A Valediction: Long-time Consumer Advocate Richard Cleland Hangs Up His Spurs

After taking his sweet time to do so, my old and good friend Rich Cleland retired from the FTC at the end of 2022.

I first met Rich about 40 years ago, when he ran the great Iowa AG Tom Miller’s Consumer Protection Division and I was working for the late great Texas AG Jim Mattox’s Consumer Protection Division.

I had the pleasure of working with Rich on a number of multi-state enforcement actions, including stopping AAMCO’s transmission repair fraud, forcing McDonald’s and several other fast-food companies to disclose what was actually in their foods, issuing guidelines for airline advertising and green marketing—in fact, too many to list (or at least too many for this silverback to recall).

While he was at the Iowa AG, Rich met and married his current wife Dr. Jackie Cleland, a clinical psychologist. From that union came many things, including their awesome daughter Emily, who is the only rocket scientist I know.

Rich eventually left Iowa to become a star at the FTC, in 1991.

Rich wore many hats at the Commission. I found a House document that sums up many of them.

Rich is expert in the advertising and marketing of health-related products and services, which was a common interest of mine, so I had the pleasure of being set straight by Rich many times. As an example of his acumen, here’s Rich being interviewed about Covid scams in 2020. 

On January 17, Rich is being honored by a luncheon at the Commission.

After which, spurs hung, he will climb back on his tractor.

I’ll attend and sit at the back.


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