FTC Issues Report to Congress Highlighting Cooperative Enforcement Efforts

The report, directed by the FTC Collaboration Act of 2021, “Working Together to Protect Consumers: A Study and Recommendations on FTC Collaboration with the State Attorneys General” makes legislative recommendations that would enhance these efforts, including reinstating the FTC’s authority to seek money for defrauded consumers and providing it with the independent authority to seek civil penalties.

“Today’s consumer protection challenges require an all-hands-on-deck response, and our report details how the FTC is working closely with state enforcers to share information, stop fraud, and ensure fairness in the marketplace,” said FTC attorney Samuel Levine, Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection. “We look forward to seeking new opportunities to strengthen these ties and confront the challenges of the future.”

In June 2023, the FTC announced a request for public information seeking public comments and suggestions on ways it can work more effectively with state attorneys general to help educated and protect consumers about and from deception and fraud. After reviewing and analyzing the comments received, the FTC developed the report to Congress.

The report is divided into three sections: (i) the FTC’s Existing Collaborative Efforts with State Attorneys General to Prevent, Publicize and Penalize Frauds and Scams; (ii) Recommended Best Practices to Enhance Collaboration; and (iii) Legislative Recommendations to Enhance Collaboration Efforts.

The first section sets forth the roles and responsibilities of the FTC and state AGs in protecting consumers from frauds and scams, provides an overview of their respective law enforcement authority, and discusses how federal and state enforcers share their information and expertise to facilitate effective communication and cooperation.  It also provides a breakdown of the FTC’s structure and a description of the Consumer Sentinel consumer complaint database, the largest such information-sharing network in the United States.

The second section details best practices used to enhance strong information-sharing between the FTC and its state law enforcement partners, discusses how the FTC  coordinates joint and parallel enforcement actions with state AGs and other state consumer protection agencies, and presents ideas on expanding the sharing of expertise and technical resources between agencies.

Finally, the third section stresses the legislative need to restore the FTC’s Section 13(b) authority to seek equitable monetary refunds for injured consumers, presents ways to enhance collaboration and conserve resources by providing the Commission with the independent authority to seek civil penalties, and describes the FTC’s need for clear authority to pursue legal actions against those who assist and facilitate unfair or deceptive acts or practices.

The Commission vote approving the report to Congress was 3-0-2, with Commissioners Melissa Holyoak and Andrew N. Ferguson not participating. Chair Lina M. Khan issued a separate statement, in which she was joined by Commissioners Rebecca Kelly Slaughter and Alvaro M. Bedoya. Commissioner Slaughter also issued a separate statement.


Takeaway:  Study highlights current cooperative law enforcement efforts, best practices to ensure continued collaboration, and legislative recommendations to enhance such efforts.  Consult with an experienced state attorney general defense lawyer if you are interested in learning more about the impact of the study.


Richard B. Newman is an FTC CID attorney at Hinch Newman LLP.  Follow FTC defense lawyer on X.  And, follow FTC defense lawyer on National Law Review.   


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Richard Newman

Richard B. Newman is a nationally recognized FTC advertising compliance, CID investigation and regulatory enforcemetn attorney. He regularly provides advertising counsel and represents clients in high-profile investigations and enforcement proceedings initiated by the Federal Trade Commission, state attorneys general, departments of consumer affairs, and other federal and state agencies with jurisdiction over advertising and marketing practices. Richard is also an ecommerce lawyer and spam defense attorney. His practice additionally focuses upon false advertising defense, data privacy, cybersquatting, intellectual property law and transactional matters relating to the dissemination of national advertising campaigns, including the gamut of affiliate marketing, telemarketing, lead generation, list management and licensing agreements. Richard advises clients on how to minimize the legal risks associated with digital marketing, email marketing, telemarketing, social media influencer campaigns, endorsements and testimonials, negative option marketing models, native advertising, online promotions and comparative advertising,





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