Thursday, July 29, 2010

Suthers’ Stance on Consumer Protection

A spokesman for Attorney General John Suthers on Wednesday told The Denver Post that at a time that record numbers of consumer complaints are being filed, the incumbent’s office has maintained consumer protection staffing levels, doing so “through some creative budget work.” Attorney General candidate Stan Garnett today said his opponent is not to be congratulated for merely maintaining the status quo during the worst economic downturn in modern times, a crisis which has triggered a record surge in consumer fraud and scam complaints.

“When I am Attorney General, I will not settle for simply keeping the consumer protection unit afloat,” said Garnett. “This problem has never been a priority for my opponent. I will reprioritize within that office, to make sure that defending everyday Coloradans in today’s tough economy is a front-burner mission for Colorado’s Attorney General.”

While Garnett is making consumer protection a central focus of his plans as Attorney General, the incumbent has made clear repeatedly that he believes doing just enough, is enough for him. Meanwhile, deceptive rebate practices, utility scams, and home improvement scam experts, have been victimizing hardworking Coloradans, but suffering few consequences.

When the subject of consumer protection was raised in a June 2nd debate, the incumbent insisted, “Folks, in the last 5 ½ years, the Attorney General’s office has been more active than at any time in its history of consumer protection. Our consumer protection division is an outstanding group of people. It’s small…but, they are smart.” To the Fort Morgan Times on July 9, Suthers said it was “impossible” to be harder on consumer fraud with his current resources.

However, Mr. Suthers’ true sentiments were exposed in this remark he made during a speech to the Federalist Society: “I believe the only effective remedy for AG activism is action by the state legislatures to statutorily curb it. They could do so by curbing the nature and scope of AG consumer protection powers and by preventing them from delegating the exercise of state police powers to private attorneys.” View a clip of that remark here.

It is also telling that on July 21, when the President signed into law the most sweeping financial regulation reform bill passed in a generation, Stan Garnett publicly endorsed that section of the Act which grants the nation’s attorneys general broad general powers to pursue civil actions where appropriate. His opponent, meanwhile, has remained silent on its passage into law. Clearly, more power for the Attorney General to defend Colorado consumers is not what the incumbent was hoping for.

“My opponent has answered a consumer protection crisis by carrying on in a business as usual fashion,” Garnett said. “When I am Attorney General, I will be the Peoples’ lawyer and will fight for ordinary Coloradans. Everywhere I’ve gone in my 9,000 miles of traveling around the state over the last four months, I’ve met and listened to folks who are struggling to cope with this difficult economy and who need someone on their side. When I am Attorney General, they’ll have someone on their side.”

For additional information, contact Charlie Brennan at Also, please visit the campaign website at