In recent months, there’s been steady drumbeat of news from state capitals across the country as state attorneys general take on an ever-increasing role in consumer protection, often banding together to form multistate committees that investigate and punish wrongdoing. In the process, these elected officials have become the private sector’s most feared regulators.

To be sure this transformation has much to do with the recent shift in federal regulatory priorities. Under the new administration, formerly active federal agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the Securities and Exchange Commission have signaled that they intend to ease enforcement, making way for state attorneys general to take the lead.

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