July 9, 2013
By Marc Bussanich
New York, NY—Eliot Spitzer says that comptrollers, unions and state pension funds across the country can rein in unscrupulous corporate America’s behavior by owning 5 percent of Wall Street firms that got bailouts after the financial crash of 2008, while brushing off any concern about cries of class warfare emanating from Wall Street should he be New York City’s next comptroller. Watch Video
He faced the music on Monday at Union Square, five years after he resigned as governor amid a prostitution scandal, as reporters peppered him with questions and a heckler hounded him with insults.
In an article he wrote for Slate in December 2011 Mr. Spitzer wrote that while laws and regulations create boundaries to behavior, executives will still make bad decisions. Indeed, he believes that it wasn’t blatant illegality that caused the crash in financial markets in 2008 but a “horrific judgment exercised by senior executives and regulators.”
Rather than pass more laws or enact regulations, Mr. Spitzer said at Union Square that comptrollers wield enormous power by virtue of being institutional shareholders.
“Ownership trumps regulation. I’ve been saying this for years. Ownership is better than regulation or prosecution if you want to affect corporate behavior. Shares are controlled by comptrollers around the nation; that is the huge untapped power they have,” said Spitzer.
When asked if he was concerned about Wall Street decrying attempts by a city agency to dictate executive compensation or more decision making by the public within the private sector as class warfare, Spitzer said, “When Wall Street is crying ‘class warfare,’ we’re living in Alice in Wonderland.”
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