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Home » Budget » Agency Activities » Efficient, Effective and Accountable Government

Efficient, Effective and Accountable Government

Last Updated: 10/13/2021

Provide consumer protection

Strategy: Provide consumer protection

Agency: 100 - Office of Attorney General

A001 - Administration

Administrative functions of the AGO includes the Attorney General’s Core Leadership Team, the Solicitor General, executive support, financial services, human resources, IT services, and facilities staff. An administrative function of the AGO is the Solicitor General’s issuance of Attorney General Opinions, which answer questions from members of the state Legislature, state elected officials, appointed heads of state agencies, boards and commissions, and county prosecuting attorneys. AGO opinions clarify the interpretation of statutes and regulations when the meaning is in doubt.

Account FY 2022 FY 2023 Biennium Total
FTE 73.1 75.0 74.1
001 - General Fund
State 5,669,000 9,127,000 14,796,000
Federal 596,000 1,058,000 1,654,000
001 - General Fund Totals 6,265,000 10,185,000 16,450,000
12F - Man/Mobile Home Dispute Resolution
Non-Appropriated 20,000 19,000 39,000
154 - New Motor Vehicle Arbitration Acct
State 28,000 29,000 57,000
17L - Foreclosure Fairness Account
Non-Appropriated 7,000 7,000 14,000
19P - Child Rescue Fund
State 40,000 40,000 80,000
405 - Legal Services Revolving Account
State 6,484,000 9,430,000 15,914,000
441 - Local Government Archives Account
State 515,000 515,000 1,030,000
828 - Tobacco Prevention/Control Account
State 9,000 7,000 16,000
FY 2022 FY 2023 Biennium Total
FTES 73.1 75.0 74.1
GFS 5,669,000.0 9,127,000.0 14,796,000.0
Other 7,699,000.0 11,105,000.0 18,804,000.0
Totals 13,368,000.0 20,232,000.0 33,600,000.0
Expected Results

Administration provides the issuance of Attorney General opinions which answer questions from members of the state Legislature, state elected officials, appointed heads of state agencies, boards and commissions, and county prosecuting attorneys. These questions seek clarification relating to the interpretation of statutes and regulations when the meaning is in doubt.

A002 - Civil Commitment of Sexually Violent Predators

The Sexually Violent Predator Unit (SVPU) protects the public by ensuring that the most dangerous and violent sexual predators in the state are detained, evaluated, and treated until they no longer meet Sexually Violent Predator (SVP) criteria. When a sexual offender is about to be released from confinement and appears to meet SVP criteria, the SVPU acts as the prosecuting agency to classify them as a SVP resulting in Civil commitment. Once committed, the SVPU oversees the extensive post-commitment responsibilities to ensure that SVPs are not being released before being rehabilitated. These responsibilities include appeals, annual reviews, less restrictive alternative placements, and re-commitment hearings and trials.

Account FY 2022 FY 2023 Biennium Total
FTE 25.7 25.7 25.7
001 - General Fund
State 6,995,000 7,194,000 14,189,000
FY 2022 FY 2023 Biennium Total
FTES 25.7 25.7 25.7
GFS 6,995,000.0 7,194,000.0 14,189,000.0
Other
Totals 6,995,000.0 7,194,000.0 14,189,000.0

002535 - Total Successful Commitments

As a result of the efforts to civilly detain, evaluate and treat sex offenders who are most likely to reoffend, fewer people are victimized and the public is protected from those individuals.
Biennium Period Actual Target
2017-19 A2 33 85
2017-19 A3 63 85
2019-21 A2 33 85
2019-21 A3 0 85

A003 - Criminal Investigation and Prosecution

The Criminal Litigation Unit (CLU) investigates and prosecutes all levels of criminal cases when requested by the Governor or county prosecuting attorneys. The types of cases commonly handled by the CLU include homicide, sexual assault, multi-jurisdictional crime, white-collar crime, governmental corruption cases, environmental crimes, tax fraud cases on behalf of the Department of Revenue, licensing fraud on behalf of the Department of Licensing, insurance fraud on behalf of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner, and fraudulent workers’ compensation claims and wage and hour violations on behalf of the Department of Labor and Industries. The CLU assists local prosecutors when they have a conflict of interest or need additional resources for major prosecutions. The CLU occasionally assumes responsibility for the appellate review of a criminal case that were originally brought by a county prosecutor if the case involves fundamental issues affecting the public interest and the administration of justice.

