Mar 7, 2014
Not Too Big to Jail: Eliot Spitzer Is Wall Street’s Worst Nightmare
Posted on Aug 19, 2013
By Ellen Brown, Web of Debt
Yves Smith, writing on her blog Naked Capitalism on July 25th, expanded on this threat. She noted that private equity [PE] investment managers had persuaded their clients that their limited partnership agreements [LPAs] were a form of “trade secret,” and that nobody was looking closely at whether PE firms were complying with the fee and expense provisions of their agreements:
Hence also the $1.5 million ad campaign against Spitzer brought by a coalition of business leaders, labor unions and women’s groups.
On July 10th, the head of the local chapter of a national women’s advocacy group asked a small gathering outside City Hall:
The speaker lumped Spitzer with Anthony Weiner, who is running for mayor after sending out sexually explicit tweets, and Vito Lopez, who is running for City Council after resigning from the Assembly over sexual harassment allegations. She asked whether these men would address the issues that matter to women, “or are they just going to see us as objects?”
Sexual exploitation is an issue that matters to women, but the best way to save women from the sort of desperation that leads to exploitation is to keep them out of ruinous debt. Wall Street fraud, corruption and abuse have caused millions of homeowners to lose their homes and have tipped cities toward bankruptcy; and Spitzer is one of the brave few who has exposed and attempted to prosecute those predatory practices. As comptroller, he could make more information available to the public concerning the companies in which public pension funds are invested, look out for exploitive fees, insist on plain English reporting of derivatives exposure, and take steps to ensure that nurses and teachers are not being financially exploited. He can monitor contracts and business dealings and help protect the city from the kinds of rip-off schemes that deplete city funds for education, infrastructure, and the social safety nets that women, particularly, rely on.
In a December 2011 article in Slate titled “We Own Wall Street,” Spitzer argued that bad corporate behavior could be stopped by a political movement uniting shareholders, pension funds and mutual funds – the actual owners of the corporations – who could then take coordinated action demanding transparency and accountability.
This is the sort of creative thinking that will be needed if we the people are to take back our power from Wall Street and the corporatocracy. We need a mass movement, coordinated action, and leaders who can organize it. Eliot Spitzer is one of the few people in a position to play that role who have the experience, vision and courage to carry it through.
Ellen Brown is an attorney, president of the Public Banking Institute, and author of twelve books including the best-selling Web of Debt. In The Public Bank Solution, her latest book, she explores successful public banking models historically and globally. Her websites are http://WebofDebt.com, http://PublicBankSolution.com, and http://PublicBankingInstitute.org.
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