The Role of State Attorneys General in Enforcing Federal Law

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In recent years, laws such as the Dodd-Frank Act increased the role of state attorneys general in enforcing federal consumer financial provisions by authorizing them to pursue certain consumer protection actions. While some have argued that this concurrent…


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In recent years, laws such as the Dodd-Frank Act increased the role of state attorneys general in enforcing federal consumer financial provisions by authorizing them to pursue certain consumer protection actions. While some have argued that this concurrent authority will lead to confusion and inconsistency, others counter that the state attorneys general new role will ensure greater compliance with existing law.

A notable example of this new authority occurred in December 2012, when the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) acquired a judgment from a federal district court through a joint enforcement action by the CFPB and a number of state offices of attorneys general. This was the first joint enforcement action of its kind.

Will this trend accelerate? What is the appropriate role for state attorneys general? Please join us for a vibrant discussion.

Peg Lautenschlager was the Attorney General of Wisconsin from 2003 – 2007. Previously she served as a United States attorney in Wisconsin’s Western District. She was Winnebago County District Attorney and previously worked as an attorney in private practice focusing on family and domestic violence law. She served in the Wisconsin Assembly from 1988 to 1992.

Mark Shurtleff was elected in 2000 as Utah’s attorney general, and served in that office for 12 years. He is recognized as an expert in numerous cutting edge legal issues, including energy-related matters. He has now joined Troutmas Sanders, where he is a part of the State Attorneys General team. A graduate of Brigham Young University and the University of Utah College of Law, Shurtleff is past chairman of the Conference of Western Attorneys General and served several times on the executive committee for the National Association of Attorneys General.

Andrew J. Pincus is a partner at Mayer Brown, where he focuses his appellate practice on briefing and arguing cases in the Supreme Court of the United States and in federal and state appellate courts, as well as on developing legal arguments in trial courts. He is a former Clinton-administration appointee at the United States Department of Commerce. In 2011, Andy testified before Congressional committees regarding patent reform legislation, the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and the Supreme Court’s decisions in cases involving businesses.

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