A Spitzer Rebellion

Everybody knows Eliot Spitzer. The New York attorney general has garnered national attention in the past few years for taking on everyone from power plants ...
by | September 26, 2005

Good_spitzer_1Everybody knows Eliot Spitzer. The New York attorney general has garnered national attention in the past few years for taking on everyone from power plants and investment bankers to mutual funds and the mob.

His efforts to combat corporate malfeasance earned him accolades including New York Magazine's Public Service Award and TIME's Crusader of the Year. Even Governing recognized Spitzer as a Public Official of the Year in 2002.

But one company is now accusing Spitzer of taking his corporate investigations too far.  Earlier this month, J. & W. Seligman & Co., an asset-management firm, sued the AG (and NY gubernatorial candidate) to stop him from further investigating the company's mutual fund fees. Seligman says Spitzer is overstepping his role in looking into the firm.

The op-ed page of the Wall Street Journal, which has opposed Spitzer's tactics to the point of calling him "The Lord High New York Executioner," is pleased. In an editorial on Friday, the Journal said that "details of the lawsuit lift the veil on the New York Attorney General's nasty prosecutorial tactics." The WSJ continued:

[I]n standing up to Mr. Spitzer, the company is doing its business peers and the rule of law a favor. Unquestioned by a media that live off his news leaks, and unchallenged by businesses afraid of retribution, Mr. Spitzer has expanded his power to usurp the legitimate roles of elected officials and federal regulators. Kudos to Seligman for blowing the whistle.

WSJ: Spitzer in Court (paid subscription)

ALSO: Lawsuit filed against Spitzer in mutual fund probe (Reuters)

Zach Patton | Executive Editor | zpatton@governing.com