Should Wall Street Fret Eliot Spitzer’s Return to Politics?

Joe Goldman |

Elliot Spitzer, the former governor of New York who resigned amid a prostitution scandal, is seeking addition to New York City’s Comptroller ballot.

Spitzer will need New Yorkers to forgive his embarrassing conduct in 2008, and it remains to be seen how voters will react to his political comeback attempt. However, Wall Street is already reacting to the news with groans and objections.

As New York attorney general, Spitzer became Wall Street’s de facto chief of police. During his tenure, Spitzer sued mutual fund brokers and almost every major investment firm on Wall Street, accused AIG of fraud, and attacked NYSE CEO Richard Grasso’s pay package, among many other cases. Needless to say, Spitzer is not an ally of Wall Street.

The New York City Comptroller is essentially in charge of the city’s finances. Duties include auditing the financial performance of city agencies, issuing reports on the state of the city economy, marketing and selling municipal bonds, managing debt and pension funds, and making city-related fiscal recommendations, among others.

Consequently, Spitzer’s Comptroller duties would once again directly coincide with many of Wall Street’s operations, in which Spitzer could re-implement a crackdown on many financial practices. If elected, Spitzer could issue subpoenas and control the allocation of New York’s pension funds, much of which are invested in mutual funds and Wall Street investment banks.

Spitzer hopes that this political strategy appeals to the “little guy” who may feel overpowered by the influence and power of Wall Street, just like it did during the 1990’s and 2000’s.                                                                                                

However, financial executives have a lot of power and certainly a lot of money. When the election approaches this September, it’s safe to assume who could be funding the anti-Spitzer political campaign.

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