On June 12, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC or Commission) published a request for public comment seeking comments and suggestions on effective coordination efforts with state attorneys general nationwide to help educate and protect consumers from potential fraud. This comes at the direction of the FTC Collaboration Act of 2021, which was signed into law last October by President Joe Biden.
The Collaboration Act directs the FTC to “conduct a study on facilitating and refining existing efforts with State Attorneys to prevent, publicize, and penalize frauds and scams being perpetrated on individuals in the United States.”
The FTC seeks comment on three topics: (1) the roles and responsibilities of the Commission and state attorneys general that best advance collaboration and consumer protection; (2) how resources should be dedicated to best advance these objectives; and (3) proposed accountability mechanisms to promote collaboration between the FTC and state attorneys general.
Specifically, the FTC is asking consumers to weigh in on a wide array of issues affecting federal and state consumer protection collaboration, including:
- Consumers’ views of the respective roles and responsibilities of the Commission and state attorneys general as they relate to consumer protection and preventing, publicizing, and penalizing frauds and scams;
- How, in practice, do the FTC and state attorneys general effectively collaborate and support each other’s consumer protection missions in several contexts;
- How the work of state and local consumer protection law enforcement agencies outside of state attorneys general facilitate and refine efforts between the Commission and state attorneys general;
- The extent to which federal law preempting state jurisdiction has affected the ability of state attorneys general to protect consumers from unlawful business practices;
- How the FTC can maximize use of, and contributions to, the Consumer Sentinel Network, through which law enforcers nationwide submit and receive consumer complaints;
- How resources should be dedicated to best advance collaboration and consumer protection missions between the FTC and state attorneys general in a variety of contexts;
- The effectiveness of the current exchange of technical or subject matter expertise between the FTC and state attorneys general when collaborating on consumer protection matters;
- Resources or new authorities and information-sharing practices that may be needed or improved to enhance law enforcement collaboration; and
- Additional performance indicators or metrics that the Commission should consider reporting, or other mechanism that should be implemented to measure the effectiveness of the FTC’s consumer protection collaboration with state attorneys general.
The public will have until August 14 to submit comments.