CWAG Roundup

November 5, 2015


CWAG's "Dinner with the Attorneys General," is set for Tuesday, December 1, 2015, at The Mills House in Charleston, South Carolina.  We invite your participation in this Endowment Dinner benefiting the programs and goals of CWAG.  Attached please find the sponsorship and registration information. This engaging dinner includes participation by approximately 25-30 Attorneys General and their top staff from across the country. We hope your schedule will allow you to attend this year's event and participate in this premier opportunity for exchanging views and forging relationships.  Since seating is limited we ask that you register no later than Monday, November 16 by completing and submitting the attached registration form.  Please note that the cutoff date for our room block is Tuesday, November 10 so we encourage you to contact the Mills House reservations number at 800.874.9600 as soon as possible to secure your room.  Please contact CWAG Meeting Manager, Janine Knudsen, at 916.704.1057 or [email protected] with any questions or to confirm your participation.  
CWAG Alliance Partnership Binational State Attorney General Exchange July 16-17, 2016
CWAG Annual Meeting July 17-20, 2016
Sun Valley Resort
Sun Valley, Idaho
The Conference of Western Attorneys General (CWAG) Alliance Partnership, CWAG Chair and Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum along with Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden cordially invite you to attend the 2016 CWAG Alliance Partnership Binational State Attorneys General Exchange and CWAG Annual Meeting.  
The Binational State Attorneys General Exchange will be held from July 16 to July 17 at the Sun Valley Resort in Sun Valley, Idaho, immediately followed by the CWAG Annual Meeting which runs from July 17-20, 2016.  
CWAG anticipates the attendance of Mexico's Federal Attorney General Arely Gomez Gonzalez, as well as approximately 20 state Attorneys General from Mexico and the United States to be in attendance at the Binational Exchange, in addition to other federal and private partners.  We expect approximately 22-25 state Attorneys General along with their top staff along with other government and private sector partners in attendance at the CWAG Annual Meeting.
We also want to advise you that dates have been announced for the RNC and DNC which are in conflict with the CWAG Annual Meeting.  Due to meeting planning beginning years in advance, CWAG will keep our meeting dates and hope you are able to join us.
Please direct any questions regarding the Binational Exchange to Lauren Niehaus [email protected] or the CWAG Annual Meeting to Janine Knudsen [email protected]
Former Wisconsin Deputy Attorney General Kevin St. John announced that he is joining Bell Giftos as its newest partner. Named a Leader in the Law by Wisconsin Law Journal, Kevin is a seasoned litigator and a proven problem-solver. His depth of experience will prove invaluable to managing client challenges, resolving client disputes, and winning client cases. As Deputy Attorney General, Kevin was responsible for the executive oversight and management of approximately 100 lawyers. Kevin's practice will primarily focus on litigation and appellate advocacy. In addition, Kevin will provide strategic counsel for entities intersecting with state and federal government agencies and general counsel services for trade associations and small businesses.   
CWAG Attorney General Mark Brnovich of Arizona sent a check to CWAG Attorney General Edward Manibusan of the Northern Mariana Islands to forward to Karidat Social Services to help in the recovery efforts after Typhoon Soudelor. In a letter to General Manibusan, General Brnovich said: "As attorneys general we must work together as often as possible to not only achieve justice, but also to provide assistance to our friends in need. The recent typhoon [on] Saipan was a tragedy and the good people of the Arizona Attorney General's Office were eager to provide assistance to help out friends in the Northern Mariana Islands. I look forward to a lasting relationship with Attorney General Manibusan and wish the good people of Saipan and the surrounding area the best of luck as they work to rebuild their lives and their communities."
Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper said he will seek the state Supreme Court's opinion on the legality of CWAG Attorney General Cynthia Coffman's lawsuit to stop implementation of the Clean Power Plan. Coffman has repeatedly said the lawsuit will not work against the governor's ability to meet the power plan's requirements. "I am disappointed to learn (Hickenlooper) is taking this course," General Coffman said in a statement. "This is not in the best interest of Colorado or Coloradans, who elected each of us to serve different roles within our system of checks and balances." General Coffman said the governor is departing from past examples during his tenure of dealings with the attorney general's office: "The governor's action is an expression of his frustration with the legal challenges I have filed against the federal government. I am pursuing those challenges because it is my responsibility as the independently elected attorney general to serve as a check against the abusive, unlawful exercise of federal power over the lives of Colorado's citizens."
CWAG Associate Attorney General Ken Paxton of Texas praised the work of law enforcement officers who participated in a joint operation to fight human trafficking during the 2015 Formula One racing event in Austin. State officers with the Attorney General's Office Human Trafficking Unit joined the Austin Police Human Trafficking Unit, and their Region 2 and Region 4 Metro Tactical Teams in an undercover operation running from Oct. 20 to 24, resulting in the arrest of 35 people. "These arrests reflect a coordinated state and local law enforcement effort to crack down on human trafficking during big scale events like F1," said General Paxton. "The Office of the Attorney General's Human Trafficking Unit routinely participates in operations with other law enforcement agencies in an effort to identify possible victims of human trafficking, many times underage victims who fall pray of traffickers and are forced into prostitution."