Account FY 2022 FY 2023 Biennium Total
FTE 8.7 8.7 8.7
001 - General Fund
State 1,472,000 1,521,000 2,993,000
FY 2022 FY 2023 Biennium Total
FTES 8.7 8.7 8.7
GFS 1,472,000.0 1,521,000.0 2,993,000.0
Other
Totals 1,472,000.0 1,521,000.0 2,993,000.0

002536 - Criminal Cases Closed

When a county prosecutor has a conflict of interest or needs assistance for other reasons, there are competent, highly-skilled AGO prosecutors available to represent the county resulting in greater public protection. The AGO’s Criminal Litigation Unit (CRI) reviews important appeals and provides additional legal assistance upon request. CRI also reviews and approves (or defends against) claims filed by persons claiming to have been wrongfully convicted and imprisoned. Crimes of fraud involving state agencies are properly investigated and prosecuted so that state agencies and other victims can recover their losses, and similar criminal activity against state agencies can be curtailed and deterred.
Biennium Period Actual Target
2017-19 Q1 9 18
2017-19 Q2 25 18
2017-19 Q3 13 18
2017-19 Q4 8 18
2017-19 Q5 8 18
2017-19 Q6 14 18
2017-19 Q7 28 18
2017-19 Q8 13 18
2019-21 Q1 10 18
2019-21 Q2 11 18
2019-21 Q3 11 18
2019-21 Q4 11 18
2019-21 Q5 13 18
2019-21 Q6 4 18
2019-21 Q7 2 18
2019-21 Q8 4 18
2021-23 Q1 8 18
2021-23 Q2 0 18
2021-23 Q3 0 18
2021-23 Q4 0 18
2021-23 Q5 0 18
2021-23 Q6 0 18
2021-23 Q7 0 18
2021-23 Q8 0 18

A004 - Enforcement of Anti-Trust Laws

The AGO’s Antitrust Division (ANT) division protects the residents of Washington State from price-fixing, illegal mergers, monopolization, and other illegal, anticompetitive activities. ANT holds entities accountable when they break the law and engage in unfair competition, and ensures that consumers benefit from a competitive marketplace. By enforcing antitrust laws, ANT ensures that businesses compete fairly with each other. ANT files enforcement actions, responds to consumer complaints, provides advice to state agencies, and provides consumer education and outreach. Through these efforts, ANT ensures that consumers’ problems are addressed, money overpaid due to illegal activity is recovered, illegal activity is prevented, and businesses are educated about their responsibilities under the antitrust laws.

Account FY 2022 FY 2023 Biennium Total
FTE 25.3 25.3 25.3
424 - Anti-Trust Revolving Account
Non-Appropriated 5,781,000 5,761,000 11,542,000
FY 2022 FY 2023 Biennium Total
FTES 25.3 25.3 25.3
GFS
Other 5,781,000.0 5,761,000.0 11,542,000.0
Totals 5,781,000.0 5,761,000.0 11,542,000.0

000011 - Antitrust Restitution to the Citizens of the State

The AGO’s Antitrust Division (ANT) enforces antitrust laws, protects consumers from illegal and harmful practices, and ensures a fair, efficient, and competitive marketplace for businesses. Active investigations can result in enforcement actions/litigation that prevent monopolies, price-fixing, and illegal mergers, and recover money for injured consumers and state agencies. Through outreach efforts, ANT educates businesses in order to prevent antitrust violations and protects Washington consumers.
Biennium Period Actual Target
2017-19 A2 $618,719.00 $700,000.00
2017-19 A3 $9,491,721.00 $700,000.00
2019-21 A2 $4,755,227.00 $700,000.00
2019-21 A3 $0.00 $700,000.00

002877 - Antitrust Restitution to the Citizens of the State

The AGO’s Antitrust Division (ANT) enforces antitrust laws, protects consumers from illegal and harmful practices, and ensures a fair, efficient, and competitive marketplace for businesses. Active investigations can result in enforcement actions/litigation that prevent monopolies, price-fixing, and illegal mergers, and recover money for injured consumers and state agencies. Through outreach efforts, ANT educates businesses in order to prevent antitrust violations and protects Washington consumers.
Biennium Period Actual Target
2017-19 A2 25 30
2017-19 A3 30 30
2019-21 A2 31 25
2019-21 A3 31 25

A005 - Enforcement of Consumer Protection Laws

The AGO’s Consumer Protection Division (CPR) protects Washington consumers from deception, scams, and abusive practices. CPR provides a fair marketplace through vigorous civil law enforcement of the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) including education and outreach to consumers. CPR’s Consumer Resource Center fields calls and complaints from consumers around the state, informally resolving complaints and recovering millions of dollars for consumers. CPR attorneys promote compliance with the CPA by obtaining injunctions and monetary judgments against violators including direct consumer restitution. CPR’s Foreclosure Compliance Program enforces the Foreclosure Fairness Act to help homeowners. CPR also houses the Lemon Law program which promotes timely and effective new motor vehicle warranty service through mandatory arbitration. CPR’s Manufactured House Dispute Resolution Unit fosters compliance with the Manufactured Housing Landlord Tennant Act.

