Sunday, August 07, 2005

Maybe Spitzer isn't so bad after all

New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer is infamous for his crusade against the securities industry. Our friend Don Luskin is one of Spitzer's biggest critics: in a 2003 SmartMoney column, he explained why market timing isn't the evil that Spitzer would have you think it is; don't miss this as a great supplement. Don has also attacked Spitzer for going after everything in the securities industry but the real problem of fraud; for engaging in activities more questionable than what he's accused firms of doing; Spitzer's appearance of impropriety when one of Spitzer's staff got a job with Merrill Lynch after Spitzer raked it over investigatory coals; and Spitzer's universal tactic of slandering firms until they settle. Essentially, Spitzer uses the court of public opinion to win, because he can't in court. When the accused won't cop a plea and is fairly vindicated by a jury, as in the case of Theodore Sihpol, Spitzer won't give up: he'll continue his obsession by retrying him.

But Spitzer might be redeeming himself a little. This time he's going after Air America (go to for login info so you don't have to register), which received a highly suspect $875,000 loan from the "Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club" -- which happens to receive almost all its funding from government grants.

I suppose it didn't matter that Air America's founder, Evan Cohen, is currently "development director" at "Gloria Wise" and is being paid $74,000 per year. Naw.



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