CWAG Associate Attorney General Pam Bondi of Florida and other state officials hosted the 2015 Statewide Human Trafficking Summit. The two-day summit at the University of South Florida's Marshall Center is focused on preventing the human trafficking of children and adults in Florida. "It is great to see Floridians coming together to help make Florida a zero-tolerance state for human trafficking," said General Bondi. "We are in this fight together, and this summit is serving as a training ground for so many people dedicated to eradicating this horrific crime and protecting human trafficking victims." More than 700 individuals representing law enforcement, the legal community, state government, community groups, service providers and educators are attending the event. The information-filled summit is offering participants profession-specific breakout sessions and cutting-edge training opportunities.
They may come from different perspectives, political parties and even eras, but Washington's four living former attorneys general have come together to send a message to the state's Supreme Court. The ruling in question is a majority opinion of the Washington Supreme Court that states charter schools cannot receive funding. It was news that disrupted the educational planes of nearly 1,300 students across the state at the start of the school year, according to former CWAG Attorney General Rob McKenna. McKenna, along with Slade Gorton, Kenneth Eikenberry, Christine Gregoire - all who served as the state's attorney general - have authored a brief in support of the Supreme Court reconsidering its stance on charter school funding.  "As far as I know it's unprecedented for all of the former [attorneys general] to ban together and file a brief like this," McKenna said. "Reconsidering a ruling is not all that common - it's actually pretty rare. The court does it once in a while and we hope this is one of those cases."
CWAG Associate Attorney General Leslie Rutledge of Arkansas and other state officials hosted the fourth annual Arkansas Prescription Drug Abuse Summit at the Hot Springs Convention Center. The Summit serves as a free training and educational opportunity for law enforcement officers, medical professionals, pharmacists and educators, and gives an opportunity to hear from experts regarding prescription drug abuse prevention and treatment. "Nearly 44,000 people die from drug overdoses each year, with more than half of those because of abuse of prescription drugs," said General Rutledge. "Unfortunately, Arkansas has one of the highest rates of prescription drug abusers. This is a major problem that cannot be addressed unless we all work together, which is why I am proud to help host this important Summit today and welcome my friend and colleague from Indiana, Attorney General Greg Zoeller, to share his insight on this topic."
CWAG Attorney General Hector Balderas of New Mexico met with tribal leaders from across the State, including Acoma, Fort Sill Apache, Jemez, Jicarilla Apache, Laguna, Ohkay Owingeh, San Felipe, San Ildefonso, Santa Clara, Taos, Tesuque and Zia to discuss law enforcement in Indian country. General Balderas stated, "I was honored to host Governors, Lt. Governors, Councilmembers and other officials from 12 tribal governments from across New Mexico today. This meeting was critical to expanding our law enforcement partnerships, such as the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, and to increasing awareness regarding the challenges facing tribal law enforcement. Strengthening our relationships with tribal governments and confronting our legal challenges together is key to keeping all New Mexico children and families safe. The Office of the Attorney General looks forward to working together with tribal law enforcement to improve public safety across our state."
CWAG Attorney General Mark Brnovich of Arizona announced his office shut down a fake veteran's charity that used aggressive telemarketing calls to scam seniors across the nation out of thousands of dollars.  A Stipulated Consent Judgment dissolves three Phoenix telemarketing companies owned by Robert Foster - Happy Hands, LLC, Standing Tree, LLC, and Action Point, LLC (collectively "Defendants"). The Defendants used a telemarketing scheme to target vulnerable seniors suffering from Alzheimer's disease and other memory-related disorders. The seniors were convinced to purchase household products for an 1,800% markup, claiming the surplus money paid would help disabled or disadvantaged veterans.  None of the proceeds were used for charitable purposes. "I was outraged after listening to some of the recorded telemarketing calls," said General Brnovich. "Some of these vulnerable seniors were charged outrageous amounts for common household products. On top of that, these scammers preyed upon people's kindness by falsely claiming the proceeds were going to help veterans."
The Mexican Supreme Court opened the door to legalizing marijuana, delivering a pointed challenge to the nation's strict substance abuse laws and adding its weight to the growing debate in Latin America over the costs and consequences of the war against drugs. The vote by the court's criminal chamber declared that individuals should have the right to grow and distribute marijuana for their personal use. While the ruling does not strike down current drug laws, it lays the groundwork for a wave of legal actions that could ultimately rewrite them, proponents of legalization say. The decision reflects a changing dynamic in Mexico, where for decades the American-backed war on drugs has produced much upheaval but few lasting victories. Today, the flow of drugs to the United States continues, along with the traffickers, remains engulfed in violence.

Chris Coppin

Legal Director

Conference of Western Attorneys General

111 Lomas, NW   Suite 300

Albuquerque, New Mexico 87102


505-660-5901 (cell)

505-222-9183 (fax)

[email protected]