Account FY 2022 FY 2023 Biennium Total
FTE 107.3 107.3 107.3
001 - General Fund
State 3,592,000 3,797,000 7,389,000
12F - Man/Mobile Home Dispute Resolution
Non-Appropriated 602,000 571,000 1,173,000
154 - New Motor Vehicle Arbitration Acct
State 845,000 853,000 1,698,000
17L - Foreclosure Fairness Account
Non-Appropriated 122,000 122,000 244,000
25V - WA St ATG Charitable Asset Prtn Acc
Non-Appropriated 672,000 672,000 1,344,000
FY 2022 FY 2023 Biennium Total
FTES 107.3 107.3 107.3
GFS 3,592,000.0 3,797,000.0 7,389,000.0
Other 2,241,000.0 2,218,000.0 4,459,000.0
Totals 5,833,000.0 6,015,000.0 11,848,000.0

002534 - Direct Restitution Provided to Consumers through Litigation and Complaint Resolution

The AGO’s Consumer Protection Division’s (CPR) activities are expected to foster a fair, competitive and non-deceptive marketplace, prevent consumer harm, promote voluntary compliance with economic regulation by businesses, and resolve disputes between buyers and sellers in the marketplace. CPR is expected to recover a portion of operational costs through its litigation activity. CPR is expected to promote timely and effective new motor vehicle warranty service through mandatory arbitration, and foster compliance with the Manufactured Housing Landlord Tenant Act.
Biennium Period Actual Target
2017-19 A2 $10,517,092.00 $5,500,000.00
2017-19 A3 $29,075,298.00 $5,500,000.00
2019-21 A2 $44,302,499.00 $5,500,000.00
2019-21 A3 $33,320,263.00 $5,500,000.00

A006 - Executive Ethics Board

The Executive Ethics Board (EEB) is an independent board with five members appointed by the Governor. The EEB promotes integrity, confidence, and public trust in state government through education, interpretation, and enforcement of the Ethics in compliance with the Public Service Act (Act). The AGO provides staff and administrative support for the EEB. EEB members meet on a regular basis to interpret the Act for all state agencies, provide advice to agencies regarding ethical issues, promulgate rules to implement the Act, and take enforcement action against state employees who violate the Act. EEB staff investigate complaints filed by public employees and citizens, provide ethics training to state agencies, and provide advice regarding ethics in the workplace. Ethics training enables state officers and employees to perform their public responsibilities and conduct the business of the state appropriately.

Account FY 2022 FY 2023 Biennium Total
FTE 3.1 3.1 3.1
405 - Legal Services Revolving Account
State 556,000 564,000 1,120,000
FY 2022 FY 2023 Biennium Total
FTES 3.1 3.1 3.1
GFS
Other 556,000.0 564,000.0 1,120,000.0
Totals 556,000.0 564,000.0 1,120,000.0

000018 - Average Number of Days to Complete an Ethics Investigation

The Executive Ethics Board investigates complaints filed by public employees and citizens regarding ethical violations established in the Public Service Act, and prosecutes cases to completion. By completing investigations and resolving cases in a timely manner, state agencies, state employees, and the public are better served, and public trust and confidence in state government increases.
Biennium Period Actual Target
2017-19 Q1 115 180
2017-19 Q2 147 180
2017-19 Q3 137 180
2017-19 Q4 135 180
2017-19 Q5 151 180
2017-19 Q6 166 180
2017-19 Q7 152 180
2017-19 Q8 113 180
2019-21 Q1 105 180
2019-21 Q2 93 180
2019-21 Q3 57 180
2019-21 Q4 48 180
2019-21 Q5 137 180
2019-21 Q6 154 180
2019-21 Q7 133 180
2019-21 Q8 112 180
2021-23 Q1 89 180
2021-23 Q2 0 180
2021-23 Q3 0 180
2021-23 Q4 0 180
2021-23 Q5 0 180
2021-23 Q6 0 180
2021-23 Q7 0 180
2021-23 Q8 0 180

A007 - Homicide Investigation Tracking System

The Homicide Investigation Tracking System (HITS) system provides assistance to law enforcement by providing them with greater access to information, advice, and assistance resulting in enhanced and speedier investigation of violent crimes. As a result, suspects are pursued more quickly leading to better public protections.

