Issues

An Advocate for Connecticut Working Families

Opioid Crisis

The opioid epidemic has devastated families in Connecticut and across the country. This is a public health crisis that has been fueled, in part, by a pharmaceutical industry that has engaged in irresponsible and unlawful behavior in pursuit of corporate profits, which total $140 billion per year.

Overdose deaths in Connecticut hit a record level in 2017 with over 1,000 deaths, and Connecticut now ranks 11th in national overdose mortality rates. The rate of opioid related deaths has increased more than 400% since 2012. The main causes of overdoses are heroin, prescription opioids, and synthetic opioids (fentanyl).

As Attorney General, I will aggressively pursue the investigation started by George Jepsen in partnership with other states.  Currently, the investigation focuses on the extent to which pharmaceutical companies broke the law in the marketing and sale of opioids. This investigation must comprehensively address the full scope of the pharmaceutical companies’ potentially unlawful conduct, including:

  • The extent to which Oxycontin and similar drugs were designed in an unreasonably dangerous way when an alternative, safer design was available. Oxycontin was originally designed in a form that could be crushed and, therefore, snorted, which was more dangerous and addictive.  There is evidence that a crush-proof, less addictive design was available, but rejected.
  • The extent to which pharmaceutical companies and healthcare providers have entered corrupt relationships in which pharmaceutical companies made payments to healthcare providers to induce the prescription of opioids.

As Attorney General, I will insist that pharmaceutical companies fully compensate our people for the public health costs we have borne as a result of their conduct, and will use the Office of the Attorney General to assist and coordinate with Connecticut municipalities that have brought legal actions against the pharmaceutical industry. Any settlement or damages verdict Connecticut receives should be dedicated to addiction services, training and counseling, including the support of wraparound services to help those struggling with opioid addiction deal with common problems, including homelessness.

 

Start-Ups & Small Business

I believe that a start-up economy and small business growth are essential to Connecticut’s future. To make sure that homegrown businesses can stay and flourish in Connecticut, we need a predictable and responsive regulatory regime.

As Attorney General, I will establish a Start-Up Desk to serve as the dedicated point of contact for regulatory questions directed to the Attorney General’s Office.  Further, I will establish an expedited review process for small businesses that are the subject of a regulatory complaint. Under this program, the Attorney General’s Office working cooperatively with the small business to determine whether a full investigation is warranted, or whether the small business can voluntarily resolve a compliance issue and implement policies to avoid similar problems in the future. The 90-day expedited review process will allow eligible small businesses to come into compliance without having to bear the legal and operational costs associated with a contested investigation.

 

Immigration

The Trump Administration has pursued an inhumane immigration policy that has threatened Connecticut families and communities, separated children from the parents, and called into question the very value of acceptance that our nation was founded upon.

As Attorney General, I will continue the fight to defend the 10,000 Dreamers who call Connecticut home. And, I will vigorously challenge any effort by the Trump Administration to undermine the Trust Act, which protects every community in the State of Connecticut by ensuring that local law enforcement officials are not deputized as federal immigration agents, and can do their jobs without interference from the federal government.

In the face of deportations that increasingly target law-abiding Connecticut residents, we must make sure that families have access to legal counsel. Currently, there is a significant shortage of attorneys serving the undocumented community. As Attorney General, I’ll use the resources of the office to bring together immigration attorneys, law school clinics, legal aid attorneys and various Connecticut bar associations to offer training to attorneys who wish to provide pro bono services to individuals facing deportation.

 

Protecting Our Communities from Gun Violence

As a federal prosecutor, I led successful investigations into illegal gun trafficking rings, through which gun-runners were buying guns in states without background checks or waiting periods and reselling them illegally in our state, where they would often be used in violent crimes. Our cases took dangerous, illegal guns off our streets and out of our neighborhoods, saving lives.

As Attorney General, I will challenge the Trump Administration’s and the NRA’s effort to re-open that pipeline through the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act. If passed, it would allow anyone in compliance with the gun laws in their home state – no matter how lax – to bring their guns into Connecticut without having to comply with our common-sense gun laws. It would, in effect, legalize illegal gun ownership—and is an unlawful infringement on Connecticut’s authority to protect public health and safety within our borders.

