Center for American Progress

: A Policy Address by Attorney General Eliot Spitzer (D-NY)
Past Event

A Policy Address by Attorney General Eliot Spitzer (D-NY)

How Playing By the Rules Helps Strengthen the Economy

12:00 AM - 11:59 PM EDT

A Policy Address by Attorney General Eliot Spitzer (D-NY)
How Playing By the Rules Helps Strengthen the Economy

May 18, 2005
• Eliot Spitzer: Video
• Transcript: Full text (PDF)

Note: All video provided in QuickTime (MPEG-4)  format.


Eliot Spitzer took office in 1999 and through a series of innovative actions has redefined the role of Attorney General. He investigated conflicts of interest by investment banks, illegal trading practices by mutual funds and bid rigging in the insurance industry. He has recovered billions of dollars for small investors and other consumers in these cases and was the catalyst for industry-wide reforms. He sued Midwest power plants and achieved significant reductions in the emissions that are responsible for acid rain and smog in the Northeast. He exposed the dangerous practice by pharmaceutical companies of concealing information about the clinical trials of drugs, and helped develop new disclosure policies in the industry.

Again and again, Attorney General Spitzer has acted to stop fraud in the marketplace, to level the playing field for honest businesses and to help restore confidence in the markets. As a result of these and other actions, he has won national acclaim. He was named “Crusader of the Year” by Time magazine; the “Sheriff of Wall Street” by 60 Minutes; and “The Enforcer” by People magazine. Reader’s Digest magazine called him America’s “Best Public Servant.” The title that most accurately reflects his role is “the People’s Lawyer.” The cases that mean the most to him are his pioneering labor rights cases to ensure the minimum wage and decent workings conditions for immigrants and other low-wage workers in service industries. He has also been an aggressive advocate for taxpayers, exposing misconduct in state authorities and pressing for greater accountability throughout state government.

He began his career in public service as a clerk to U.S. District Court Judge Robert W. Sweet and later served as an Assistant District Attorney in Manhattan under Robert Morgenthau from 1986-1992, rising to become Chief of the Labor Racketeering unit where he successfully prosecuted organized crime and political corruption cases. He also spent time in private practice with Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison, and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom. He was also a partner at Constantine & Partners.

He has contributed significant time and energy to community service and, with his wife, Silda Wall, formed the Children for Children Foundation. He is a 1981 graduate of Princeton University and a 1984 graduate of Harvard Law School, where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review. He and Silda live with their three daughters in Manhattan.