AG Schneiderman: Presidential Aspirantions or Just Cause?

I feel sorry for the attorneys and other staff who work for the NYS Dept. of Law. It seems that starting with Eliot Spitzer their jobs are now defined by how often they get their leader’s name in the newspaper and whether they are helping them position themselves for a short layover in Albany on their way to the White House.

In some cases the three Musketeers — Spitzer, Cuomo and Schneiderman — have chosen targets that are appropriate given a reasonable reading of the AG’s responsibilities and duties. In other cases, however, it appears as if they are looking for wounded elephants that can be taken down without much resistance.

The latter seems to be the case with Mr. Schneiderman’s suit against the Mortgage Electronic Registration System (MERS). Any attack against the banking industry and the mortgage infrastructure — particularly any attack that does not further tarnish the FHA, Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae — is sure to garner headlines without regard for the merits of the case. The suit against MERS seems particularly flimsy and misguided.

And, as has been noted with regard to the recent settlement with the five large banks by many of the states’ attorneys general including Mr. Schneiderman, neither proof of harm to more than a few home owners nor remedy of the supposed harm seem to be the primary focus of the litigants. That leaves one no choice but to conclude that the motives are political.

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