All Things Considered, April 10, 2009
As New York's attorney general, Eliot Spitzer pursued the insurance company AIG and drove the company's longtime boss, Maurice "Hank" Greenberg, out of his job.
Spitzer, who last year was forced to resign as New York's governor after news of his involvement in a prostitution ring, now writes about AIG and other Wall Street matters for Slate.com.
In a recent Slate column, Spitzer takes exception to the idea that federal regulators lacked the power to stop financial abuses before the crisis.
"An effort is being made to suggest if only the regulators had had more power, they would have found a, b and c," Spitzer tells NPR's Robert Siegel. "Whereas, in truth, what we have gone through is a decade where regulators had the power but not the will.
"Unfortunately, the loss of will was more fundamentally damaging to us, because they should have done things that were visible and reacted to things that were visible."
As for skeptics who may point out that Spitzer's own participation in a scandal has earned him his place on the sidelines of public life, Spitzer says people can decide whether they find his perspective valuable.
"I look back at the record we had when I was attorney general, and if it suggests that there are some useful observations I can make about our current economic crisis, I'm happy to provide them when asked," he says.
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