State Attorneys General Election Results Will Have an Impact on Business

The results of Tuesday’s midterm elections were notable for several reasons, and not just in the races at the top of the ticket — there were also significant changes in the state Attorney General ranks. Forty jurisdictions (including Guam, Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia) had Attorney General candidates on their ballots, including open races in 13 jurisdictions. It was a somewhat strong showing for Democrats, who picked up open seats in Colorado (Phil Weiser), Michigan (Dana Nessel) and Nevada (Aaron Ford). In addition, Democrat Josh Kaul defeated incumbent Republican Brad Schimel in Wisconsin. Overall, there are 14 new Attorneys General. A chart at the end of this Update lists the results of all of Attorney General elections.

How Sidley Can Help Clients With State Attorneys General

The state Attorneys General, as a group, are very active in consumer protection investigations, often working cooperatively together despite party differences. With Democrats picking up four Attorney General seats, we will likely see an increase in consumer protection investigations; in addition, states tend to pursue these investigations more fervently with a Republican administration in Washington. We expect an increase in state investigations about data security and privacy as that is a very clear bipartisan priority. We also expect more enforcement related to disclosures in online sales of consumer goods and services, telemarketing activities and financial practices. As always, advertising issues will be a state priority. Importantly, more and more states are enforcing “hidden” and new laws affecting these areas. Companies should proactively review their activities in these areas to ensure they have defensible systems and policies in place to protect against and minimize potential exposure. Sidley’s team of lawyers is uniquely suited to advise and assist clients within this complex regulatory environment. More information about Sidley’s practice is available here.