Spitzer

NEW YORK -- The nation's 31 Democratic attorneys general aren't likely to follow the lead of former New York AG Eliot Spitzer by targeting the high-rolling financial sector for future legal action.

Then again, neither is now-Gov. Spitzer, it appears.

Rather than emulate Spitzer and pursue their own bankers, brokers and accountants, Democratic AGs now aim for more "blue-collar" issues, according to an Oxford Analytica (OA) report May 30 at Forbes.com.

The report appeared the same day that Spitzer announced he had signed an order ultimately aimed at creating a new, updated state regulatory system for the finance sector he once terrorized.

The New York State Commission to Modernize the Regulation of Financial Services will report on reform of the current, rule-based system in June 2008. It contains representatives from industry, government and consumer groups.

Such a collegial approach to reform contrasts with Spitzer's aggressive pursuit of brokers, bankers and insurers during his two-term rule as New York attorney general. But the OA report doubts that other Democratic AGs will, as business fears, follow suit.

That's because Democrats nationwide are returning to the Party's traditional populist issues in areas such as health, environment and consumer protection, OA writes. And that means fewer suits against corporate lenders and more against student lenders.

Also popular are actions against sectors that serve largely blue-collar and low-income populations, LegalNewsLine has recently reported. These include payday-loan services and sub-prime mortgage providers.

The new wave, such as California's Jerry Brown, have moved from targeting corporate abuse toward issues with more broad-based appeal. So in a state that reveres its green image, Brown has put global-warming issues front and center of his legal strategy.

So a long-feared repeat by business of Spitzer's all-out assault on the finance sector isn't on the horizon, OA writes. "No Democratic attorney general appears interested in extending Spitzer's agenda of targeting Wall Street abuses."

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