The office of the Colorado Attorney General, led by Phil Weiser, appears to be increasingly weaponizing its consumer protection mandate to pursue a politically motivated agenda under the guise of “consumer advocacy.” This trend not only raises concerns about the proper use of governmental power but also underscores the necessity of ensuring government transparency and accountability.

On March 4, 2024, Weiser announced the top consumer complaints for 2023, highlighting an alarming increase in the number of complaints, which reached over 20,000 for the first time. The top issues reported included problems with retail services, professional services, and automobile sales and service​. While protecting consumers is a legitimate and important function of the AG’s office, the manner and fervor with which these actions are pursued can sometimes border on overreach.

For example, the AG’s office recently led a nationwide lawsuit against Meta, accusing the company of contributing to a youth mental health crisis through its social media platforms. This lawsuit, while addressing genuine concerns about the impact of social media on youth, also serves as a striking example of how the AG’s office is leveraging its power in high-profile cases to garner public attention and political capital​.

Furthermore, the announcement of various settlements and enforcement actions against businesses—ranging from automobile service providers to retail giants like Walmart—underscores a pattern where the AG’s office appears to be more focused on punitive measures rather than fostering a cooperative environment that encourages businesses to comply with consumer protection laws proactively​.

In light of these developments, the Southwest Public Policy Institute (SPPI) has taken action to ensure that such governmental power is exercised with the highest level of transparency and accountability. On May 29, 2024, SPPI submitted a fourteen-day notice of intent to sue the Colorado Attorney General under the Colorado Open Records Act. This action stems from the AG’s office denying SPPI’s right to inspect public records requested in March 2024. We believe this denial is improper and indicative of an unwillingness to operate transparently​.

At SPPI, we are committed to holding government entities accountable and ensuring that consumer protection efforts do not devolve into politically motivated crusades. Our mission is to promote sound public policy solutions that respect both consumers’ rights and businesses’ operational realities. By challenging the Colorado AG’s office, we aim to set a precedent that ensures transparency and prevents the misuse of governmental power.

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