Business Regulation and Antitrust Enforcement

Identify and deal with monopolies existing in NYS or any political subdivisions

The federal government, through the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission, have allowed almost every proposed merger, acquisition and consolidation of two or more businesses sometimes with a token requirement (such as a requirement that the number two and number three competitors sell one or two locations out of hundreds or thousands of locations involved in a merger). Because of this unprecedented permissiveness by the federal regulators, competitors in many industries have been leapfrogging over each other to merge into the largest company in an industry (credit card industry, for example), only to encourage other credit card companies to combine into a new number 1 combined company. Obviously the public is not served by these mergers. The credit card companies and their shareholders make huge profits out of the combination, but these profits come out of the pockets of consumers.

New York has a statute (called the Donnelley Act, Section 340 of the New York General Business Law) which is construed as if it were the federal Sherman Antitrust Act for New York State. The Attorney General of New York has the power and duty to enforce that statute, but there has been little or no enforcement of it for many years, with successive NYS Attorneys General allowing the non-existent federal regulation to govern, and the merger activity to take place. Of course, this merger activity created hugh (or obscene) profits for New York's Wall Street crowd, with Christmas/Hannukah bonuses sometimes amounting to $100,000 up to $1,000,000 or more per year for investment-banking employees who might have been school teachers, policepersons or military personnel but for whatever fluke oriented them to Wall Street and investment banking, at the right time.

These mergers created a huge amount of profits, some of which undoubtedly wound up helping to finance political campaigns, and certainly wound up as excess, unexpected revenue for New York State and New York City, which may account for the failure of the New York Attorney General to go after any of the growing monopolies.

The important thing to remember is that there are no free lunches. For every dollar of profit made by the merging companies and their investment bankers and financing banks, the public is losing that dollar and the economy loses the new and improved products and services that might have been brought to market by small companies if they had received the financing to create new jobs, products and services instead of having Wall Street money finance the dismantling of the economy and transfer of millions of jobs to other countries. The additional tax revenues for NYS from such merger activity was a bargain with the devil, and rank and file New Yorkers, predictably, are the losers.

As NYS Attorney General, and a lawyer highly experienced in antitrust law and antitrust litigation, I would use the power of the office to end some of the monopolies and bring back competition, lower prices, jobs, higher pay, and improved business opportunities for New Yorkers in a variety of industries.