New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman talked about how he earned a reputation as “Sheriff of Wall Street” and gave his thoughts on the Occupy movements during an appearance on the public radio “Marketplace” broadcast today. Attorney General Schneiderman said he thinks many Americans share the concerns expressed by Occupy Wall Street and the other protests it inspired.
Attorney General Schneiderman and Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden recently decided to launch investigations into whether banks handled mortgages and foreclosures improperly prior to the financial crisis. The Attorney General explained to “Marketplace” that he started the investigation because prior inquiries only focused on conduct at the banks after the financial collapse.
“The banks have been demanding releases for other conduct — for things that haven’t been investigated. And Beau and I and some other A.G.s have said we’re not giving releases for things that haven’t been fully investigated, we’re not giving releases for things that really aren’t the subject of the discussions underway,” Attorney General Schneiderman said.
Attorney General Schneiderman and his predecessor, former Governor Eliot Spitzer, have both been called the “Sheriff of Wall Street” during their time in office.
“I think that the term really became popular back when Eliot Spitzer was the A.G. and we were in an era where, during the Bush administration, a lot of the federal agencies were slow to please Wall Street,” the Attorney General said.
Attorney General Schneiderman also discussed the Occupy movements that have spread from the financial district in the last two months. He called the protests “the more visible tip of a big iceberg” and said they are a manifestation of frustration with the financial industry felt by many people in the country.
“I think that when you cut through some of the more flamboyant stuff that gets a lot of media attention, what I hear from Occupy Wall Street and the other Occupy movements is really the same thing I hear from most Americans. At the bottom, it’s the idea that they’re demanding accountability; they have a sense that the banks got bailed out, we’re holding the bill and no one was held accountable,” Attorney General Schneiderman said.