Public Protection Unit
The Public Protection Unit enforces the laws that protect consumers and our natural resources. The Public Protection Unit is divided into the Consumer Protection and Antitrust Section and the Environmental Protection Section.
Consumer Protection and Antitrust
The Consumer Protection and Antitrust Section enforces the state's consumer protection laws, which prohibit unfair and deceptive business practices in a wide variety of areas, including:
- Charitable solicitations
- Consumer credit matters
- Debt collection
- Home improvement
- Mortgage-related complaints
- Sales practices
Many of the cases prosecuted are referred by other state agencies such as the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, and the Department of Financial Institutions. Consumer Protection staff also work with other states, the Federal Trade Commission, other federal agencies, and participate in multi-state investigations and enforcement actions.
Through enforcement actions, including the filing of lawsuits, the section seeks compliance with consumer protection laws through injunctions to stop fraudulent or deceptive practices, the imposition of forfeitures, and the recovery of restitution for injured consumers.
Antitrust staff enforce Wisconsin’s Chapter 133 antitrust laws, including laws related to: bid rigging; price fixing; secret rebates, and territorial allocation. The section also investigates alleged conspiracies among competitors, assists state agencies with investigations of illegal bidding on state contracts, and defends the state against antitrust allegations. Antitrust attorneys have pursued litigation against companies for nationwide and international conspiracies and monopolistic practices as part of multi-state groups consisting of other attorneys general's offices. Antitrust staff work with the Federal Trade Commission and U.S. Department of Justice to review proposed mergers and, pursuant to federal statute, Class Action Fairness Act notices.
More information for consumers can be found here.
The Environmental Protection Section enforces state environmental laws by prosecuting violations referred to the Attorney General by environmental regulatory agencies or requested by district attorneys. Most environmental violations are referred by the Department of Natural Resources. The practice section enforces the laws relating to:
- air pollution
- solid and hazardous waste
- water pollution; wastewater; water regulation and zoning; water supply
- hazardous substance spills
- underground storage tanks
- public nuisance
- natural resource protection
- radioactive waste
- land use
- public trust in navigable waters
The section defends the state and state agencies in environmental or natural resource related lawsuits, and litigation on environmental matters related to Indian law. The unit also represents the state’s interests in federal environmental cases upon authorization from the governor.
Report spills, leaks or potentially illegal activity to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources or to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Environmental Protection Contact Information:
Environmental Protection, Public Protection Unit
Wisconsin Department of Justice
P.O. Box 7857
Madison, WI 53707-7857
Telephone: (608) 264-9442
Wisconsin law does not authorize the Attorney General and employees of the Department of Justice to provide legal advice to private individuals. If you need legal advice or representation you may want to contact a private attorney. The State Bar of Wisconsin Lawyer Referral and Information Service can help you determine if you need a lawyer, and how to proceed if you do.