As Attorney General, I will also work with the state legislature to strengthen our gun safety laws by requiring ammunition dealers to report to the Department of Public Safety any bulk ammunition sales and to limit the amount of ammunition individuals may purchase within a certain time period. If these laws are challenged in court, I will vigorously defend them.

 

Data Privacy and Identity Protection

As an Assistant United States Attorney, I led investigations and prosecutions to protect victims of identity theft and fraud, and partnered with the AARP to educate and empower seniors.

As Attorney General, I will protect Connecticut residents by cracking down on financial institutions, credit companies and online tech companies that fail to properly secure our personal data or trade it unlawfully with other parties.

I will also continue to work with AARP and others to lead a public outreach campaign, because the best way to stop identity theft and fraud is make sure people know that there are common-sense steps they can take to protect their personal information.

 

Prescription Drugs

The high cost of prescription drugs is a significant hardship for patients and family budgets. As Attorney General, I will aggressively continue Attorney General Jepsen’s investigation into price-fixing in the generic drug market, which has led to artificially high drug prices.

I will also advocate for the passage of an anti-gouging law that would permit the Attorney General to challenge unconscionable and unjustified increases in drug prices.

 

Healthcare

As an Assistant United States Attorney, I supervised investigations into healthcare fraud, often partnering with the Attorney General’s Office to lower healthcare costs by rooting out fraud and abuse.

Today, many families continue to struggle with high premiums and insurance companies that wrongly deny coverage. Meanwhile, fraud in our healthcare system continues to drive up the cost of care and deprives vulnerable communities of healthcare resources.

As Attorney General, I will continue to aggressively root out fraud in our healthcare system to make sure that patients receive the care that they are paying for and that they need.

 

Civil Rights

As the Trump Administration continues both its legal overreach and its unprecedented assault on our fundamental values, it has never been more important to protect the civil rights of every man, woman, and child in Connecticut.

As an Assistant United States Attorney, I investigated violations of federal civil rights laws—laws that exist to protect citizens from abuse by government officials. We should significantly expand affirmative civil rights enforcement and intentionally dedicate Assistant Attorneys General to that effort.

Civil rights enforcement means investigating and bringing legal actions against unlawful discrimination in the areas of employment, housing, education, credit and insurance transactions, and at government offices and businesses that are open to the public, among others. While I would support legislation to aid this objective, numerous Federal civil rights statutes already authorize state Attorneys General to enforce them, and the Attorney General has inherent authority to bring civil rights actions on behalf of its people. We can and should utilize this authority right now — rather than simply wait for legislation to pass.

 

Net Neutrality

A free and open internet is critical to our ability to individuals’ and business’ ability to learn, collaborate and innovate. The Trump Administration’s effort to limit and price content by repealing the Obama Administration’s policy of net neutrality is unlawful.

As Attorney General, I will continue the legal challenge to the net neutrality repeal as an arbitrary, capricious and unlawful exercise of the FCC’s authority.

 

The Crumbling Foundations Crisis

Up to 30,000 homes in Eastern Connecticut are resting on defective foundations due to one of the largest consumer protection failures our state has ever seen. The foundations that are at risk of collapse contain pyrrhotite, a mineral that causes concrete to crack and weaken over time when exposed to moisture.

More than two decades ago, residents in Eastern Connecticut started to report cracking and crumbling in their foundations. Soon after these complaints became known, some insurance changed the language of their homeowner’s policies to exclude the type of collapse caused by pyrrhotite contaminated rock.

As Attorney General, I will immediately launch an investigation to determine the extent to which insurance companies made improper changes to their policies and the extent to which quarry owners, appraisers, inspectors and others were aware of the risk posed by pyrrhotite, yet failed to act to protect homeowners.

 

The Environment

Protecting our environment and making sure that our people have clean air to breathe and clear water to drink is one of government’s most basic responsibilities. The most significant threat to our environment is the Trump EPA’s failure to fulfill its legal obligations to enforce federal environmental laws.

