Announcements, information and updates from CWAG Members and Associates
The CWAG 2017 Winter Dinner is scheduled for Tuesday, November 28th, 2017  in Jekyll Island, Georgia at the Jekyll Island Club Resort. If you have not  received an email link inviting you to register via our new meeting portal, please click here to begin the registration process.
CWAG Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt of Nevada launched a coalition of attorneys general offices to assist the Las Vegas shooting victims. Attorney General Laxalt issued the following statement: "After reaching out to my fellow attorneys general, I was overwhelmed by the support and immediate offers of assistance to our State. We have launched a coalition of attorneys general offices from around the country to help victims of Sunday's tragedy. Earlier this week, members of the Florida Attorney General's Office, including Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi herself, traveled to Las Vegas, and victim advocates from Colorado and Arizona will also be joining our effort today. I appreciate them coming to Nevada and am grateful for their time and insight. I am deeply moved knowing that in times like this, the entire country stands with the city of Las Vegas and the State of Nevada. My heart breaks for those who lost family and friends on Sunday night. The sickening actions of a mad man have changed our city and State forever-but we are stronger than the evil he embodied. Today, we stand together as Nevadans and continue to keep the victims and their families in our prayers." Other states who have also volunteered their time and resources include: Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin.
CWAG Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt of Nevada warned Nevadans of scammers forming sham charities and seeking donations in the wake of Sunday's horrific attack. As a result of the outpouring of monetary support, Attorney General Laxalt and GoFundMe are working to ensure donations meant to help victims of the shooting are actually going to those who need it and not to scammers. "I warn individuals attempting to donate in the wake of Sunday's tragedy that there are many illegitimate GoFundMe accounts and sham charities unimaginably trying to profit from this horrific tragedy," said Attorney General Laxalt. Many are aware of the highly successful GoFundMe account by Sheriff Lombardo and Commissioner Sisolak, among others that are legitimate and valid. I urge Nevadans to visit to ensure each and every donation benefits our survivors and families of innocent victims. My office is working with the crowdsourcing platform to ensure donors' generosity and good will are not capitalized upon by scammers."

CWAG Associate Attorney General Maura Healey of Massachusetts announced an opioid manufacturer will pay $500,000 to resolve allegations that it engaged in a widespread scheme to unlawfully market its fentanyl spray and paid kickbacks to providers to persuade them to prescribe the product. The consent judgment resolves allegations that Insys Therapeutics, Inc. misleadingly marketed Subsys, a narcotic fentanyl product that is sprayed under a patient's tongue. Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, is estimated to be 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine and 30 to 50 times more powerful than heroin. "Fentanyl is a powerful and highly addictive drug with deadly consequences, yet this opioid maker aggressively marketed its product and made illegal payments to providers to boost sales," said Attorney General Healey. "Drug companies cannot endanger the health and safety of patients to increase their own profits."
CWAG Associate Attorney General Brad Schimel of Wisconsin held the first meeting of the Attorney General's Task Force on Elder Abuse and is offering a Dose of Reality to seniors and their caregivers on the dangers of misusing opioid and narcotic pain medications. "Here's a dose of reality: just last year, more than 4,000 Wisconsin residents aged 55 or older were hospitalized for opioid dependence or prescription opioid poisoning," said Attorney General Schimel. "As this task force works together to protect Wisconsin's growing senior population from abuse and exploitation, we are already deploying important messages to seniors and caregivers about how to protect themselves from accidental overdose and becoming targets of those struggling with addiction."

