In this podcast with Jerry Coyne, the Managing Director of State Monitoring Services at Affiliated Monitors, Inc. and we consider the role of state AGs as enforcers of civil law and in bringing litigation to enforce consumer protect and related statutes. Every US state and territory has an AG, whose role is to serve as the chief legal advisor for that state. State AGs are empowered to prosecute violations of state law, represent the state and its employees when sued, and usually to provide legal advice to state agencies and to the state legislature. But its most important and most challenging role may be the right to bring litigation – to file suit – in the name of the state.
Due to the massive amounts of money flowing to the states, most states took on this responsibility by adding staff not just to their AGs, but to other agencies with tobacco enforcement responsibilities, such as taxation and revenue departments, and state police organizations. The entry of the MSA in 1998 brought unprecedented amounts of new revenue to the states, but also resulted in the states agreeing to take on the responsibility for new and unprecedented enforcement activities to enforce the settlement’s terms, lest the anticipated flow of monies be reduced or even eliminated.