Why NYS Attorney General Is 2nd Most Powerful Office in US

The thought expressed in the heading immediately above only came to me today (1/26/06) when starting to think about what I can say to encourage you to support my candidacy for NYS Attorney General. When the idea came, I recognized it immediately as an inventor (and I am an inventor also) recognizes his/her invention. I have been writing around the subject since September, 2004, when I wrote my final book in a 3-book series, Saving Main Street and Its Retailers - see Website for Saving Main Street and Its Retailers. I referred often to the repeated successes of NYS Attorney General Spitzer (now a candidate for NYS Governor, based on such successes). His successes were based on identifying fraudulent activities by major corporations and getting them to pay money to the Office of the Attorney General, some of which was undoubtedly used to provide partial reimbursement to the consumer or business victims of the alleged fraudulent practices. During 2003, Spitzer obtained $2.3 billion in settlements from these large corporations.

There is an additional important point. Because of the selection of federal judges who can be expected to rule in favor of big business and against consumers, resort to the federal courts is becoming far less of an option for aggrieved American citizens, and the pendulum has swung to voter action in the marketplace rather than trying to seek relief in the bi-annual quadrennial national elections rigged in favor of big business.

Based on these successes, Eliot Spitzer clearly (as it seemed to me) was going to be making a bid for higher office, which to my mind at the time meant one of the following: U.S. President, U.S. Vice President, U.S. Senator (from NY) or Governor of NY. It was no surprise to me that Spitzer, according to the mainstream media, has become a runaway shoo-in for Governor of New York. If he wins the election (which we in the Green Party, the 911 movement and many others, are going to try very hard to prevent), Spitzer would then be in a position to run for the Presidency of the United States, as a strong contender (but with ever-increasing opposition).

Upon my analysis, however, I see that Mr. Spitzer is voluntarily vacating the 2nd most powerful political office in the United States (if not world), in exchange for a lesser office (NYS Governor), but an office which is considered by most voters to be far more important than NYS Attorney General. I don't want to pick any fights with the Green-Party candidate for Governor as to which office is more powerful. The important thing is that with the Green Party Governor, Green-Party U.S. Senator and I working together with the power of these three offices, the winners will be the residents and small businesses of New York State, and the losers will be the multinational corporations which are going to see a reduction of their profitability in New York State because we are going to make sure that the multinational corporations obey the law. This means, for example, an end to outsourcing of your jobs to other countries without appropriate review and penalties; no more fraudulent practices to steal money from New Yorkers; no more monopolistic practices by major retailers to drive competing businesses out of business and eliminate the higher-paying jobs and related small-business opportunities. There is much, much more. Just read the 45 issues discussed elsewhere in this website to see what I mean.

The New York Attorney General Does Not Need the Governor's Approval

A Governor who appoints the State Attorney General would have the power of the Attorney General, and if New York did not elect its Attorney General the Governor would have the power of both offices. But, New York is one of 39 states (plus Guam) in which the Attorney General is elected, which gives the Attorney General the independence and authority under law to do what the Attorney General decides to do and not what anyone requires the Attorney General to do. Of course, the NYS Attorney General does not tell the Governor what programs the Governor should push or not push. At best, the NY Attorney General would advise the Governor on legal options or what activities the law seems to prohibit, and the Governor then does what he/she wants to do, and goes back to voters in due course for approval or disapproval.

The Attorney General Does Not Have to Get an Opinion from Anyone

State agencies and officials before acting often need to get an opinion from the Attorney General before acting, or going into court. But the Attorney General himself/herself does not need to go to some other person for any such opinion. The Attorney General decides that matter for himself/herself. Also, the Attorney General does not go to some outside agency or lawfirm for legal advice or representation. The New York Attorney General provides that to himself/herself. As you can see, this makes the Office of the New York Attorney General a very efficient and powerful office, if occupied by the right person.

NY Attorney General Doesn't Need Any New Legislation

The elected attorney general does not need any new legislation. He or she has thousands of laws to enforce, far more than enough to do the job. Thus, the elected attorney general is n ot required to put together a coalition of legislators to obtain enactment of a desired statute.

NY Attorney General Creates His/Her Own Money Supply (Funding) By Doing His/Her Duty

The elected attorney general does not need to go to the state legislature to obtain funding for his/her increased law-enforcement activities. The attorney general has the power of office to raise money to fund the increased activities through such increased enforcement of law. Spitzer raised $2.3 billion in 2003 (commencing lawsuits or threatening to commence lawsuits against major corporations) using only an estimated 2% of his power as Attorney General. Imagine what could be done for New York if the elected attorney general uses most of his/her power.

NY Attorney General Doesn't Need to Convince (or Bribe) Political Bosses

The New York Attorney General is very powerful because he/she has the power within the elected office to enforce existing law and does not have to go to any political bosses, federal or state, to make deals with them to get their approval or funding for anything the Attorney General wants to do. The Attorney General has a great deal of discretion to do what he/she thinks is the right thing to do, which means that New Yorkers should only support and vote for a New York Attorney General who has plans to do something more than just occupy the office until time to move on.

The NY Attorney General Has the Power of the Legislature, Executive and Judicial Branches Combined

The power of the elected attorney general is awsome. He/she decides what is just when given the facts (similar to a judge or jury) and then has the power to do something about it. The attorney general decides what to do and does it, but with more tools and less consensus-building than the other members of the Executive Branch of government. The attorney general's activities can be much more effective than a legislature, because the members of most legislatures cancel each other out most of the time and produce very little that is positive and beneficial to the rank and file voters, members of the middle class and small businesses. Instead, legislatures tend to destroy the interests of most voters because the good intentions of the well-meaning legislators are unable to be translated into statutes. If you want a "statute" to achieve some legitimate purpose, go to the elected attorney general and he/she may be able to create the effect of a statute through a lawsuit or the threat of a lawsuit. What the office needs is a person willing to act for the public interest instead of the interest of the major corporations and their shareholders and protectors.

Having three powerful positions (Governor, Attorney General and U.S. Senator) occupied by Green Party candidates can and should work to the major advantage of New Yorkers. In Presidential elections, the Vice President (as the 2nd elected executive) is often nominated to appease a warring faction of the party and has little hope to participate meaningfully in absence of a total transfer of power to the Vice President, such as with the transfer from John F. Kennedy to Lyndon B. Johnson.

When the Governor appoints the Attorney General (which is the case in 11 states and as to the U.S. Attorney General), the potential of the attorney filling that role is compromised and weakened, because the decisions are made by the Governor (or President), usually not a lawyer, and certainly not as well versed in what is possible legally as the Attorney General himself. Thus, the Attorney General in such a situation becomes an advisor and advocate and wholly subsumed under the personality and programs of the Governor (or President), which you know from experience is more legislative than what can be done without legislation.