The National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) is a non-partisan organization dedicated to helping the 56 state and territory attorneys general fulfill the responsibilities of their offices and assisting in the delivery of high-quality legal services. The National Attorneys General Training & Research Institute (NAGTRI) serves as the training and research arm of NAAG. It was created in 2007 with the mission to provide high quality, non-partisan, and innovative training, research and other developmental resources to support state and territorial attorneys general offices.
In 2017, NAGTRI created the Center for Consumer Protection (CCP) as the nation’s only entity dedicated to providing training, research, expertise, and other resources to the staff working in attorneys general offices and other government attorneys and staff committed to protecting the public against consumer fraud and abuse, and the misuse of charitable resources, particularly at the state level.
The CCP mission is to assist and enable state and territory attorneys general in protecting the public in the areas of consumer protection and charitable asset and entity oversight by providing information, technical assistance, and support; facilitating cooperation among attorney general staff through open dialogue and advanced communication systems; planning, organizing, and conducting training and seminars for the exchange of ideas and information on relevant matters; and promoting the development of effective programs and education for the protection of the public.
Attorneys general are a leading consumer protection force in the country. Most have primary responsibility within their states or territories for enforcing consumer protection statutes. Consumer protection assistant attorneys general deal with issues that range from healthcare to automobiles to privacy, often working together across the states and territories to protect our citizens from unfair, misleading, and deceptive acts and practices. Collaboration among the attorneys general in 2018 and 2019 led to numerous multistate settlements based on alleged violations of state consumer protection laws, including settlements with the following entities: PHH Mortgage Corporation; TK Holdings, Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of Takata; Uber, Technologies, Inc.; Encore Capital Group, Inc. and its subsidiaries Midland Credit Management, Inc. and Midland Funding, LLC; Wells Fargo & Company, acting for Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. and their current and former parents; Career Education Corporation, American InterContinental University, Inc., and Colorado Technical University, Inc.; Neiman Marcus Group, LLC; Robert Bosch GmbH and Robert Bosch LLC; and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V., its U.S. subsidiary FCA US, LLC, its Italian affiliate V.M. Motori S.p.A. and V.M. North America, Inc.
The importance of protecting our consumers from unscrupulous practices should not be understated. Whether it is educating an elderly citizen from sending money into a sham charity or assisting a young adult in protecting their identity after personal information was compromised in a data breach, NAAG and the CCP are here to support the attorneys general in their fight for a better marketplace where consumers can expect fairness and integrity from the businesses we all rely upon and appreciate.
NAAG and the CCP assists its members by staffing the NAAG Consumer Protection Committee, Charities Committee, and Veterans Affairs Committee, whose members consist of attorneys general from across the country focusing on their respective subject areas. In addition, three annual educational conferences are hosted/co-hosted; the NAAG Consumer Protection Spring and Fall Conferences and the NAAG/National Association of State Charities Officials (NASCO) Conference. The consumer conferences address pressing and relevant issues specific to the role of attorneys general in protecting consumers and bring together attorney general staff, government consumer protection attorneys, advocacy groups, private sector attorneys, and others interested in consumer protection from across the nation. The NAAG/NASCO Conference provides an opportunity for representatives of the nonprofit sector and members of the public to meet and participate in discussions with state charities regulators and for regulators to discuss the latest topics and learn from each other.
In addition to supporting the aforementioned NAAG committees and hosting conferences, through the CCP, NAAG is enhancing the services it provides to the attorney general consumer protection and charities community. Those services include mobile, regional, and national trainings; educational webinars; publication of the Center for Consumer Protection Monthly newsletter, and assistance with research, information sharing, and communication.
The CCP staff includes Abigail Stempson, Director and former bureau chief of the Consumer Protection Division and assistant attorney general in the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office, Todd Leatherman, Program Counsel and former executive director of the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office of Consumer Protection, and Grace Garver, Program Specialist.
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