Carl Person, a candidate for the Libertarian Party's Presidential Nomination, issued a Prosperity Plan on October 24, 2011 encouraging Towns with populations between 7,500 and 12,500 to appoint Town Attorney Generals. Point 15 in that Prosperity Plan read, in part, as follows:
"The Town’s Mayor Will Be Encouraged To Have The Town’s Lawyer Function As The Town Attorney General to protect the rights of the Town, its residents and small businesses at public expense, and obtain refunds (or “clawbacks”) from entities that have breached their contracts with the Town."
For more details with respect to what these Town Attorney Generals will focus on in their efforts to obtain "refunds" or "clawbacks" from corporations, Mr. Person writes the following on his "Town Attorney General" website at http://www.townattorneygeneral.com/index.php:
"A group of Town Attorney Generals, operating as a "wolfpack" in fashion similar to the states’ attorneys general, can decide to eliminate price discrimination in a specific industry, such as beverages or appliances or auto parts, and commence lawsuits throughout the United States against errant manufacturers until the effect of such lawsuits reaches the level of impact that the Federal Trade Commission had, before the Nixon Administration, in their rigid enforcement of the Robinson-Patman Act.
In effect, a group of Town Attorneys General can exercise for their respective communities the abandoned powers of the federal government to enforce the nation’s antitrust laws. "Wolfpack" combat was used successfully during the Second World War by the German submarine commanders who would operate as a "wolfpack" and gang up on individual convoys of ships from the United States (or elsewhere) attempting to resupply England. The United States was able to stop this by breaking the German Enigma Code.
Until the manufacturers stop their price discrimination, by switching back to a published price list from the current system of secret negotiations and secret pricing and below-cost selling, the towns and villages will make a substantial amount of money in their lawsuits to protect the interests of the town and its residents and local businesses. When the manufacturers stop violating the law, the town, and its residents and locally-owned businesses, will be able to make money the old fashioned way, through the financially-successful residents and local businesses that will result when the destructive price discrimination practices of the major retailers and their suppliers are brought to an end.
There are various other laws for profitable enforcement by the Town Attorney General, including:
a. State antitrust laws
b. State laws prohibiting deceptive or misleading advertising
c. Fraud, misrepresentation, and fraudulent omission
d. Allocation of sales tax revenues
e. Imposing employee healthcare costs on the community
f. Illegal hiring of immigrants
g. Illegal outsourcing which steals jobs from the community
h. Breach of representations and warranties made when obtaining zoning variations
i. Purchasing of jobs by one community, which unfairly deprives another community of its existing jobs, and provides huge sums of unearned money to corporations trafficking in local jobs
There are many more areas for profitable litigation, and each community needs to have a review of its relationship with major businesses operating in the area to determine what claims to bring in the lawsuits designed to take back what the multinationals are taking illegally from the town and its residents and local businesses."
Carl Person goes on to further describe his vision regarding the role Town Attorney Generals will play:
"Imagine the complexity of the U.S. tax code and the army of lawyers and CPA’s that provide legal and accounting advice to the multinational corporations enabling them to pay little if any income taxes to the United States in spite of their ever-growing revenues. Add to this the output of 180 some odd American Bar Association-approved law schools training thousands of lawyers each year to go to work for the major corporations, both as in-house counsel and with the major law firms in each U.S. city that provide outside legal representation to all of the large and most medium-size corporations operating within or engaged in transactions with companies and individuals located in the United States. The legal expertise involved to protect major corporations is so complicated that for the past 20 years or longer there has been a steady merger of law firms into ever-growing law firm giants because of the perceived need to have law firms handle all sorts of legal problems (as a "full service" firm), with the large law firm delegating portions of a problem on occasion to a smaller "boutique" law firm specializing in a narrow field of law.
What I’m driving at is that major corporations have become major corporations because they have used thousands of lawyers each year to protect the corporate interests and assets, as against smaller customers, regulatory agencies, and host communities which lack most of the legal expertise that has enabled the corporations to take assets from others under color of law, winding up as sales and profits, with little fear that anyone is going to recognize how the major corporations are violating the law or do anything about it if they do recognize violations of law.
In this context, we have had an influx of major retailers opening up retail stores throughout the United States and devastating the locally-owned businesses. The host towns and villages have been looking for tax revenue to replace the lost taxes and community income being stolen by the major retailers, and have done very little to investigate and deal with corporate wrongdoing because of the lack of the needed legal skills. The IRS, for example, has insufficient personnel or assets to make a complete review of the tax filings of the multinational corporations, and winds up instead looking (quickly and without much understanding) at perhaps less than 1/10th of 1% of the documents filed and generally letting the corporations determine for themselves that they owe no tax (based upon expensive opinions and planning done by the hordes of lawyers and accountants retained by the multinationals).
Continued growth by the nation’s largest corporations is relatively easy. They do whatever could be argued is "lawful" and recognize that nobody is going to challenge them, which enables the major corporations to take more than they should, and leave their suppliers and customers relatively impoverished, having transferred their wealth to the major corporations through a variety of business practices which, upon examination, can be proven are illegal.
Towns and villages throughout the United States are feeling the effects of the multinationals by reason of the decline in standard of living of the residents; the reduction in tax revenues received by the town/village; the increase in prices caused by the monopolies; the increased burden thrust on local communities by the federal and state governments that are also trying to cope with loss of income from the multinationals based upon their gray area operations and tax reporting with high-priced legal support.
Obviously, the cure for this loss of income and wealth is to have sophisticated legal assistance to determine the legality of the "gray area" operations that have been depriving the town or village and its residents and local businesses of jobs, higher-paying jobs, tax revenues, income (through higher prices), and decline in property and business values. This is the function of a "Town Attorney General", as I conceive this position to be."
Carl Person says his "corporate clawbacks" will result in a significant source of new income:
"Towns and villages know how to obtain revenue by setting up and working speed traps for motorists, but this is penny ante stuff. The towns and villages should be setting up "speed traps" for large corporations (being invisible or "incorporeal", or without body), to detect wrongdoing and commence appropriate litigation to recover money for the town. Community fines against individuals (for parking, speeding and smoking) will probably not amount to more than $200 per family per year (and this is just a guess), but going after errant multinational corporations can easily result in new income to the town amounting to about $5,000 to $10,000 per family per year, and probably with little or no outlay of money by the town. In fact, the town should be able to use a positive cash flow to increase these outlined civil enforcement activities."
What does Carl Person propose these Towns and Villages do with this increased income? He says candidates for Mayor or Town Supervisor will have an appealing argument when running for office, which will be the following:
"If elected, I will appoint and supervise a Town Attorney General to go after the monopolists and produce enough revenue from the lawsuits to provide FREE healthcare, FREE dental care, FREE prescription drugs, and REDUCED real estate taxes for residents of the town."
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