Announcements, information and updates from the AG Alliance Members and Associates
September 17, 2020
Dear Colleagues, Partners and Friends – 
The Conference of Western Attorneys General (CWAG) and the AG Alliance (AGA) are proud to announce this year’s Chair Initiative:  A COVID-19 Attorney General Legal and Policy Response Manual. Everyone has been impacted by COVID-19. It is my honor to lead CWAG and the AGA in taking on some of the most challenging related legal and policy issues we face today.
Our proposal is ambitious. In a timely fashion we will put together public/private working groups, each led by a bi-partisan pair of member states to focus on these general topics: 
  1. Multiple approaches of a vaccine;
  2. Prioritization of vaccine administration;
  3. Consumer protection;
  4. Constitutional considerations;
  5. Antitrust considerations;
  6. Anticipated secondary impacts

Each working group will identify more specific legal and policy issues that can be addressed in their assigned area. Further, each working group will highlight at least one area to focus resources and develop an issue guide for policymakers. 
For example, the working group focused on prioritization may consider the legal risks for states if they prioritize a group of healthcare workers before issuing a vaccine to a first responders who then contract COVID-19 during a citizen call, or worse, a first responder who becomes a super-spreader. At each stage of vaccine distribution, how can states ensure geographic, age, race and economic equity? Perhaps the group tasked with examining constitutional issues can build consensus about how to cope with government employees in essential roles but who have religious objections to being vaccinated? Who will shoulder the liability for adverse effects from a vaccine? Do existing scope of duty regulations in states allow enough flexibility for a mass vaccination effort assuming adequate supply? Are there any antitrust concerns allowing reasonable collaboration among competitors when in service of producing and providing a reliable vaccine?
Attorneys General stand at the center of many of these debates whether through legal advice to Governors or because of enforcement authority entrusted to them directly. But Attorneys General are also tested public servants who can partner with good corporate citizens, “work up” with the Federal government and assist local governments with their needs. Working through these issues requires legal acumen, public trust, bi-partisanship and dedication. Attorneys General in collaboration with our partners will advance the dialogue and position ourselves to be at the center of the conversation, enabling a national response to COVID-19.

Please lookout for our full schedule and program agenda in the coming weeks.

For more information about participation, please contact Karen White ( or David Blake (
Wayne Stenehjem
North Dakota Attorney General
2020-21 Chair, CWAG and AG Alliance
COVID-19 Related Fees and Surcharges: 
A Consumer Protection Discussion 
Moderated By Attorney General William Tong (CT)
Thursday, September 24th
1 - 1:30pm ET

  • Steve Kaufman, Deputy Attorney General for Consumer Protection, Colorado Attorney General’s Office
  • Ted Rossman, Industry Analyst,

A surcharge is any fee imposed on top of the advertised price of goods or services. While many forms of surcharging are legally permissible and have policy support, recent reports have focused on new, less-tested “surcharge” fees passed on to consumers allegedly due to COVID-19 factors.This session will help Attorneys General and attendees understand and structure the appropriate consumer protection framework through which to view COVID-19-related surcharging.
Cybersecurity Subcommittee Fall Virtual Session*
Thursday, October 22nd
1 - 3pm ET

**Registration is not automatic, open to AGOs and group members only.

The financial penalties for a Smithfield Foods plant in South Dakota and a JBS plant in Colorado issued last week total about $29,000 — an amount critics said was so small that it would fail to serve as an incentive for the nation’s meatpackers to take social distancing and other measures to protect their employees.

Oracle Corp’s bid to become the “trusted technology partner” for the popular Chinese-owned TikTok app will likely be subject to a national security review. Attorneys who advise companies and investors undergoing national-security reviews say the panel is increasingly dealing with matters that involve data privacy, as well as deals that involve minority investments, private-equity investments and limited partnership structures.

  • New York AG James announced a settlement with Dunkin’ Brands, Inc.— franchisor of Dunkin’ Donuts — resolving a lawsuit over the company’s failure to respond to successful cyberattacks that compromised tens of thousands of customers’ online accounts. 

  • California AG Becerra announced an $11.8 million settlement against Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation (Novartis) related to allegations that the company engaged in a kickback scheme from January 2002 through November 2011 that impacted beneficiaries of Medicare and Medi-Cal. 

  • Alabama AG Marshall announced that Alabama’s price gouging law is in effect in advance of the arrival of Hurricane Sally.

  • Michigan AG Nessel is again warning Michiganders to beware of deceptive petition circulation, as reports continue to be filed with state offices about circulators allegedly misleading people about the true nature of the petitions they’re being asked to sign. 


  • Arizona AG Brnovich has secured an agreement to obtain $7.8 million in debt relief for more than 1,000 former ITT Tech students in Arizona as part of a settlement with 48 attorneys general and the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Nationally, this settlement will result in debt relief of about $330 million for 35,000 borrowers who have outstanding principal balances.  


  • Kansas AG Schmidt has made strides in providing support to reduce the number of suicides, but said more work remains in order to reduce what unfortunately is the second leading cause of death among youth in the state.


  • Uber announced they will offer discounted rides to polls to help “riders, eaters, drivers and delivery people” register to vote or request a mail-in ballot through the Uber and Uber Eats apps.


  • The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released the first episodes of a two-part podcast series for students, parents and practitioners on managing finances before, during and after college. The podcast series, Financial inTuition, will include interviews with experts in financial aid, student loans, financial coaching and planning.

  • CFPB filed a proposed stipulated judgment against PEAKS Trust 2009-1 and trustees. In its complaint, the Bureau alleged that PEAKS provided substantial assistance to ITT Educational Services, Inc. (ITT) in engaging in unfair acts and practices in violation of the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010.

Missed our live programs? No problem! Follow the button below to visit our Virtual Seminar Library for access to all recordings.

Do you have a webinar topic suggestion? We want to hear from you! Please email ideas to Andrea Friedman at
CWAG Executive Committee
- Wayne Stenehjem - Phil Weiser -
- Jason Ravnsborg - Hector Balderas -

AG Alliance Co-Chairs
- Lawrence Wasden - Sean Reyes - Karl Racine -
AGA |  (916) 210-7640 | WWW.AGALLIANCE.ORG