Account FY 2022 FY 2023 Biennium Total
FTE 7.5 7.5 7.5
001 - General Fund
State 889,000 1,580,000 2,469,000
FY 2022 FY 2023 Biennium Total
FTES 7.5 7.5 7.5
GFS 889,000.0 1,580,000.0 2,469,000.0
Other
Totals 889,000.0 1,580,000.0 2,469,000.0

000021 - HITS Requests from Law Enforcement

Homicide Investigation Tracking System (HITS) investigators and its data warehouse provide resources to local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies by giving them access to violent crime data and analyses across jurisdictions. The HITS unit provides law enforcement analysis of crime data related to murder, rape, and other serious offenses. The usefulness of the HITS system is directly affected by the quality and quantity of crime data entered into the system. HITS investigators work closely with law enforcement to ensure all information is correctly captured. HITS provides direct investigative assistance that includes case reviews and search results to law enforcement agencies upon their request. As a result, violent offenders are identified and apprehended improving public safety and preventing crime.
Biennium Period Actual Target
2017-19 Q1 164 253
2017-19 Q2 215 253
2017-19 Q3 235 253
2017-19 Q4 219 253
2017-19 Q5 199 253
2017-19 Q6 225 253
2017-19 Q7 193 253
2017-19 Q8 207 253
2019-21 Q1 212 253
2019-21 Q2 215 253
2019-21 Q3 274 253
2019-21 Q4 252 253
2019-21 Q5 245 253
2019-21 Q6 168 253
2019-21 Q7 179 253
2019-21 Q8 216 253
2021-23 Q1 240 254
2021-23 Q2 0 254
2021-23 Q3 0 254
2021-23 Q4 0 254
2021-23 Q5 0 254
2021-23 Q6 0 254
2021-23 Q7 0 254
2021-23 Q8 0 254

A009 - Investigation and Prosecution of Medicaid Fraud and Resident Abuse

The Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) is federally mandated and 75% federally funded for this investigative and prosecutorial unit staffed by Attorneys, Auditors, Investigators, Paralegals and support personnel. MFCU’s mission is to protect patients and taxpayers through civil (including qui tam action) and criminal law enforcement. MFCU investigates and prosecutes fraud by health care providers that illegally divert Medicaid funds. These enforcement efforts curtail and deter similar criminal activity and lead to recoveries for the state and federal government. MFCU also prosecutes the abuse and neglect of residents in Medicaid-funded facilities. MFCU provides valuable assistance to local law enforcement in investigating and prosecuting crimes committed against vulnerable adults. MFCU helps coordinate the efforts of local vulnerable adult task forces, enforces the law, holds criminals accountable, increases public safety, deters fraud, and recovers money for the state. The addition of the Medicaid False Claims Act (FCA) in 2012 allows whistleblower qui tam actions. This increases MFCU’s capacity to aggressively combat fraud through civil and criminal means, benefits our state by expanding the AGO’s capacity to address fraud, neglect and abuse. This is essential as more Washingtonians become eligible for Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, and as more people are entering the long-term care system.

Account FY 2022 FY 2023 Biennium Total
FTE 60.0 60.0 60.0
001 - General Fund
Federal 7,660,000 9,328,000 16,988,000
19A - Medicaid Fraud Penalty Account
State 2,993,000 3,002,000 5,995,000
FY 2022 FY 2023 Biennium Total
FTES 60.0 60.0 60.0
GFS
Other 10,653,000.0 12,330,000.0 22,983,000.0
Totals 10,653,000.0 12,330,000.0 22,983,000.0

002538 - Recoveries to the Medicaid System

State share of Medicaid recoveries is utilized to combat fraud, provide Medicaid services, and monitor prescription drug abuse. The 2012 legislature created the FCA and the MPA. These acts create the state funding source for the AGO’s MFCU, and for the Medicaid program integrity responsibilities managed by the HCA. MFCU’s civil efforts recovered money that was illegally obtained in violation of either the federal or state FCA is returned to the State and placed into the MPA. Recovered money includes restitution, interest and penalties. The 2013 legislature authorized the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program that is also funded from the MPA. Through MFCU’s criminal and non-false claims act civil efforts, additional money is returned to the State. These cases generally contain a restitution portion and an interest portion. Recoveries are returned directly to the Medicaid program and not to the MPA. The associated interest goes to GF-S.
Biennium Period Actual Target
2017-19 A2 $13,469,568.00 $10,500,000.00
2017-19 A3 $6,848,253.00 $4,000,000.00
2019-21 A2 $11,199,418.00 $4,000,000.00
2019-21 A3 $6,723,135.00 $4,000,000.00

