a Democrat, has not yet publically announced whether she intends to run for re-election. According to reports, AG Swanson is considering a run for governor. Hilstrom has stated that she would drop her election bid if AG Swanson decides to run for another term as AG.
  • Hilstrom has served in the Minnesota House of Representatives since 2000, and also is currently a prosecutor in the Anoka County Attorney’s Office.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

CFPB Issues Final Rule Banning Mandatory Arbitration in Class Action Lawsuits

  • The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (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.
  • The Rule applies to major markets for consumer financial products, including those that lend money, store money, and move or exchange money. The new rule will go into effect 60 days from publication.

Consumer Protection

30 AGs Pen Letter in Support of FCC Introducing Rule Against “Spoofed” Robocall Numbers

  • A bipartisan coalition of 30 AGs, led by Arizona AG Mark Brnovich, recently sent a comment to the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) urging the FCC to adopt rules to prohibit the use of “spoofed” caller ID numbers by telemarketers, who allegedly use such numbers—which appear on caller ID to be coming from one number but, in fact, come from a different number—in order to hide or disguise the incoming call numbers from consumers.
  • In the July 5 comment, the AGs voiced their support for the proposed FCC Rule that prevents robo-callers from spoofing phone numbers, arguing that it would not negatively impact legitimate businesses.

Data Privacy and Cybersecurity

Arizona Attorney General Leads Coalition to Reverse Approval of Data Privacy Settlement with Search Engine

  • Arizona AG Brnovich is leading a coalition of eleven AGs in urging the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit to reverse the District of Delaware’s approval of a $5.5 million data privacy settlement with Google that would allow the company to distribute settlement funds to internet technology and privacy rights organizations.
  • According to the amicus brief filed by the AGs, the District Court incorrectly concluded that it is economically infeasible to distribute the settlement among the actual class members. The AGs further argue that the proposed settlement unfairly prevents the individual class members from benefiting from the settlement and argued that the Third Circuit should remand and instruct the District Court to analyze the distribution of settlement funds.

For-Profit Colleges

19 Democratic AGs Sue U.S. Department of Education to Preserve Student Loan Protections in U.S.

  • 19 Democratic AGs, led by Massachusetts AG Maura Healey, filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Education and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos for rescinding the “Borrower Defense Rule.”
  • According to the complaint, the Borrower Defense Rule provides critical protections to federal student loan borrowers against misconduct by postsecondary institutions, including for-profit colleges, by, among other things, allowing borrowers to obtain loan forgiveness upon a successful AG enforcement action against a school. The rule, finalized by the Obama administration in November 2016, was set to go into effect on July 1, 2017, before it was delayed and rescinded last month. In March 2017, 18 AGs sent a letter to Secretary DeVos urging her to preserve the same rule.

State AGs in the News

Maine Attorney General Announces Bid for Governor

  • Maine AG Janet Mills has announced her intent to seek the Democratic Party’s nomination for the Governor of Maine. Incumbent Governor Paul LePage is ineligible to run for reelection due to term-limits.
  • AG Mills is a former prosecutor and state representative who previously had served as AG from 2008 to 2010, and who became AG again in December 2012.

West Virginia Attorney General Announces Bid for U.S. Senate

  • West Virginia AG Patrick Morrisey announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate for West Virginia. If he wins the Republican primary, he will challenge incumbent Democratic Senator Joe Manchin.
  • AG Morrisey was first elected as AG in 2012 and won reelection in 2016.
  • Before taking office, AG Morrisey was in private practice as a health care lawyer and served as a partner and co-chair of King & Spalding LLP's FDA and Life Sciences Group. He is currently chairman of the Republican Attorneys General Association.