CWAG Roundup

December 8 , 2016

Cyber Security & Technology Forum
Park City, Utah
February 2-3, 2017
Chair's Initiative and Western Pacific AG Summit
Honolulu, Hawaii
March 14-16, 2017
2017 CWAG Annual Meeting
San Francisco, CA
July 30- August 2, 2017
Former CWAG Attorney General Hardy Myers of Oregon, who worked in state politics for more than three decades, died recently. He left behind three sons, 10 grandchildren and his wife of 54 years, Mary Ann Myers. Myers had a long and accomplished career in state politics. He served in the Oregon House of Representatives for five terms, holding the reins as speaker from 1979 to 1982. He was later elected attorney general in 1996. During his career, Myers worked to improve consumer laws, including multistate settlements with drug companies. He bolstered services to victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. He helped negotiate a settlement between states and the tobacco industry in 1998. He also successfully defended the state's assisted suicide law, which the U.S. Supreme Court upheld in 2006. "Last night we lost a giant in the Oregon legal profession and a dear friend. Hardy Myers was a lawyer's lawyer, a true professional, and a friend to all who met him. Many of the Oregon Department of Justice's current staff worked under Hardy's leadership during his twelve years as Oregon AG, and his legacy and strong work ethic lives on through each of them. He was a public servant who spent his career fighting for Oregonians. There are no words to describe the loss we are all feeling today, except to say that he was simply beloved-and remains so forever in our hearts. The entire Oregon DOJ sends our sincere condolences to Mary Ann and the rest of Hardy's family," said CWAG Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum of Oregon.
President-Elect Trump has selected Oklahoma Attorney General and CWAG Associate Member Scott Pruitt to run the Environmental Protection Agency.  See attached article for more details.
The Conference of Western Attorneys General (CWAG) is seeking a Grant Compliance Consultant to perform grant-related post-award grant accounting functions pertaining to the implementation and reporting of grant-funded projects. This position is for an independent contractor, with an estimated workload of approximately 10-20 hours per month, to work remotely from own location. Requires contractor to have access to computer, standard office software and email. Full consultant position information available here:
Two Wisconsin Department of Justice team members were recently recognized by the National Fusion Center Association at an award ceremony in Washington, D.C. Special Agent in Charge Christopher DeRemer and Criminal Analyst Supervisor Samantha Korta were awarded Fusion Center Director of the Year and Fusion Center Employee of the Year, respectively. The Wisconsin Statewide Intelligence Center (WSIC), also known as the Fusion Center, is operated by the Wisconsin Department of Justice - Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI). WSIC provides tactical, operational, and strategic intelligence support to local, state, federal and tribal law enforcement; emergency management; fire service; public health; military and private sector partners. "The Wisconsin Department of Justice attracts and employs our state's and nation's top talent," said CWAG Associate Attorney General Brad Schimel. "Both Chris and Sam exemplify the top-notch services and expertise DOJ delivers to our law enforcement partners and Wisconsin citizens every day. The national recognition Chris, Sam, and their colleagues received is well-deserved and makes me proud to lead DOJ."
CWAG Attorney General Mark Brnovich of Arizona released the following statement after U.S. District Judge David G. Campbell upheld the legality of Arizona laws on identity theft. Judge Campbell ruled Arizona's workplace identity theft laws serve as a legitimate law enforcement tool in combatting identity theft. "Identity theft costs Arizonans millions of dollars a year," said Attorney General Brnovich. "Arizona can now move forward with prosecuting job-related identity theft crimes to protect Arizonans. "The constitution does not protect someone from stealing another person's identity. Defending this lawsuit has always been about defending the rule of law," added Attorney General Brnovich.
CWAG Attorney General Cynthia H. Coffman of Colorado announced that her office secured a significant judgment against a group running an illegal auto title loan scheme in Colorado. The Attorney General's Office demonstrated that the individuals behind the fictitious names made, serviced, and collected personal loans - some of which had annual percentage rates exceeding 300% - to over 400 Colorado consumers. Consumers were required to turn over title to their vehicle as collateral for the loans, which often resulted in vehicles being repossessed that had values far greater than the loans themselves. Such auto title loans are illegal in Colorado. "I am pleased that many Coloradoans living in fear of having their vehicles towed in the middle of the night due to an illegal loan, will be able to rest easier today," said Attorney General Coffman. "Companies like the ones involved in this case are taking advantage of Colorado citizens over the internet, but we are fighting back to shut them down and protect consumers."
CWAG Associate Attorney General Pam Bondi of Florida and five other attorneys general announced a settlement with the National Football League resolving antitrust concerns about the NFL's league-wide mandatory price floor policy. The policy required each of the 32 NFL member teams to impose a price floor on all secondary market ticket sales on the NFL's Ticket Exchange and related websites officially sanctioned by the league. This policy, which the NFL terminated after the investigation began, prohibited sellers from listing tickets for resale on the NFL's officially sanctioned resale sites at a price lower than the face-value of the ticket.  "With the resolution of this matter, NFL football fans should benefit from a more competitive marketplace," said Attorney General Bondi. The settlement prohibits a league-wide mandatory price floor policy and includes disclosure requirements in cases where an individual team imposes its own price floor. Additionally, the settlement prohibits the NFL from directing or requiring ticketing practices among teams that are designed to preclude fans from using competing exchanges and prohibits the NFL from interfering with an individual team's efforts to coordinate anti-fraud measures with competing secondary ticket exchanges.
