Of the 50-state Attorneys General (AGs), 43 are elected. In 2014, 31 AGs were on the ballot of which 11 were open seats. Unofficial results are in, so meet the new Attorneys General.
While many state Attorney General candidates highlight their prosecutorial background, state AGs have been particularly prominent in consumer protection. Relying on Unfair and Deceptive Acts and Practices (UDAP) authority in state law, or additional authority available under federal law, the AGs will be off and running with this election.
Whether Democrat or Republican, Attorneys General often collaborate to pursue multi-state investigations and settlements. Their close association fosters policy discussions which can influence priorities for individual AGs and provide strength in numbers pursuing matters.
Looking ahead, certainly the recent swath of data breaches is on the radar of Attorneys General. Undoubtedly state AGs will continue to aggressively pursue high-stakes UDAP litigation as in the financial services industry, and they will make use of increased authority available to AGs under Dodd Frank’s Unfair, Deceptive and Abusive Acts and Practices (UDAAP). Further, the ability to enforce any Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) rule gives state AGs a leading edge on the interpretation of those federal regulations.