Meet NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, The Man Who Could Be Wall Street's New Worst Nightmare

Eric Schneidermen

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

At Tuesday’s State of the Union Address, Obama announced that he would be creating a new task force within the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to coordinate all investigations on the causes of the subprime mortgage crises.The man he picked to co-chair that task force is New York’s Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman. It’s not a surprising choice. Schneiderman been aggressive in investigating banks for mortgage fraud in New York, and  has taken a leadership role in mortgage fraud settlement negotiations between banks and state AGs around the country.

Here’s what he had to say about his new job (from the L.A. Times):

“We’re undertaking a more coordinated effort to pull together all of the various strands of investigations relating to the conduct that created the mortgage-backed securities bubble and led to the market crash…There have been investigations going on in various states and branches of the federal government…We’re now making a concerted effort to pull everything together and move forward aggressively to address these issues.”

Basically, if you’re not a New Yorker (Schneiderman is a former State Senator) and didn’t know him before, get ready to know him now. We’re making it easy for you.

Schneiderman grew up in NYC and attended Harvard Law

Eric Schneiderman was born on New Years Eve, 1954. He grew up on Manhattan's Upper West Side, attended Trinity High School and Amherst College.

After Amherst, Schneiderman served for two years as the Deputy Sheriff of Berkshire County, Massachusetts. That may be where he caught the anti-crime bug.

Then Schneiderman went to Harvard Law, graduated with honours, and clerked for the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of NY.

Source: NY State Senate

He was elected to the New York State Senate in 1998.

There he stayed until he ran for attorney general. He represented parts of the Upper West Side, up to Washington Heights and some of the Bronx.

While he was in office he continued to practice as a public interest lawyer. For example, in 2001 and 2003 he won cases exposing fraud in the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority.

Source: New York State Senate

He was successful as a Senator, eventually serving as Deputy Democratic Leader from 2003-2006

His accomplishments also include:

  • Pushing legislation for tougher punishment on tax cheaters
  • Pushing for reform of the controversial Rockefeller Drug Laws

Source: NY State Senate

As for his personal life, it looks like politics is a family affair.

He's also friends with Alex Baldwin and David Einhorn, to name a few.

His powerful friends help him out with his campaigns too:'

Mr. Schneiderman was backed in part by labour unions, lawyers and hedge-fund managers, including donations from Greenlight Capital Inc.'s David Einhorn, Pershing Square Capital Management LP's William Ackman, and financier George Soros.

Source: Vos Iz Neias

He won despite the fact that his opponent out fund-raised him.

Schneiderman raised $2.2. million. Here's what the Daily News, Daily Politics had to say about had to say about it just a few months before election day:

With about half as much money banked as his nearest Democratic attorney general primary rival, Kathleen Rice, state Sen. Eric Schneiderman's campaign is putting a positive spin on the numbers.

Being behind didn't stop Schneiderman from returning a $10,000 donation from a condo developer that sued the AGs office, though.

Then, in 2010, he ran for Attorney General of New York, and accused his opponents of being soft on Wall St.

He got endorsements from Russell Simmons, Chuck Schumer and Al Sharpton. Here's one of his campaign commercials:

As AG, he's been very active even when you don't include his mortgage work

He's won settlements against big drug companies:

  • AstraZeneca settled with the state for $3.1 million for improperly marketing antipsychotic drug Seroquel.
  • Pharmacia Corp. paid $2.5 million for cheating the state's Medicaid program. It also had to pay $50,000 to cover investigation costs.

As for his interest in the mortgage crises, he's been advocating holding banks more accountable since he got into office

Check out this appearance on the Rachel Maddow show where he talks about it:

That's just how he feels, but this is what he's done...

Here are the two biggest things:

  • Partnered with the FHFA to investigate Fannie and Freddie
  • Spearheaded a wide-ranging probe into mortgage fraud at Banks like JP Morgan and BofA by AGs across the country (Schneiderman got bond insurance companies like MBIA involved in the suit as well).

On the other hand, he did get kicked off the 13-person executive committee for negotiating a nationwide foreclosure settlement with U.S. banks for 'undermining' it. In a nutshell, he didn't want to conceded any negotiations that would limit more investigations after the settlement was paid.

Wall Street may not like Schneiderman when all is said and done, but they do like these guys...

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