Each week, Crowell & Moring’s State Attorneys General team highlights significant actions that State AGs have taken. Here are this week’s updates.
Vermont Attorney General Donovan Announces He Will Not Run For Reelection
Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan announced that he will not run for reelection in 2022 after nearly two decades in public service, six of which he spent as the Vermont Attorney General. Attorney General Donovan is known for starting the Rapid Intervention Community Court in Chittenden County, a criminal justice program made available to non-violent offenders whose crimes have been driven by addiction or mental illness. He also worked to improve the communication among law enforcement and the mental health community by advocating passage of “ban the box” legislation to prevent employers from inquiring about criminal history on initial job applications. During his time as Attorney General, he was involved in many timely issues, including the amicus brief to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals opposing former President Trump’s executive order banning immigrants from certain Muslim countries. Charity Clark, the Attorney General’s former chief of staff, and Brooks McArthur, a deputy prosecutor when Donovan ran the Chittenden County office, have expressed interest in running for the position.
Texas, Missouri, and Montana Join Alabama in Withdrawing from NAAG
The Attorneys General Texas, Missouri, and Montana have withdrawn from the National Association of Attorneys General (“NAAG”). The states join Alabama which withdrew in 2021.
- Intuit Inc., the owner of TurboTax, has settled with all 50 states’ Attorneys General for a total of $141 million to resolve claims that the online tax preparer deceived low-income Americans into paying for services that should have been free. Pursuant to the settlement, Intuit will also suspend TurboTax’s “free, free, free” advertising campaign, which allegedly lured customers with promises of cost-free tax preparation but directed them to options that required payment.
- A bipartisan coalition of 25 Attorneys General, led by Attorney General Kwame Raoul, urged the Federal Trade Commission to consider the actions states have taken to address misrepresentations made by for-profit colleges and universities during its rulemaking process related to schools’ deceptive earnings claims. In March, the FTC issued a request for comments regarding deceptive or unfair earnings claims made by a broad range of businesses, including for-profit schools. The coalition are calling on the FTC to take into account misrepresentations schools have made with respect to their graduates’ earnings as the agency considers proposing rules governing the broad use of such earnings claims.
- Financial and securities regulators in Alabama, Kentucky, New Jersey, Texas, and Wisconsin have brought actions against a Russian website operator that requires it to stop offering securitized non-fungible tokens (Securitized NFTs) in violation of the states’ laws. The subject of the action, Flamingo Casino Club, allegedly offers fraudulent Securitized NFTs that purportedly convey ownership and the right to share in the profits of a “metaverse” casino.
- Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced a lawsuit against drug manufacturers and Pharmacy Benefit Managers for allegedly manipulating and inflating insulin and drug prices in the state. The complaint seeks an injunction, restitution, and civil penalties, among other remedies.
- Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody announced a settlement with Walgreens for $683 million, resolving allegations that the pharmacy chain exacerbated the opioid epidemic in the state.
- Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden announced a settlement with Navient, one of the nation’s largest student loan servicers, which will provide $3,972,316 in student loan debt relief. The settlement resolves allegations that Navient steered borrowers struggling to make payments on their loans towards high interest forbearances that added significant additional long-term debt.
- Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey announced a settlement with Integrity Home Care Solutions, LLC, a home health agency, and its owners, President and CEO for $550,000, resolving allegations that the defendants billed the state’s Medicaid program, MassHealth, for services that had not been appropriately authorized by a physician.