New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman To Head Obama's New Mortgage Agency

Last night's presidential address was all about the state of our great nation, but New Yorkers got a nod with the announcement that our very own attorney general will head a new task force charged with investigating abusive lending and risky mortgages. You know, all that fun stuff that led to the housing crisis and destroyed our economy...

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman will chair the new unit, which Barack Obama discussed in his speech last night, saying the group will target Wall Street and the big, bad banks and mortgage lenders that messed everything up for the rest of us.

"This new unit will hold accountable those who broke the law, speed assistance to homeowners, and help turn the page on an era of recklessness that hurt so many Americans," he said.

A task that big requires a New Yorker like Schneiderman, who was formerly a state senator representing the Upper West Side before he became the state's top law enforcement officer.

The Huffington Post first broke the news yesterday, reporting that the unit will operate as part of the president's Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force.

It's a big move for progressives and for Schneiderman who, as HuffPo noted, was a critic of the proposed settlement between the 50 state attorney generals and the five largest banks. Schneiderman attended the speech last night.

The AG last night tweeted some words of thanks to the president, saying, "Would like to thank @whitehouse @TheJusticeDept for creating a joint investigation to bring justice for victims of the mortgage crisis." Shortly after that, he tweeted, "America deserves a robust & comprehensive investigation into the financial meltdown to ensure justice and accountability" and "We will continue our steadfast commitment to hold those responsible for the economic crisis accountable/bring justice for homeowners."

After Obama announced this, some emails and tweets popped up on Runnin' Scared's radar, a lot of them cheering on Schneiderman.

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, who plans to run for mayor, sent out a response statement to the speech focused on the news of our attorney general's new hat.

"Tonight, predatory lenders and other bad actors were put on notice when New York's own Attorney General Eric Schneiderman was appointed by President Barack Obama to head a new special unit tasked to investigate misconduct and illegal behavior that led to the ongoing mortgage crisis facing our country,"he said.

"Eric's deeply held values and unabashed dedication to giving people a voice and the strength to stand up to powerful interests are what set him apart. Struggling homeowners can find peace of mind knowing Eric Schneiderman is on the case and fighting for them," he said.

City Councilman Jumaane Williams, who has been a big Occupy Wall Street supporter, also tweeted some kind words for Schneiderman, saying, #Congrats to @AGSchneiderman, who @BarackObama announced in the #StateoftheUnion as chair of the new #MortgageCrisis Unit. #Greatchoice!

In his speech, Obama also said that the Financial Crimes Unit would be staffed by "highly trained investigators to crack down on large-scale fraud and protect people's investments."

Which inspired this tweet that grabbed our attention, from filmaker Michael Moore: ""We are starting a financial crimes unit." Occupy Wall Street, take a bow. #ows".

[SamTLevin / @SamTLevin]

Go to Runnin' Scared for all our latest news coverage.

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I assume you are referring to Goldman-Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, Jim, yes?

Jim Mooney
Jim Mooney

There have been a lot of unkept election-time promises. I'll believe they go after fraudulent casino-bankers the way Bush Sr. did, when Sidney Blanfein is frogmarched off in irons. That would be a joyous sight indeed ;')

But Obama has thrown a bone to the base before and it turned out to be an imaginary bone. This guy has to actually Do something Before election-time to gain my trust - not make some false promise to jail bankers After election so he can get big donations from Goldman-Sachs, as they both go wink-wink, nod-nod.

Although I'm not an Obama fan, I do get tired of commenters going on about socialism whenever he speaks, since it shows their ignorance of anything but the braying of hateradio. Heck, I hear old farts jawing against socialism when they are on Social Security and Medicare - I guess the inability to see a contradiction is a sign of senility.

There are many different kinds of socialism, and of capitalism. The middle class was Not built by the current brand of crooked crony capitalism invented by the Chicago School of Business a few decades ago. We had a more honest brand at one time.

Germany and the Netherlands have strong social programs, but they also have strong capitalism, thriving economies, and they are making and exporting things, which we are not. Why? Because they take their human capital that has been displaced, then support and retrain them instead of kicking them to the curb or prison, where they become liabilities. It's simple economics - crony capitalism turns human beings displaced by the dynamics of an economy into liabilities. Social capitalism returns them into assets.

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