CWAG Associate Attorney General Bill Schuette of Michigan announced that Fuataina Afutiti, of Westland, has been sentenced to 30 months to up to 20 years in prison for stealing nearly $2 million dollars from the Veterans Health Administration Credit Union. The former President and CEO of the credit union used the stolen funds for her personal use including leasing luxury cars, gambling and financing personal vacations. "This person not only took advantage of her position within the credit union but took advantage of military veterans, many of who are disabled or on a fixed income," said Attorney General Schuette. "Individuals who served and sacrificed for this country deserve the utmost respect and instead the members of the credit union were victimized. I am pleased to see this verdict."
CWAG Associate Attorney General William Sorrell of Vermont announced that thirty-two Vermonters who were deceived into purchasing nearly worthless memberships in the "Member Choice" travel club will receive partial refunds from some of the companies involved in the unfair and deceptive membership sales. The Vermonters paid a total of nearly $130,000 to become members of the discount travel club, which was claimed to offer steep discounts on travel services. The travel club ultimately provided its Vermont members a total of less than $3,000 in discounts. "Vermont law provides strong protections for consumers who are being offered memberships in discount programs," said Attorney General Sorrell. "Those who trick Vermonters into overpaying for services of limited value will be held accountable for violating our law."
CWAG Attorney General Tim Fox of Montana , along with 16 other state attorneys general and one state fish and wildlife agency, filed a lawsuit in federal court in Alabama, challenging two newly issued regulations promulgated under the authority of the Endangered Species Act by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). The states assert that the final administrative rules defining "critical habitats," as recently issued by the two defendant federal agencies, unlawfully exceed the authority granted to them by Congress as provided in the Endangered Species Act.  The statutory definition of "critical habitats" are those "specific areas within the geographical area occupied by the species at the time it is listed . . . on which are found those physical or biological features (I) essential to the conservation of the species and (II) which may require special management considerations or protection." The states assert that the federal agencies have improperly, and unlawfully, expanded the definition of critical habitats by adopting administrative rules to include any land or water habitat currently unoccupied by a threatened or endangered species, but which could potentially provide for the survival of such species in the future.
CWAG Attorney General Bob Ferguson of Washington announced that a state judge ordered an Iowa organization and its belatedly registered political committee to pay $319,281 in penalties, plus costs and fees in Attorney General Ferguson's campaign finance disclosure lawsuit. After a trial starting, Thurston County Superior Court Judge Gary Tabor ruled that as a result of their violations of state campaign finance disclosure laws, Food Democracy Action! (FDA) must pay a $319,281 penalty (for concealment and late reporting), $2,895.16 in investigation costs, plus attorney fees and trial costs to be determined separately. On April 22, 2016, Judge Tabor granted Ferguson's motion for summary judgment, ruling FDA had violated Washington state law by concealing nearly $300,000 in accumulated campaign contributions. "Washington voters have a right to know who is funding their elections," Attorney General Ferguson said. "Food Democracy Action concealed the sources of hundreds of thousands of dollars in contributions. I won't tolerate violators compromising the transparency of our elections."
The influential international body that grades countries' efforts to prevent money laundering recognized casino gaming companies' significant investment in anti-money laundering (AML) efforts, reporting that the industry "has a good understanding of risks and obligations," puts in place "mitigating measures above the requirements" of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and has shown "an increased focus on raising awareness and improving compliance." The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) released its mutual evaluation report for the United States recently. FATF releases such reports once every ten years, and its 2016 report found, "the gaming industry has taken significant steps to comply with AML/CFT [combatting the financing of terrorism] requirements...casinos have not only increased their compliance spending but have also put in place mitigating measures above the requirements of the BSA based on their risk." "It's no accident that FATF's evaluation of the casino gaming industry greatly improved from 2006 to 2016," said Geoff Freeman, AGA president and CEO. "We're proud of the incredible strides the industry has made not only since FATF's report of the gaming industry ten years ago, but in the last three years as we've built a partnership with the federal government that serves as a model for other industries."

Chris Coppin
Legal Director
Conference of Western Attorneys General
1300 I Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
505-589-5101 (cell)
817-615-9335 (fax)