by John Dankosky – When George Jepsen took over as Connecticut’s 24th Attorney General, he also forever changed the daily newsgathering habits of newsrooms across the state. His predecessor, now Senator Richard Blumenthal, still jokes about showing up for a “garage door opening,” and would make himself available at a moment’s notice – albeit in tightly scripted soundbites – to any media outlet willing to listen.
Blumenthal also crafted a persona as a “national” defender of consumers, joining in multi-state investigations and settlements with major companies. His highest-profile case was the multi-billion dollar settlement with the tobacco industry, which resulted in millions coming into the state’s general fund (while very little was ever actually used to stop people from smoking).
In many ways, Jepsen is similar in his views on the position of AG. He told the Connecticut Post in November, ”I grew up with a view that the playing field is often tilted against the average citizen. As an attorney general, you are an advocate in their corner.” But in temperament, he seems at times to be the opposite of Blumenthal – very low key, even quiet at times. If you want an example, listen to his appearance with opponent Martha Dean on Where We Live last year. (Or maybe this (I)nterview with the CPBN Media Lab)
So far on the job, he’s waded into some of the territory we’ve become accustomed to traveling with Blumenthal. He’s asked Apple and Google to divulge more information about how they’re tracking consumers with their smartphones; and he settled a fraud case with a mobster.
But in a unique settlement with pharmacy giant CVS, Jepsen may have hinted at a new way of doing business. In an effort to get expired goods off of store shelves, Jepsen has CVS issuing coupons to customers who find out-of-date products on the shelves. A kind of “crowdsourcing” watchdog effort.
He also lit up a bit when he talked about the deal on air, calling it “cool.”
Yes, today on Where We Live Jepsen was not exactly “high energy,” but did bring back some info from a trip to DC, where he’s working with other AGs on how to get mortgage companies to take better care of the millions of homeowners in the US who got caught up in dubious loan practices. You can listen to today’s full conversation on Where We Live here.