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NAAG Spring Meeting: Opportunities and Challenges in State-Federal Relationships Discussed

NAAG held its annual Spring Meeting March 5-7 in Washington, D.C. NAAG President and Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna, and the host, District of Columbia Attorney General Irvin Nathan, kicked-off the meeting to a crowd of 49 Attorneys General, over 300 registered guests, and live C-Span coverage.

The initial plenary session began with an Attorney General Roundtable discussion led by Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley and Hawaii Attorney General David Louie covering topics such as synthetic drugs, social media, veterans issues, and handling media intensive cases. It was followed by a panel moderated by Attorney General McKenna which addressed copyright infringement at university campuses. The panel presentation was introduced by former U.S. Sen. Christopher Dodd, chair and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America. Officials from three different universities shared the approach each of their schools takes on the subject. Following the plenary session, the Society of Attorneys General Emeritus (SAGE) Co-Chairs and former Attorneys General Mike Cody of Tennessee and Stephen Merrill of New Hampshire convened a SAGE business meeting during which elections were held, and both Cody and Merrill were elected to new terms of office. This was followed by the very popular and traditional SAGE reception.

The second day began with a breakfast hosted by the NAAG Antitrust Committee Co-Chairs, Attorneys General George Jepsen of Connecticut, Irvin Nathan, and Chris Koster of Missouri. Jon Leibowitz, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) chair, Julie Brill, FTC commissioner, and Sharis Pozen, acting assistant attorney general for Antitrust, U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), were the featured breakfast speakers. The morning plenary session included presentations by Commissioner Brill, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray, and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. The ever popular Supreme Court luncheon featured NAAG’s own Dan Schweitzer moderating a spirited discussion between Theodore Olson and Walter Dellinger on the current Supreme Court term. The afternoon proceedings featured a presentation from the National Computer Forensics Institute which was introduced by Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange. The rest of the afternoon was devoted to NAAG’s Business Session which included the consideration of two resolutions (Human Trafficking and “Prosecutorial Misconduct”), a report by Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller and Joseph Smith, independent monitor, on the recently completed national mortgage settlement, and a Tobacco Update from NAAG Tobacco Co-Chairs Attorneys General Dustin McDaniel of Arkansas and Mark Shurtleff of Utah. The highlight social event was the traditional Supreme Court Reception held Tuesday evening at the U.S. Supreme Court. Justice Elena Kagan hosted the Attorneys General and their chief deputies or chiefs of staff in the courtroom for an informal discussion.

The final day began early with two breakfast meetings – The first was hosted by Attorneys General Jim Hood of Mississippi and John Kroger of Oregon, NAAG Technology Issues Committee co-chairs, and featured a discussion with Chris Sonderby, associate general counsel of Facebook. At the same time, Chief Deputy Brian Moran, Washington Attorney General’s Office, hosted a breakfast meeting for the chief deputies and chiefs of staff. The morning plenary session featured a panel on the use of social media technology in Attorneys General offices with Idaho Assistant Chief Deputy Brian Kane and New Mexico Chief Deputy Al Lama sharing some very practical advice.

U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan, one of the key federal leaders in negotiating the Feb. 9 national mortgage settlement, arrived to discuss this collaboration with the Attorneys General and the next steps.

The Spring Meeting concluded with a presentation by Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer, Criminal Division, DOJ, and Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement John Morton, on “Operation In Our Sites,” an effort to combat the sale of counterfeit and pirated goods on the internet.

Video of the open sessions and speaker Power Points from the meeting can be viewed here: http://www.naag.org/naag-2012-spring-meeting.php.

Planning is now underway for the NAAG Summer Meeting, June 18 -22, hosted by Alaska Attorney General Michael Geraghty in Anchorage. As the Attorneys General Planning Committee confirms agenda topics and speakers, details will be posted to the NAAG website. Registration information can be found here: http://www.naag.org/2012-naag-summer-meeting.php. We hope to see everyone there!

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Walter Dellinger, left, and Ted Olsen during the Supreme Court Perspective session.