Association News

In this edition of Cadwalader's State Attorney General Insider we update you on the activities of the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) and the Attorney General Alliance (formerly CWAG), as well as the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) and the Democratic Attorneys General Association (DAGA).

NAAG cancelled the in-person scheduled Presidential Initiative and the Eastern, Southern and Midwestern Regional meetings. The Presidential Initiative on Transformational Leadership and Civility was transformed to a virtual format.

RAGA Summer Conference, August 23-25, Sea Island, Georgia

This was the first non-virtual state Attorney General conference to take place since late February 2020. Much of the dialogue was centered on the Fall elections, including the ramifications for the states of a Democratic administration in the White House, as well as RAGA’s significant resource allocation to unseating incumbent Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro and North Carolina General Josh Stein. State COVID-19 responses dominated the conversation.

NAAG Consumer Protection Conference, October 26-28, Virtual

In the wake of the United States Department of Justice filing an antitrust lawsuit against Google, much of the discussion focused on what other states may join the federal lawsuit or bring their own actions. The state Attorney General assault on Big Tech, including Amazon, Apple and Facebook, loomed over the meeting.

On October 26-28, 2020, the 51 Consumer Protection Chiefs and their staffs convened to discuss and collaborate on multistate issues and targeted industries. During the public session, the most notable panel was where 7 of the 23 Attorneys General fielded questions. The Co-Chairs kicked off the dialogue with Tennessee Attorney General Herb Slatery surfacing the biggest concern for state Attorneys General – cases against manufacturers and distributors of opioids. General Slatery also repeatedly discussed concerns about the time-share industry and allegations around the difficulty of consumers being released from their time-share obligations. The other co-chair, North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein, discussed his office’s litigation against Juul, predatory lenders, Big Tech and robocalls. Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford and newly-minted Alaska Attorney General Ed Sniffen shifted the conversation to COVID’s effect on the tourism industry and matters involving refund policies not being properly honored. Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser added to the theme by singling out Frontier Airlines and other airlines not giving proper credits or refunds. General Weiser also noted that some unscrupulous supplement companies are advertising false treatments for COVID-19. Finally, Guam Attorney General Leevin Camacho reminded the audience of the rising concern amongst state Attorneys General of PFAS litigation, and Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh mentioned his attention to landlord/tenant COVID-related issues. The other two panels from the conference offered primers on the potential changes coming to the California Consumer Privacy Act and its effect on other states as well as a panel on the potential pitfalls under deceptive marketing regulations as applied to digital advertising. 

RAGA Fall Meeting, November 9-11, Orlando, Florida

Nineteen Republican Attorneys General, along with staff from offices where the Attorney General was unable to attend, met in Orlando, Florida. Representative of the meeting as a whole, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis keynoted the dinner and mostly focused on the national Republican election success. In attendance was newly-elected Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen as well as outgoing Montana Attorney General and NAAG President Tim Fox. Newly-elected incoming Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita contracted COVID-19 and thus was not able to attend, but outgoing Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill was in attendance. The RAGA meeting was dominated by discussion of the national election and the individual state Attorneys General role in assuring election integrity.

DAGA Fall Meeting, November 18-19, Virtual

Almost all of the 25 Democratic Attorneys General attended the virtual conference and, not surprisingly, the presentations were dominated by discussions around COVID-19 and election integrity. The panels centered on the election, both in terms of politics and voter access issues. In the politics panel, the close but victorious elections of North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein and less close but tense re-election of Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro were celebrated. The fact that the Democrats lost the two open seats this year as well as the two open seats in 2019 channeled much conversation around Democratic messaging going forward. Hawaii Attorney General Clare Connors moderated an insightful panel on what individual Attorneys General were doing in their states to protect election integrity. On the panel were Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford, North Carolina General Josh Stein and Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul. In addition, measures being taken by Democratic state Attorneys General to save lives during COVID-19 were aired. Finally, speculation about Democratic Attorneys General being appointed to the new administration, such as the now-confirmed news that California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has been tabbed for Secretary of Health and Human Services, filled much of the interactive dialogue time slots.

NAAG Capital Forum, December 2-3, Virtual

The Annual Capital Forum, typically the centerpiece of the NAAG schedule, was relatively uneventful. There was almost no discussion around issues being investigated by state Attorneys General or their offices, or regarding particular industries being targeted now or in the future. Instead, Presidential Historian Michael Beschloss discussed the impending presidential return to civility, statesmanship and mutual respect. There was a panel on lobbying-related issues, including pay-to-play prohibitions, and the always-informative annual United States Supreme Court update by Walter Dellinger and Ted Olson. Finally, incoming NAAG President District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine introduced his Presidential Initiative, “The People v. Hate: Standing Up for Humanity.” 

 

On the Horizon

NAAG Attorney General Symposium, April 12-14, Philadelphia, PA

Attorney General Alliance Annual Meeting, June 14-18, Maui, Hawaii

 

 

 

December 15, 2020 | Issue No. 3
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