Elliot Spitzer has a whole new attitude about the financial companies inhabiting Wall St. now that he is governor. At one point in time and as state attorney general, Spitzer was a relentless critic, and his mere mentioning of a company's name was enough for tens of billions of dollars of market capitalization to disappear in a few hours. Spitzer strong-armed industry reform by threatening companies and individuals with prosecution while he was the state attorney general. These same companies became frequent and generous contributors to his political campaign when running for gubernatorial office. Now Governor Spitzer recognizes that New York's financial companies are an important tax- and job-generating source of economic strength in the state, and is committed to making the city the financial hub of the world.
A member of the panel formed to examine onerous rules and restrictions said to be hurting the state's attractiveness to financial companies said that Spitzer, now the governor, thinks it is important that he protect the economic viability of all of New York's citizens, including its companies. A business advocate in The New York Sun described it as Nixon going to China. The bludgeon of state oversight that the Governor wielded nimbly as attorney general is now an unbearable burden that Spitzer is ready to lighten. From the Sun:
Spitzer officials said the key problem is the unwieldy structure of state oversight over the industry as a whole. Four different agencies regulate the financial services industry: the Insurance Department, the Banking Department, the Department of State, and the Attorney General's office. Regulations, the bulk of which were developed more than a century ago, have become burdensome and inconsistent while financial services companies have grown more alike in the services they offer, in their financial structures, and in their methods of managing risk, officials said.
We've found that a good politician is always receptive to changes in circumstance and condition, especially when it's a function of his office. We're sure Wall Street firms are equally welcoming to the change in environment.
(Photo of Gov. Spitzer and Sen. Schumer, by aboutmattlaw at flickr)