A010 - Legal Services to State Agencies

By providing high quality legal assistance and representation to Washington’s state agencies, boards, and commissions, the AGO improves government services, increases government efficiency, and prevents costly lawsuits. The legal services provided by the AGO saves taxpayer dollars, promotes the public interest, and ensures agencies are able to fulfill their essential missions. The AGO offers excellent, option-based legal advice to help the state promote the public good. In the litigation context, the AGO initiates, defends, and resolves cases effectively and efficiently for the benefit of the state, its agencies, and its citizens.

Account FY 2022 FY 2023 Biennium Total
FTE 1,003.2 988.5 995.9
001 - General Fund
State 832,000 876,000 1,708,000
405 - Legal Services Revolving Account
State 147,458,000 145,537,000 292,995,000
828 - Tobacco Prevention/Control Account
State 129,000 130,000 259,000
FY 2022 FY 2023 Biennium Total
FTES 1,003.2 988.5 995.9
GFS 832,000.0 876,000.0 1,708,000.0
Other 147,587,000.0 145,667,000.0 293,254,000.0
Totals 148,419,000.0 146,543,000.0 294,962,000.0

002539 - Cases Open at End of Fiscal Year

The AGO provides legal representation to state agencies, boards, and commissions and sustains about 25,000 open cases at all times. The AGO represents the state in litigation and provides advice on personnel, contracts, public records, specialized program advice, and risk management. Program responsibilities include state and federal benefit programs administered by state agencies, licensing and regulatory programs, agency custodial programs, higher education, natural resources programs, capital construction and equipment acquisitions, state agency revenue and collection programs, and economic development and enterprise activities. The AGO protects taxpayer dollars by providing sound legal advice and risk management services to clients avoiding costly lawsuits. AGO assists agencies with civil enforcement efforts – working with ECY to hold polluters accountable, L&I to promote fair labor practices, DSHS to protect children and other vulnerable populations from abuse and neglect.
Biennium Period Actual Target
2017-19 A2 29,045 25,000
2017-19 A3 28,002 25,000
2019-21 A2 28,393 25,000
2019-21 A3 27,153 25,000

A011 - Representing Ratepayers

The AGO’s Public Counsel Unit (PCU) represents residential and small business customers (ratepayers) of electric, natural gas, and telecommunications utilities regulated by the Washington Utilities & Transportation Commission (UTC). PCU advocates on behalf of customers in UTC cases involving utility rates, mergers, energy efficiency programs, service quality, and other policy matters. PCU investigates company requests and retains experts to analyze areas such as accounting, economics, finance, engineering, rate spread/rate design, and service quality. In a rate case or merger evidentiary hearings, PCU will cross-examine other parties’ expert witnesses, present its own witnesses, and file legal briefs. In addition to participating as a statutory party in major rate and merger cases, PCU may also present policy recommendations in UTC rulemakings or at bi-weekly UTC business meetings. PCU participates in technical policy and advisory groups, and may provide information to the Legislature and other policymakers.

Account FY 2022 FY 2023 Biennium Total
FTE 10.0 10.0 10.0
111 - Public Service Revolving Account
State 2,122,000 2,126,000 4,248,000
FY 2022 FY 2023 Biennium Total
FTES 10.0 10.0 10.0
GFS
Other 2,122,000.0 2,126,000.0 4,248,000.0
Totals 2,122,000.0 2,126,000.0 4,248,000.0

002531 - Consumer Utility Rate Savings

The AGO’s Public Counsel Unit (PCU) protects consumers and businesses by advocating fair, just, reasonable, and sufficient utility rates, and by ensuring that customers pay only for reasonable and cost-effective programs. PCU’s efforts have helped save consumers nearly $150 million over the past four years and will continue to save Washingtonians money on utility rates.
Biennium Period Actual Target
2017-19 A2 $45,400,000.00 $20,000,000.00
2017-19 A3 $33,000,000.00 $20,000,000.00
2019-21 A2 $55,200,000.00 $20,000,000.00
2019-21 A3 $83,700,000.00 $20,000,000.00