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Attorney General Bonta Submits Comment Letter to FTC on Importance of Federal-State Partnerships in Protecting Consumers from Fraud

OAKLAND – Attorney General Rob Bonta today announced joining a bipartisan coalition of 30 attorneys general in submitting a comment letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) emphasizing the importance of federal-state partnerships in protecting consumers from fraud. On October 10, 2022, President Biden signed into law the FTC Collaboration Act of 2021, which directed the Commission 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 to provide the opportunity for public comment. On June 7, 2023, the FTC published a request for public information; the comment letter responds to that request.

“Since taking office, protecting consumers from fraud has been one of my top priorities. While the California Department of Justice has many tools at its disposal to hold unscrupulous actors accountable, we have long benefited from collaborating with the FTC and vice versa,” said Attorney General Bonta. “I join my fellow attorneys general in highlighting the importance of this federal-state partnership. Consumers and the marketplace have been better off because of it.”

In the comment letter, the attorneys general:

  • Note that the states, the FTC, and other federal partners have worked in concert for decades to benefit businesses and individual consumers.
  • Explain that the states benefit significantly from the FTC’s expertise, resources, as well as its national reach, which facilitates cross-border enforcement. For example, in United States of America and the States of California, Illinois, North Carolina, and Ohio v. Dish Network, L.L.C., the attorneys general from California, Illinois, North Carolina, and Ohio combined resources and utilized an FTC expert witness to analyze millions of call detail records which was critical to successfully proving the government’s case. The court found that Dish had violated federal and state telemarketing and related laws and awarded the plaintiffs $280 million.
  • Explain that federal-state collaboration has similarly allowed the FTC to take advantage of the broader array of remedies available under state consumer protection laws and that it has given the FTC access to state investigative resources, witnesses, and expertise. For example, on August 30, 2022, Attorney General Bonta, along with the FTC and five other state attorneys general, announced a lawsuit against Roomster, a roommate- and room-finding app, for violations of state and federal consumer protection laws.
  • Detail how the U.S. Supreme Court’s AMG Capital Management, LLC v. Federal Trade Commission decision negatively impacts effective collaboration between the states and the FTC. The decision held that Section 13(b) of the FTC Act did not provide the Commission with the authority to obtain consumer restitution in certain cases.

In submitting the comment letter, Attorney General Bonta joins the attorneys general of Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, and American Samoa and the District of Columbia. 

A copy of the comment letter can be found here.