Announcements, information and updates from CWAG Members and Associates
All power point presentations and videos of the panels are currently available on the CWAG website at CWAG 2017 PAST EVENTS
CWAG Associate Attorney General Brad Schimel of Wisconsin announced that President Trump will nominate Assistant Attorney General David P. Ross to serve as Assistant Administrator of the Office of Water at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Ross is currently the Wisconsin Department of Justice's Environmental Protection Unit Director. "Wisconsin will lose a great environmental specialist when Dave departs, but I'm thrilled the entire nation will benefit from Dave's breadth and depth of knowledge and experience," said Attorney General Schimel. "We appreciate Dave's service to our State and wish him the best in his new adventure at the EPA." Ross joined the Wisconsin Department of Justice in 2016, after returning home to Wisconsin from Wyoming, where he served as a senior assistant attorney general in the Wyoming Attorney General's Office. In that role, Ross represented the Water Quality Division of the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality. Ross also represented the State of Wyoming on the Assumable Waters Subcommittee of the National Advisory Council for Environmental Policy and Technology. 
In response to the flooding following Hurricane Harvey, Airbnb is expanding their Disaster Response Program to provide free temporary housing accommodations to affected residents and also helping emergency responders and relief workers - so the need is great.  Airbnb is working with many partners to spread the word, as well as add more hosts and available housing. All available housing will be free to evacuees through September 25.
Below is more information on the program and how to access and add accommodations:
*           In the event of major emergencies like this one, Airbnb's Disaster Response Program activates our hosts to support neighbors helping neighbors, allowing residents who have been displaced -- as well as emergency relief workers and volunteers who are coming in to assist --to find temporary housing with local Airbnb hosts who are opening their homes free of charge. All service fees are waived.
*           To request to book accommodations, or to sign up your home for those displaced, please use this link:
*           Responders and Survivors can access $0 listings in one of two ways:
*          You can direct your responders and support partners to There they can access all the $0 listings for hurricane Harvey and identify a place that's suitable for them to stay. Click "I need a place to stay" to search for a listing (otherwise you will click each listing).
*          If organizations don't already have a corporate account with Airbnb, we can create a business travel account for (agency/company), add their employees to that corporate account as travel managers and bookers and they can then book accommodations for themselves as well as on behalf of other employees through .
The Home DepotĀ® Foundation announced its commitment of $1 million to support Hurricane Harvey disaster relief efforts in Texas and Louisiana. Funds will be distributed to several nonprofit partners including the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, Convoy of Hope, Operation Blessing and Team Rubicon to support both short-term relief and rebuilding needs. "Our hearts and full support go out to our communities, customers and associates that are being impacted by Hurricane Harvey," said Shannon Gerber, executive director of The Home Depot Foundation. "The Home Depot Foundation and Team Depot volunteers will work alongside our disaster relief partners to assist the people and areas impacted by this catastrophic storm."
Walmart CEO Doug McMillon wrote to employees, "I'm proud of how so many of you are stepping up and helping out during this very difficult time. From volunteering and delivering more than 1,000 truckloads of water, food and other necessities; to providing diapers, blankets, fresh produce, toys and personal hygiene products to those living in shelters - you are making a difference for people suffering unimaginable loss. Last week we made an initial commitment of $1 million to support the relief efforts. But as the extent of the devastation becomes clearer, we've decided to do even more. Walmart will give $20 million in cash and in-kind donations, including a two-to-one customer match. Our primary focus is to help ensure the health, safety and comfort of the people residing in mega shelters in Houston and Dallas. We're staying in close contact with the Red Cross, government officials and our teams in Texas to understand how else we can help."

CWAG Associate Attorney General Tom Miller of Iowa reminded Iowans to give generously, but to give wisely as Iowans answer the call to help Hurricane Harvey victims Attorney General Miller said,  "Iowans are already stepping up to help the staggering number of people impacted by this unprecedented hurricane and flooding event. I want to ensure that Iowans trying to help people who are suffering aren't themselves victimized by scammers. Know who you are giving to. Give to established and familiar organizations. While many pop-up relief efforts may be legitimate, others may provide relatively small amounts of donations to those who need them, or may even be outright scams. Be watchful for sound-alike organizations."
CWAG Associate Attorney General Ken Paxton of Texas issued a warning to gas stations against any attempt to take advantage of Texas consumers by fraudulent action in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. The Consumer Protection Division of the attorney general's office received more than 500 complaints today, many of which involve allegations of high fuel prices in Dallas, including amounts ranging from $6-$8 dollars per gallon. "Texas law protects consumers from fraud in Dallas and other parts of Texas outside of the governor's declared disaster areas," said Marc Rylander, communications director for the attorney general's office. "If Dallas consumers are victims of fraud by gas stations, we urge them to contact our agency's consumer protection hotline so that we can investigate and take appropriate action."
CWAG Associate Attorney General Pam Bondi of Florida activated Florida's price gouging hotline for all consumers in Florida. The opening of the hotline comes as Governor Rick Scott declares a state of emergency in all 67 Florida counties in response to threats posed by Hurricane Irma-now a Category 4 hurricane that could impact the state this week. "Floridians need to prepare now and they should not be inhibited by unlawful price increases on supplies necessary to brace for a major hurricane strike-that is why I've activated Florida's Price Gouging Hotline and encourage anyone who suspects price gouging to report it to my office by calling (866)-9-NO-SCAM," said Attorney General Bondi. "By reporting suspected price gouging you can protect yourself and your fellow Floridians." State law prohibits extreme increases in the price of essential commodities, such as food, water, hotels, ice, gasoline, lumber and equipment, needed as a direct result of an officially declared emergency.
