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Letter from New York State Attorney General Letitia James

Editor’s note: New York Attorney General Letitia James last week, released a report chronicling the legal, policy, and community actions taken by the Office of the Attorney General throughout 2019. The full report can be read online at https://ag.ny.gov/sites/default/files/2019-oag-annualreport.pdf

New York State Attorney General Letitia James

New York State Attorney General Letitia James

Dear Friends,

When I took office one year ago, I made a commitment to use every tool at my disposal to protect New Yorkers. For the past twelve months, that’s exactly what my team and I have been doing. We have challenged the federal government’s attempts to deny our basic rights, opened an investigation into the NRA’s charitable practices, filed the nation’s most extensive lawsuit against the manufacturers and distributors of opioids, and led 46 states in an investigation into Facebook over antitrust concerns. We have also fought to ensure the health and safety of our children by suing e-cigarette company JUUL, defended women’s reproductive rights, and protected consumers from deceptive and fraudulent Wall Street practices.

We have been hard at work. As I close out my first year as your Attorney General, I want to take a moment to share some of the work the office has done on behalf of all New Yorkers.

We’ve had some major legal victories this year. We fought all the way to the United States Supreme Court to maintain the integrity of the census, and won. We shut down President Trump’s Foundation and forced him to personally pay $2 million for abusing his charity for political purposes. We held Equifax accountable for a data breach that affected millions of Americans in the largest data breach settlement ever. We held Google and YouTube liable for illegally tracking and collecting children’s personal information and secured a $170 million national settlement. We stopped the federal government from its attempts to allow more pollution in our air and water. Through our wins, we have collected more than $1.1 billion for New York.

We also helped New Yorkers outside of the courtroom. We spearheaded groundbreaking legislation to ensure bad actors cannot evade justice by closing the double jeopardy loophole. We took thousands of guns off our streets through our statewide gun buyback program. We funded over $85 million for affordable housing throughout the state, and we’ve allocated over $1 million to provide body-worn cameras for police departments all across New York State.

I also traveled around the state to hear from you. I visited addiction treatment facilities, where I met with those devastated by the nation’s opioid epidemic. I spoke to aspiring lawyers at law schools. I convened the first ever Attorney General roundtable with Native American leaders. I visited our armed service members at Fort Drum. As Attorney General, I represent every single person in New York, and it is my honor to talk to you, hear from you, serve you, and protect you.

As I begin my second year in office, I look forward to continuing the great work we have started and building on the office’s legacy of prioritizing the rights and interests of all New Yorkers.

Thank you,

New York State Attorney General