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AG Nessel Joins Bipartisan Coalition of States in Providing Comments to FTC Highlighting the Benefits of Collaboration Between the FTC and State Attorneys General
August 15, 2023
LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has joined a bipartisan coalition of 30 state attorneys general in providing comments to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) highlighting the benefits of collaboration between the FTC and state attorneys general. The comments were jointly authored by Connecticut Attorney General William Tong, Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul, New Hampshire Attorney General John Formella, and Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti.
“Consumers always benefit when states work with each other and with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to respond to consumer protection issues,” Nessel said. “Michigan has a dedicated Consumer Protection team, and we have partnered with other states on issues like illegal robocalls and data breaches to safeguard residents from these violations. Enhanced collaboration between the states and the FTC can further strengthen the states’ ability to secure remedies for wronged consumers. I stand with my colleagues in supporting continued collaboration between the states and the FTC.”
The comments come in response to a request from the FTC required by the FTC Collaboration Act of 2021. The Act directed 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 in concert for decades to benefit 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.”
They also comment that states benefit significantly from the FTC’s expertise, and 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 negatively impacted effective collaboration between the states and the FTC. Specifically, the view of the attorneys general is that the AMG decision’s limitation on the FTC’s authority risks depriving consumers 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. “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.
Joining AG Nessel in filing the comments with the FTC are the attorneys general of American Samoa, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Colorado, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin.
A complete copy of the comments can be found here.