CWAG Associate Attorney General TJ Donovan of Vermont announced that the Vermont Superior Court, Addison Criminal Division, ordered Google, Inc. to comply with Vermont search warrants. The search warrants sought computer records and files related to the alleged sexual exploitation of children. Google refused to produce such files because they were stored on overseas servers. The search warrants were issued in three separate criminal investigations, two of which the Attorney General's Office is prosecuting and one of which the Addison County State's Attorney's Office is prosecuting. With respect to the ongoing litigation, Attorney General Donovan and State's Attorney Wygmans state, "Unfortunately, many individuals use the electronic communications providers to commit crimes. These include sexually exploiting children over the internet by luring children to engage in sex acts and creating and distributing child pornography. Electronic communications providers' refusal to comply with lawfully issued search warrants unreasonably compromises law enforcement's ability to investigate these crimes and keep children safe."
CWAG Attorney General Tim Fox of Montana announced the availability of $25,000 in Chrome for Kids Wish Fund grants.  These funds are made available through a special Chrome for Kids motorcycle license plate that is used to fund efforts by Montana-based nonprofit corporations which grant wishes to chronically or critically ill Montana children. "For the third time in six years, we are pleased to offer these funds to Montana non-profits who serve critically ill children and their families," said Attorney General Fox. "I'm proud of the work our Motor Vehicle Division does to make Chrome for Kids Wish Fund grants available, as well as of Montana's motorcycle owners, whose generosity ultimately translates into meaningful experiences for children who need them most."
CWAG Attorney General Mark Brnovich of Arizona filed a lawsuit against opioid manufacturer Insys Therapeutics Inc., which is based in Chandler. The lawsuit alleges that Insys engaged in a fraudulent marketing scheme designed to increase the sales of Subsys, a highly addictive opioid prescription drug that contains fentanyl. "We need to put a stop to the unethical and greedy behavior in the pharmaceutical industry that is fueling the opioid crisis in our state," said Attorney General Mark Brnovich. Three Arizona doctors are also named in the State's lawsuit for allegedly collecting sham educational "speaker fees" in exchange for writing prescriptions for Subsys. The complaint alleges that from March 2012 to April 2017, more than $33 million or 64 percent of Subsys sales in Arizona came from prescriptions written by the three doctors.  According to the lawsuit, Insys also violated the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act by providing insurers with false and misleading information to obtain prior authorization for Subsys prescriptions for patients. For example, Insys employees were allegedly instructed to mislead insurers into believing that patients who were prescribed Subsys had cancer when in fact they did not.
CWAG Associate Attorney General Maura Healey of Massachusetts announced that two individuals have been arrested and arraigned in connection with a joint federal and state investigation into a fentanyl and heroin trafficking network in Lawrence.  "The opioid epidemic is continuing to plague communities across our state," said Attorney General Healey. "We are committed to working with our state, federal and local partners to go after these criminal networks that bring these deadly drugs into our communities and into the hands of those battling with addiction." Authorities began investigating this criminal network that was allegedly distributing drugs in Lawrence in August 2017. During the execution of a search warrant at a stash house, authorities located a handgun, ammunition, approximately 1,500 grams of a fentanyl and heroin mixture, kilogram presses, finger presses and materials used for the sale and distribution of drugs.
CWAG Associate Attorney General Curtis Hill of Indiana announced that his staff helped return nearly $400,000 in unclaimed money at the Indiana State Fair. The Office of the Indiana Attorney General operated a booth inside the Expo Hall at the state fairgrounds for 16 days. During that time, staff members helped approximately 6,530 Hoosiers with everything from consumer protections tips, signing up for the Do Not Call list and recovering unclaimed money. A total of $398,701.58 in unclaimed money was returned to Hoosiers during the fair with several individual claims exceeding $10,000. Hoosiers who stopped by the booth at the state fair experienced the same services that are being offered when the office's Mobile Operations Center (MOC) visits cities and towns across Indiana. The MOC has allowed members of the communications staff to enhance public outreach, bringing constituent services to citizens statewide and further educating the public about the Office of the Indiana Attorney General.
Across North America, criminals are calling residential and small business utility customers threatening to disconnect their electricity, water, or gas service and demanding immediate payment from the customers through a prepaid card purchased from a local retail store.  Victims have reported paying from hundreds to thousands of dollars to these crooks who frequently target vulnerable populations, including senior citizens and non-native English speakers, and more recently small businesses at their busiest times of the workday.  These utility impostors are increasingly using more sophisticated tactics including spoofing technology to display the utility company's name on the customer's caller identification and recordings of the utility company's telephone menu messages, or interactive voice response.  In 2016, Utilities United Against Scams (UUAS) was formed, an all-utility collaborative with the mission to "combat utility scams by providing a forum for utility companies and associations to share data and best practices and to work together to implement initiatives to inform and protect customers."  In coordinating its efforts across North America, UUAS is magnifying the scale and impact of its consumer education and utility scam-awareness campaign.  
Chris Coppin | Legal Director
Conference of Western Attorneys General