Attorney General Tong Leads Bipartisan Coalition in Providing Comments to Federal Trade Commission in Effort to Better Prevent and Prosecute Cases of Unfair and Deceptive Acts or Practices
(Hartford, CT) -- Attorney General William Tong is co-leading a coalition of 30 attorneys general nationwide in providing comments to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) as part of a bipartisan effort to improve collaboration between the FTC and state attorneys general.
The comments come in response to a request from the FTC as part of the FTC Collaboration Act of 2021. The Act directs the FTC to solicit comments and advice relating to “efforts with state attorneys general to prevent, publicize, and penalize frauds and scams perpetrated on individuals in the United States.”
As the attorneys general note in their comments, the states, the FTC, and other federal partners have worked together for decades to benefit businesses and individual consumers. The FTC and individual states routinely partner to educate consumers about avoiding common scams. The attorneys general suggest that when this information is needed to be delivered on a national scale, working together is, “the best way to protect consumers.”
The coalition argues that states benefit significantly from the FTC’s expertise, resources, as well as its national reach, which facilitates cross-border enforcement. Additionally, they write that collaboration has allowed the FTC to take advantage of the broader array of remedies available under state consumer protection laws and that it has given the FTC access to State investigative resources, witnesses, and expertise.
In their comments the attorneys general further note that the Supreme Court’s AMG Capital Management, LLC v. Federal Trade Commission decision has been negatively impacting effective collaboration between the States and the FTC. Specifically, the view of the attorneys general is that the AMG decision’s limiting the FTC’s authority risks depriving victims of restitution in certain cases.
“The FTC has maintained an Office of Claims and Refunds that does the work of locating consumers who are owed a refund/restitution and getting the consumers their money. This is work that must be done in any matter involving consumer restitution, but many state attorneys general do not have the capacity to do this work and, therefore, must hire third-party settlement administrators,” write the attorneys general in the letter. “The potential loss of the FTC as a resource to do the work of delivering restitution to harmed consumers is a potentially significant loss to the states and to the collaboration between the states and the FTC.”
The FTC will use the comments to prepare a report to Congress recommending best practices to enhance collaboration between the FTC and state attorneys general; quantifiable metrics to assess such enhanced collaboration; and any legislative initiatives needed to promote such collaboration.
The comments were jointly authored by Attorney General Tong, Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul, New Hampshire Attorney General John Formella, and Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti. Joining the coalition in filing the comments with the FTC are the attorneys general of American Samoa, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin.
Assistant Attorney General Brendan Flynn and Deputy Associate Attorney General Michael Wertheimer assisted Attorney General Tong in this matter.
Click here to read a complete copy of the comments.