As Attorney General, I will take the Trump EPA to compel it comply with its legal obligations, particularly with respect to its regulation of up wind power plants that are sending pollution into Connecticut.

We must also recognize that as the federal government pulls back on environmental protection, Connecticut needs to step up its own enforcement efforts, and, as Attorney General, I will lead that charge.

Restoring Trust in Government

The erosion of public trust in government has reached a crisis point that puts our democratic institutions at risk and demands an urgent response. Throughout my career, I have held those who damage that trust accountable – from corrupt public officials to scam artists who targeted vulnerable seniors. As Attorney General, I’ll continue the crucial fight to restore the public’s faith in government.

Ethics Enforcement & Clean Government

As an Assistant United States Attorney, I fought to rid our state government and our elections of corruption. Unethical behavior and the corrupting influence of money in politics have caused too many people to resent government and to doubt its ability to be an instrument for good.

As Attorney General, I will work to restore trust in government by aggressively enforcing our state’s ethics laws and holding public officials to the high standard the public deserves. I will police our public contracting process to ensure that the state and workers are not defrauded by crooked contractors. And, I will expand oversight of state administered grants to ensure that services and resources are delivered to the people who need them.

 

Electoral Reform

­As an Assistant United States Attorney, I fought to make sure that average voters’ voices were not drowned out by the corrupting influence of money and insider dealing. I was also in charge of coordinating election enforcement actions for the United States Attorney’s Office.

Over the past decade, we have seen sweeping efforts to disenfranchise voters, particularly communities of color. Partisan gerrymandering, restrictive voter identification laws, purges of voting rolls and false allegations of voter fraud have chilled the one true voice we have in a democracy – our vote.

In Connecticut, we should be moving in the opposite direction, and expanding access to the ballot. All adults should automatically be registered to vote when they turn 18, and we should expand early voting for every election.

We must also stand guard against legislative or executive efforts to curb voting rights. As Attorney General, I will defend Connecticut residents against any unlawful or unconstitutional infringement on the right to vote.

Standing up to Trump

Across the nation, Attorneys General are leading the fight against the Trump Administration’s attacks on our communities and the foundations of our democracy. As a former federal prosecutor, I am uniquely qualified to protect Connecticut’s families from Trump’s dangerous policies, and ensure our shared values persevere.

 

Supporting Workers

Organized labor has been the target of a decades-long right-wing assault, through right-to-work laws, union-busting, subcontracting and outsourcing (among other methods). Organized labor built the middle class. As it weakens, we see skyrocketing inequality and a collapse of our faith in government. We need to stand in solidarity with labor, against these attacks, and on the side of working people everywhere.

Additionally, my office will be vigilant about the challenges facing non-unionized working people, especially in the service industry. The proliferation of non-compete agreements, on-call scheduling, and forced arbitration agreements are all attempts by already-powerful employers to extract more from workers, and I will fight them. Additionally, I will fight the misclassification of employees as subcontractors, an insidious practice that hurts workers and consumers.

 

Defending the Rule of Law

It seems like every day brings an unprecedented, outrageous move from the Trump Administration. When the federal government does something that will harm Connecticut, it falls to the Attorney General to sue. For example, when the Muslim Ban first went into effect, in February 2017, it was the Washington State Attorney General who filed a suit that had it struck down. On issues such as net neutrality, environmental protection, data privacy, election security and immigration, Attorneys General across the country have filed suit to delay or block the Trump agenda.

Not only do we need to be able to defend ourselves against the radical right-wing agenda, but we also need to be able to pass laws that advance our own values. For example, the Connecticut Student Loans Bill of Rights is currently under attack from Betsy DeVos and the student loan industry. Our common-sense gun laws could also soon be the target of a Republican-backed lawsuit.

I am the right candidate to take on the Trump Administration, because at the U.S. Attorney’s office I took on and won cases involving complex litigation in federal court. I can do that again on behalf of our state. The stakes here are very high. If we lose a case, not only could Connecticut residents be in danger, but it could set a precedent that may imperil other states as well.

Paid for by Mattei for CT, Doug Spencer, Treasurer. Approved by Chris Mattei. Privacy Policy | Contact