National Association of Attorneys General

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Attorneys General Discuss the Economic Impact of Enforcement In Evolving Marketplaces

The NAAG Midwestern Region held its biannual meeting April 23-24 in Chicago. Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller, Midwestern Region chair, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, Midwestern Region vice chair, and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, the host Attorney General, brought together over 65 participants representing Attorneys General offices, various state agencies, corporate executives, subject matter experts, and the public to discuss the economic factors of the marketplace and how legislation and regulation impacts those factors.

The meeting began with an excellent two-part discussion of the financial crises and both Congress’ and the Obama administration’s response focusing on the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The first part of the discussion was a panel moderated by Professor Kenneth Ayotte, Northwestern University School of Law. The speakers were David Skeel, University of Pennsylvania School of Law, Robert McDonald, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, and Thomas Brennan, Northwestern University School of Law. Their discussion focused on the evolving nature of economic regulation and authority of both federal and state regulators. The panel was then joined by Brian Melzer of Northwestern University who led the second discussion about the potential impact of Dodd-Frank on various marketplaces. The luncheon speaker was Daniel Rodriguez, Northwestern University School of Law dean.

The afternoon panels began with a focus on invasive species and the evolving law of public nuisance. The first panel was moderated by David Dana, Northwestern University School of Law. Panelists were Assistant Attorney General Robert Reichel, Michigan Attorney General’s Office, Thomas Cmar, Natural Resources Defense Council, and John Nagle, University of Notre Dame Law School. The discussion focused on the growing problem of invasive species and the economic impact upon the Great Lakes Region and beyond. The second afternoon panel turned its attention to antitrust and the digital marketplace and the impact of antitrust analysis. The panel was moderated by James Speta, Northwestern University School of Law, and included John McGinnis, Northwestern University, Randy Picker, University of Chicago, and Spencer Waller, Loyola University. This was an ambitious panel as their intent was to explain to a room full of attorneys how to understand and interpret statistical data when making regulatory decisions. They successfully laid the foundation for the next morning’s discussion.

The final day of the meeting saw two very informative and thought-provoking panel presentations. The first panel was moderated by Attorney General Zoeller, with Tom Bodin, chief economist for the Indiana Attorney General’s Office, and Scott Hempill, Antitrust Bureau chief for the New York Attorney General’s Office as speakers. Building upon the previous day’s panel discussion about statistical analysis, this panel focused on putting the numbers to work in areas including proposed legislation, regulations, and litigation. The final meeting panel was moderated by Attorney General Pruitt and the speakers were Luke Froeb, Vanderbilt University, and Jonathan Arnold, chief economist-designate, Antitrust Bureau of the New York Attorney General’s Office. This panel brought together much of the previous discussions by focusing on the evidentiary value of economic analysis in making regulatory, investigative, and litigation decisions.

Perhaps the most important message of the meeting, which was often repeated, was how the careful consideration of economic factors can enhance the effectiveness of both legislative and regulatory efforts in protecting consumers.

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