CWAG Attorney General Sean Reyes of Utah released a letter he signed with 43 other attorneys general expressing concerns and requesting compliance from Equifax that will provide greater transparency and protect consumers. The letter notes that, at the request of the attorneys general, Equifax made its offer of free credit monitoring services more prominent so that it can more easily be found by consumers. Attorney General Reyes issued the following statement, in conjunction with the release of the letter: "This may be the largest and most damaging breach in our nation's history; one that has affected 143 million U.S residents. Utah residents need all the information and tools available to help them mitigate the damage. To do this, Equifax must be transparent and accountable. At this point in the crisis, they need to offer clear and concise steps so consumers can protect their information. We believe Equifax should not be profiting from their breach by continuing to offer a fee-based credit monitoring product, neither should they be charging consumers to freeze their credit. I stand with an overwhelming majority of our sister states in calling for greater responsiveness and transparency from Equifax. Consumers need a clear path to protect data that may have been compromised by the breach. Cyber security, identity protection and data protection have been and will remain top priorities for the Utah Attorney General's Office."
CWAG Attorney General Xavier Becerra of California urged the nation's credit reporting agencies to provide free credit freezes for all consumers. Credit freezes allow consumers to protect their personal information from fraud and identity theft. While Equifax has waived its fee, TransUnion and Experian have not. "It's time the credit reporting agencies put people over profits," said Attorney General Becerra. "The Equifax data breach left millions of Californians' personal information vulnerable. The credit reporting agencies are supposed to protect consumers, banks, and lenders alike from identity theft and fraudulent activity. Experian and TransUnion should waive their fees for security freezes to ensure that credit reports and the information contained therein remain accurate and secure." The Equifax data breach impacted 145.5 million Americans and more than 15 million Californians Equifax is one of the nation's three major credit reporting agencies. According to Equifax, the breach lasted from mid-May through July, and compromised names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver's license numbers.

CWAG Attorney General Elizabeth Barrett Anderson of Guam announced that the federal government is suing the Chamorro Land Trust Commission, accusing the agency of discriminating against non-Chamorros because their land program only allows for native inhabitants to receive land from GovGuam. The U.S. Government is calling GovGuam and the Chamorro Land Trust Commission's actions "intentional, willful and taken in disregard for the rights of others." Specifically, they are referring to the Chamorro Land Trust Act which was created to administer the return of unused and unreserved land back to Chamorros. GovGuam has in its inventory about 20,000 acres of land which makes up about 15 percent of the island's total land mass. Eligible applicants are granted 99-year residential leases for one-acre tracts at a cost of just $1 a year. "I'm going to defend this law which has been held valid under Guam law and to make the record in the District Court against the federal government's arguments and take that record if we are not successful there and take it up to the Ninth Circuit and make that record in the Ninth Circuit. And if we are not successful in the 9th circuit and take that record on to the Supreme Court of the United States," said the Attorney General Barrett Anderson.

CWAG Associate Attorney General Ken Paxton of Texas announced a permanent injunction and agreed final judgment of $40,000 against Dallas convenience store Hi Flamez and its owner, Mohamed Bakr, to stop the sale of dangerous synthetic cannabinoids. Hi Flamez was accused in January of violating the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act by selling synthetic pot to customers without informing them that the substances are both illegal and potentially hazardous to their health. "My office will not stand by as the health and safety of Texans is endangered by drug peddlers looking for a quick buck," Attorney General Paxton said. "The sale of dangerous, deadly drugs must be put to a stop. Businesses that sell synthetic drugs will not escape punishment."

CWAG Associate Attorney General Steve Marshall of Alabama announced the filing of multiple lawsuits against casinos in five counties that continue to operate illegal slot machines, as so-called "electronic bingo," in defiance of state law.  The lawsuits call upon local circuit courts to prohibit the defendants from promoting, operating and transporting so-called "electronic bingo" machines and slot machines in those counties. The State also filed motions requesting that the circuit courts grant preliminary injunctions to cease unlawful gambling operations in these counties while the lawsuits are pending. "It is the responsibility of the Attorney General to ensure that Alabama's laws are enforced, including those laws that prohibit illegal gambling," said Attorney General Marshall. "Through multiple rulings in recent years, the Alabama Supreme Court has made it abundantly clear that electronic bingo and the use of slot machines are illegal in all Alabama counties.  Therefore, we have taken action to hold accountable those who defy the laws of our state.  These lawsuits represent a comprehensive legal approach developed by the Attorney General, with the assistance of the Office's career experts, to finally put a stop to illegal gambling."

Chris Coppin | Legal Director
Conference of Western Attorneys General