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Utah Attorney General Reyes Joins 50 Attorneys General in Multistate Google Investigation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 9, 2019

UTAH ATTORNEY GENERAL REYES JOINS 50 ATTORNEYS GENERAL IN GOOGLE MULTISTATE BIPARTISAN ANTITRUST INVESTIGATION 
 

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes today announced that Utah is joining the attorneys general in 48 states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico in a multistate, bipartisan investigation of tech giant Google’s business practices in accordance with state and federal antitrust laws.

The bipartisan coalition announced plans to investigate Google’s overarching control of online advertising markets and search traffic that may have led to anticompetitive behavior that harms consumers. Legal experts from each state will work in cooperation with Federal authorities to assess competitive conditions for online services and ensure that Americans have access to free digital markets.

“Now, more than ever, information is power, and the most important source of information in Americans’ day-to-day lives is the internet. When it comes to internet search, Google is-and has been-the 90% market share leader.” said Attorney General Reyes. “There is nothing wrong with a business becoming the dominant player if it does so fairly, but we are concerned Google’s dominance has been achieved and maintained through business practices designed to thwart competition and prevent new alternatives from ever existing. If true, such practices have undermined consumer choice, stifled innovation, violated users’ privacy, and impermissibly put Google in control of the flow and dissemination of online information.

“At times, there is a fine line between aggressive and abusive business practices. This investigation will tell us if Google has crossed that line. We intend to closely follow the facts we discover in this case and proceed as necessary. I raised these issues with the FTC several years ago but didn’t have the resources as a single state to pursue this behemoth. I am glad so many of my colleagues have seen the wisdom and importance of pursuing this investigation.”

Past investigations of Google uncovered violations ranging from advertising illegal drugs in the United States to now three antitrust actions brought by the European Commission. None of these previous investigations, however, fully address the source of Google’s sustained market power and the ability to engage in serial and repeated business practices with the intention to protect and maintain that power.
 

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AG Reyes Urges Congress to Pass Legislation Allowing Marijuana-Related Business to Access the Banking System

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 8, 2019

AG REYES JOINS COALITION OF 38 STATES URGING CONGRESS TO PASS LEGISLATION ALLOWING MARIJUANA-RELATED BUSINESS TO ACCESS THE BANKING SYSTEM

SALT LAKE CITYUtah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes today joined a bipartisan coalition of 38 states and territorial attorneys general urging Congress to pass the federal Secure and Fair Enforcement, or SAFE, Banking Act or similar measures that would give legal marijuana-related businesses access to the federal banking system.

“I urge Congress to be proactive and face the reality that legislation is crucial to providing structure to a business that’s growing exponentially,” Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes said. “In Utah, we need to address the business side of our state’s medical marijuana law. The Utah Legislature, Governor Gary R. Herbert, and State Treasurer David Damschen are equally invested in seeking a solution to this reality. If we don’t act, there could be serious issues for both state government and our financial institutions. This is both a public safety and state’s rights issue.”

Under existing law, federal regulators prohibit financial institutions from providing services to marijuana businesses in states where medical or retail marijuana sales are legal. Forcing legal businesses to operate as cash-only operations poses serious safety threats, creating targets for violent and white-collar crime. The SAFE Banking Act permits marijuana-related businesses in states and territories with existing regulatory structures to access the federal banking system.

The SAFE Banking Act has widespread, bipartisan support with 172 cosponsors in the U.S. House. The House Financial Services Committee approved the bill in March and now it awaits a vote by the full House.

With the backing of 38 of the nation’s attorneys general, the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) has chosen to endorse the legislation as one of its official policy positions. Historically, NAAG endorses less than a dozen policies a year.

The coalition of states and territories includes Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Colorado, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Guam, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, the Northern Mariana Islands, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

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NOTES:
1. Find the full text of H.R. 1595 – SAFE Banking Act of 2019 here: https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/1595?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22SAFE+Banking+Act%22%5D%7D&s=1&r=

2. The full text of the NAAG letter to Congress can be read here: https://attorneygeneral.utah.gov/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/NAAG-Letter-SAFE-Banking-Act-of-2019.pdf

3. During the last Legislative Session, the Utah Senate presented a concurrent resolution urging legal medical cannabis banking in an effort to resolve this issue. You can read the entire resolution here: https://le.utah.gov/~2019/bills/static/SCR007.html

Dept. of Justice hosts discussion on tech companies with state AGs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 25, 2018

 

ATTORNEY GENERAL SEAN D. REYES JOINS U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL TO DISCUSS TECH COMPANIES
State attorneys general share consumer protection concerns on tech company platforms

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes joined U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, eight other state attorneys general, and representatives from five state attorneys general offices at the Department of Justice to discuss competition, free exchange of ideas, and consumer protection surrounding tech company platforms.

AG Reyes shared the following statement after the meeting concluded:

Today’s meeting was part of a critical, ongoing dialogue on protecting consumers and competition in the technology sector without unnecessarily burdening innovation or investment. State AGs have grappled with these issues for years. Having a federal perspective was welcome. The meeting was bipartisan. It was productive. We compared notes with our federal partners about a range of issues including cybersecurity, privacy, data gathering, and monetization of personal information by members of the tech community.

We shared ideas and concerns about the impact of dominant market players on competition and how they may be unfairly leveraging their position for competitive advantage. We agreed that at the federal and state level, we are both seeking robust protection of consumers and markets through responsible regulation and disciplined enforcement.

Utah is a rapidly expanding innovation hub. As such, consumer protection, privacy, and a level playing field in the tech ecosystem are of utmost concern to me and the Utah AG Office. I want to thank Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his team at the U.S. Department of Justice for inviting us to collaborate in addressing issues crucial to the future of our nation.

Utah joined attorneys general from Alabama, California, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Nebraska, Tennessee, and the District of Columbia, as well as representatives from the Office of the Attorney General in Arkansas, Arizona, Missouri, Texas, and Washington.

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Photo by Marvin Meyer

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