Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Spitzer Announces Candidacy for Governor of New York

New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer has formally announced his candidacy for Governor of New York. I have been impressed with Spizer due to his clear advocacy of capitalism (which may be helpful in refuting GOP sterotypes) while taking on those who abuse the system.

Spitzer's views can be seen in his article Capitalism With A Democratic Face published in TNR last March:

If there is one lesson that can be gleaned from the New Economy, Illustration by Alex Nabaumit is that the government's proper role is neither that of passive spectator nor lion tamer. The proper role of government is as market facilitator. Government should act to ensure that markets run cleanly as well as smoothly. It should prevent market failures and right them when they occur. And it should ensure that markets uphold the broad values of our culture rather than debase them. In this vision, government action is necessary for free markets to work as they are intended--in an open, competitive, and fair manner. In this vision, government helps to create, maintain, and expand competition, so the system as a whole can do what it does best: generate and broadly distribute wealth.

The Wall Street Journal
has listed some of Spitzer's major cases as Attorney General:

1999 -- Sued 17 utilities in five Midwestern states under the Clean Air Act, asserting they modified older power plants in ways that should have removed "grandfathered" status and triggered emissions reviews. One company, with eight plants, settled its share of the suits in 2000 for $1.2 billion in plant updates and $19.2 million in penalties.

Summer 2001 -- Kicked off investigation of conflicts of interest in stock research at Merrill Lynch. The probe eventually grew to include nine other top securities firms and in April 2003 resulted in a $1.4 billion final settlement.

September 2003 -- Launched an investigation into late trading and market timing at mutual-fund firms. By mid-2004, after an April indictment, his probes resulted in settlements with seven mutual-fund companies totaling more than $2 billion.

October 2003 -- Led a group of 12 northeastern states in a pair of suits to stop the Bush administration from rolling back Clean Air Act standards.

May 2004 -- Sued former NYSE Chief Dick Grasso and investment banker Kenneth Langone, head of the NYSE compensation committee from 1999 through 2003, alleging the compensation committee had been misled into approving an outsize pay package. Shortly after the filing, Mr. Grasso resigned. The case is wending it way toward the courts.

June 2004 -- Sued GlaxoSmithKline, maker of Paxil, saying the pharmaceuticals company had hidden the results of studies showing teenagers were at increased risk of suicide after taking the drug. Glaxo later settled the suit for a for $2.5 million and a promise to publish summaries of all of its drug trials in a registry.

October 2004 -- Sued top insurance broker Marsh & McLennan, saying it cheated corporate clients by rigging bids and collecting fees from major insurance companies for sending business in their direction.


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