Category Archives: Uncategorized

Appeals Court Rejects Argument That Whistleblower Protections Do Not Apply to Reporters of Texas AG Paxton’s Alleged Misconduct

The Texas Appeals Court has recently confirmed that employees of elected officials are protected under the Texas Whistleblower Act. In September 2020, high-ranking officials at the Texas Attorney General’s Office (the “OAG”) reported what they believed to be criminal misconduct by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to the FBI, the Texas Rangers, and other law enforcement agencies. In particular, the officials reported that Paxton used his official position to benefit Nate Paul,… More

Four State AGs Launch Consumer Protection Investigation of Major Republican and Democratic Fundraising Platforms, Congressional Effort Underway to Head Off Future Related Incidents

This blog post was written by Foley Hoag Summer Associate, Joshua Rosen

Major national media sources including The Hill, New York Times, Washington Post, and others, recently reported that four attorneys general have launched a consumer protection investigation of two popular political fundraising websites, WinRed and ActBlue. WinRed and ActBlue are primary fundraising platforms used by the Republican and Democratic parties,… More

WinRed Fights Back Against State Attorneys General Investigations

This blog post was written by a Foley Hoag Summer Associate.

Does federal election law preempt state AG investigations against Political Action Committees? WinRed believes so – the GOP fundraising platform has recently filed suit in the District of Minnesota seeking declaratory relief stating that only the Federal Election Commission (FEC) has enforcement power over the organization. A favorable court decision holding that federal law preempts the AGs’ investigations here could create a serious obstacle to future state investigations.… More

AGs Weigh in on SEC Regulation of Climate Change Disclosures

This blog post was written by Foley Hoag Summer Associate, Adam Aguirre

When would-be investors research a company, they often look to the company’s balance sheet and cash flow. But what about the company’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions? Such information may become readily available if the SEC follows the advice of a coalition of Democratic Attorneys General.

In March 2021, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) began to re-evaluate its regulation of how companies must disclose information regarding climate change,… More

Supreme Court to Review Sixth Circuit Decision Involving Sovereignty of State Attorney General

Can a state attorney general stand alone?  That is the question posed by an upcoming Supreme Court case concerning Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s effort to intervene to defend to a Kentucky statute that was recently struck down by the Sixth Circuit.  The Supreme Court’s answer is likely to have implications in many future situations in which the political persuasions of state attorneys general and other state elected officials differ sharply.… More

Massachusetts Attorney General Strikes Down First Municipal Fossil Fuel Ban

Just over a year ago, the city of Berkeley, California, became the first City in the United States to ban natural gas hookups in new buildings.  The trend of municipalities enacting fossil fuel bans, driven by a desire to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change, has spread across California and a few other states and has now reached the east coast.  Yesterday, the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Municipal Law Unit struck down the first such municipal fossil fuel ban to come across its desk as inconsistent with the general laws of the Commonwealth.… More

Maura Healey’s COVID-19 Debt Collection Ban Struck Down

Last week, a federal judge blocked the enforcement of Massachusetts regulations that temporarily restrict debt collection practices during COVID-19.  According to the judge, the regulations violate the First Amendment rights of collection agencies without adding useful protections for consumers.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey issued the emergency regulations (which Foley Hoag summarized here) on March 27, 2020.  The regulations prohibit creditors from confronting a debtor in person,… More

Webinar: State Attorneys General and COVID-19 – What businesses need to know

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, state Attorneys General have asserted their authority in a variety of ways, from issuing new guidance and regulations on price-gouging to stepping up enforcement of state laws on employment and health care.  Foley Hoag’s team of former senior Attorney General staffers and other attorneys will discuss how AG Offices around the country are refocusing their resources to address the crisis and what that might mean for their non-COVID-19 cases. … More

FDA Issues Warning Regarding At-Home COVID-19 Test Kits

On Friday March 20, 2020, the FDA warned consumers to be wary of fake at-home COVID-19 test kits appearing on the market.  The FDA noted that it had not authorized any at-home testing kits for COVID-19. Further, the FDA warned that fake COVID-19 testing kits and other fraudulent related products and equipment could exacerbate the current crisis by preventing consumers from seeking proper medical treatment. … More

Massachusetts Attorney General Dramatically Expands Price Gouging Regulation in Response to COVID-19

At around noon on March 20, 2020, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey filed emergency regulations dramatically expanding the reach of 940 CMR 3.18, the Commonwealth’s regulation on price gouging.  Historically, the regulation has applied only to “petroleum-related businesses,” such as gas stations, during “market emergencies.”

