FTC Public Comment Request Signals Continued Increase in State AGs Enforcement Efforts
On June 7, the Federal Trade Commission ("FTC" or "Commission") announced a request for public comments ("Request") regarding how it can enhance collaboration efforts with state attorneys general ("AGs") to more effectively prevent, publicize, and penalize fraudulent business practices—supporting an increasing trend in cooperative enforcement between the FTC and state AGs.
The Request stems from the FTC Collaboration Act of 2021, signed into law by President Biden last October, which directs the FTC to solicit public comment and produce a study concerning collaborative efforts with state AGs for facilitating and refining existing efforts to prevent and protect consumers from potential scams and fraud. The study results will inform a Commission report that will be submitted to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce and the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.
Three overarching topics identified in the Request include: (i) the roles and responsibilities of the Commission and state AGs that best advance collaboration and consumer protection; (ii) how resources should be dedicated to best advance such collaboration and consumer protection; and (iii) the accountability mechanisms that should be implemented to promote collaboration and consumer protection between the FTC and state AGs.
The FTC has acknowledged its commitment to continued partnership with state AGs, and indicates the Commission will build upon current enforcement efforts. Commission Chair Lina Khan and her two counterparts issued a joint statement underscoring the decades-long relationship shared among state regulators and attorneys general in protecting Americans from unlawful business practices. In a separately issued statement, the Chair noted this essential role results in "initiat[ing] key lawsuits and fill[ing] in regulatory gaps, often paving the way for broader federal efforts," and noting "[u]nfortunately, federal agencies at times have sought to block consumer protection efforts by states."
In addition to comments from the public, the Request welcomes the comments of state AGs, other law enforcement and regulatory agencies, public interest organizations, industry representatives, consumers, and other interested parties. The public will have 60 days to submit comments at Regulations.gov.
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