Where do state attorneys general and their staff gather to collaborate, set priorities, and engage the business community? Often, this takes place within the auspices of the National Association of Attorneys General (“NAAG” or the Association”) and the Attorney General Alliance (“AGA” or the Alliance”).

Capping a year of conversations with state AGs, we convened two of the most important voices in the state AG world: Brian Kane and Karen White. Kane and White are, respectively, the executive directors of NAAG and AGA. They sat down with Paul Singer, Beth Chun, and Abby Stempson to discuss how their organizations will help shape consumer protection priorities in the year ahead. Here’s what we learned:

Background on the NAAG

NAAG was founded in 1907 (largely to take on Standard Oil) and has operated as a nonpartisan community for state AGs since. Its president now rotates between political parties each year, with Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum of Oregon serving the role of the 2024 NAAG President.

The Association fosters collaboration and information sharing across state AG offices and provides a swath of professional development opportunities to staff. It also serves as a library of legal expertise on a range of issues, convening state AGs to serve on dedicated subject matter committees. Importantly, the Association supports attorneys general in their role as the top legal officers in their jurisdictions, including through a dedicated Supreme Court Project developed in response to the growing state AG presence at the nation’s highest court.

Background on the AGA

The Alliance formed in 1982 as the Conference of Western Attorneys General. The group was originally dedicated to Western states and specifically Western issues, including Native American, natural resource, public lands, minerals, and energy law. As these issues became increasingly national, membership expanded. The Alliance now includes 18 voting members and 51 active jurisdictions.

Similarly dedicated to convening state AGs and developing relevant legal knowledge, the Alliance has key programs on a range of issues including organized retail crime, data privacy/cyber/artificial intelligence, cannabis, human trafficking, and gaming. The Alliance reaches beyond U.S. borders with programs in Mexico, Africa, and other jurisdictions intended to build connections between state AGs and their international counterparts and train foreign officials on issues of common concern.

NAAG and AGA: Working Together and with the Business Community

First, the Association and Alliance create opportunities for the business community to engage state AGs in a collaborative forum before any enforcement action emerges. These relationships are critical to navigating potential legal challenges. NAAG and AGA host several national meetings and issue-specific events that convene the AG community and external stakeholders. The business community can also glean information on AG enforcement priorities and developments through NAAG and AGA publications and newsletters.

NAAG and AGA often collaborate and, later this year, will publish a comprehensive Attorney General’s Law Library that will be available to the public. They will also be hosting a joint meeting addressing Artificial Intelligence and Child Exploitation in April this year.

What to Expect From State AGs in 2024

In the coming year, there will be AG elections in 10 states: Indiana, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia. Given the number of open seats, this could mean considerable turnover in the AG space.

Both White and Kane anticipate artificial intelligence, antitrust, and consumer protection will take center stage in AG enforcement in the year ahead. And with opioid litigation behind many states, they anticipate an uptick in focus on fentanyl and other drug-related issues.

Key Takeaways

The full webinar is available to watch here. In short:

  • Working together, NAAG and AGA create critical opportunities for the business community to engage state AGs in neutral, non-confrontational forums
  • NAAG and AGA build content expertise on issues related to state AG enforcement that benefits both state offices and the greater legal community
  • Despite public attention on partisan AG issues, Democratic and Republican-led offices frequently collaborate on matters of shared interest including consumer protection

We’re gearing up for the inaugural episode of our 2024 State Attorneys General Webinar Series featuring New York Attorney General Letitia Tish” James. To register for that webinar click here. To catch up and read the coverage of all our previous state AG webinars, click here.