FTC Issues Report on Collaboration with State Attorneys General

Editor's Note: This article, authored by John L. Culhane Jr. of Ballard Spahr, previously appeared on Ballard Spahr’s Consumer Finance Monitor and is re-published here with permission.
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The FTC recently issued a report to Congress on its collaboration with state attorneys general. Titled “Working Together to Protect Consumers: A Study and Recommendations on FTC Collaboration with the State Attorneys General,” the report was issued pursuant to the FTC Collaboration Act of 2021. The Collaboration Act required the FTC to conduct a study “on facilitating and refining existing efforts with State Attorneys General to prevent, publicize, and penalize frauds and scams being perpetrated on individuals in the United States” and directed the FTC to report the results of the study to Congress together with recommendations for enhancing collaboration between the FTC and state AGs.

Part I of the report discusses the FTC’s existing efforts to collaborate with state AGs and highlights examples of recent enforcement actions involving FTC and state AG collaboration. Appendix A to the report contains a chart that provides information on enforcement actions the FTC filed or resolved jointly or in parallel with state AGs and consumer protection agencies with statewide enforcement authority between January 1, 2020 and March 26, 2024. The information provided in the chart includes who the FTC’s state partners were in the enforcement action and the subject matter of the enforcement action. Part I of the report also discusses (1) how the FTC shares information in its Consumer Sentinel Network, the FTC database of consumer complaints involving alleged fraud, deception, and other unlawful business practices, (2) various other ways in which the FTC and state AGs share information and expertise in the context of enforcement investigations and trainings, and (3) the role of various specialized units within the FTC in advancing and facilitating the FTC’s work with state AGs.

Part II of the report discusses recommended best practices to improve collaboration between the FTC and state AGs. The FTC observes that the importance of collaboration in enforcement actions with state AGs and other state and local law enforcers has grown since the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2021 decision in AMG Capital Management LLC v. FTC. In that case, the Supreme Court ruled that Section 13(b) of the FTC Act does not authorize the FTC to seek, and a court to award, monetary relief such as restitution or disgorgement. The FTC’s recommended best practices include:

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