The emergency regulation, however, applies to “any goods or services necessary for the health, safety, or welfare of the public,” such as hand sanitizer and protective gear for medical personnel. … More

New Attorney General Spotlight: Nevada AG Aaron Ford

Aaron Ford will bring a wide array of legal and political experiences, as well as consumer protection zeal, to the Nevada Attorney General’s Office in his coming four year term.  Ford has been a political force in Nevada since his election to the Nevada State Senate in 2012, after which he served as Minority Leader from 2014 – 2016, and Majority Leader from 2016 – 2018, following Nevada Democrats’ re-taking of the Senate chamber in 2016.… More

Exxon Mobil Loses at Supreme Court; Massachusetts Investigation Will Proceed

Last April, I predicted that the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court’s decision to allow Attorney General Maura Healey’s civil investigative demand regarding Exxon’s knowledge of climate change to proceed had “ended a significant chapter in [the] long-running dispute.”  In fact, that chapter managed to continue through January 7, 2019, when the United States Supreme Court rejected Exxon’s petition to review the SJC’s decision.

Exxon’s certiorari petition accuses the Massachusetts courts of “a breathtaking assertion of personal jurisdiction” that “flouts core notions of due process,” arguing that Exxon’s ability to control the advertising of its licensees in Massachusetts did not constitute sufficient contact with Massachusetts to be subject to a CID. … More

New Attorney General Spotlight: Colorado AG-elect Phil Weiser

This blog post is one of a series of posts highlighting newly elected Attorneys General, and commenting on how their priorities may differ from their predecessors’. Click here to read the full series.

Democratic AG-elect Phil Weiser will bring a strong academic and policy background to the Colorado AG’s office in 2019, following his defeat of Republican George Brauchler by a 51.60% to 45.13% margin. … More

State AGs Sue to Enjoin Association Health Plans Rule

On July 26, 2018, a coalition of Democratic state attorneys general sued the Department of Labor to enjoin its new rule on association health plans, which was finalized in June.  The Department promulgated the rule in response to an executive order from President Trump, signed in October 2017, that directed various federal agencies to encourage the growth of insurance options outside traditional insurance plans regulated by the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”),… More

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court: Attorney General’s Exxon Investigation Can Proceed

On April 13, 2018, Massachusetts’ highest court ended a significant chapter in Exxon’s long-running dispute with Attorney General Maura Healey. In 2015, Healey issued a Civil Investigative Demand regarding Exxon’s knowledge of the effects of fossil fuels on climate change.  Exxon then undertook what a federal judge in New York last month called “a sprawling litigation involving four different judges, at least three lawsuits, innumerable motions and a huge waste of the [New York and Massachusetts] AGs’ time and money.”  (You can read a full analysis of that decision by my colleague Seth Jaffe here.)  Exxon’s actions in Massachusetts’ courts have been mercifully compact,… More

Attorneys General Continue to Battle the Trump Administration Over Environmental Regulations

Democratic Attorneys General have continued their efforts to combat the Trump administration’s attempts to roll back environmental regulations developed under the Obama administration in two recent actions. Thirteen AGs, including Massachusetts AG Maura Healey, sent a letter last week to Scott Pruitt, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, threatening legal action if the agency takes steps to weaken or delay the greenhouse gas emissions standards that were established in 2012 for cars and light-duty trucks for model years 2022-2025.… More

Maryland Legislature Instructs AG to Battle Trump Administration

In Maryland, unlike in some other states, the attorney general has historically required the governor’s or legislature’s express permission to undertake legal action against the federal government.  In late February, that changed with the passage of the Maryland Defense Act of 2017, which would limit the ability of Maryland’s governor – Larry Hogan, a Republican – to stop lawsuits against the federal government brought by Maryland’s attorney general – Brian Frosh,… More

Jury Convicts Pennsylvania Attorney General of Perjury and Other Official Misconduct

Decorative Scales of Justice in the Courtroom

In the late evening on August 15, 2016, a 12-person jury in Norristown, Pennsylvania, unanimously convicted state Attorney General Kathleen Kane of two counts of felony perjury as well as a host of misdemeanor charges, including official oppression, obstruction, false swearing and conspiracy.  Kane faces a maximum sentence of 28 years in prison, although Pennsylvania’s sentencing guidelines recommend a more lenient sentence.

Prosecutors charged Kane based on allegations that she leaked secret grand jury documents related to a 2009 embezzlement probe to retaliate against former prosecutors she believed had embarrassed her. … More

Six State AGs Bring Affordable Care Act Lawsuit

On February 25, 2016, Indiana AG Greg Zoeller became the sixth AG, along with those of Texas, Wisconsin, Kansas, Louisiana, and Nebraska, to join in a lawsuit challenging the implementation of the Health Insurance Providers Fee, as part of the Affordable Care Act.  The state AGs argue that portions of the Fee, which is directed to certain health insurance providers, will be paid by states, which they allege violates the Constitution and several federal laws. … More