Spitzer Relishes Idea of Comptroller’s Control over NYC Pensions, Warns Wall Street ‘Ownership Trumps Regulation’

by Will Allen

Candidate for New York City comptroller and ex-governor Eliot Spitzer signaled that he means to turn the comptroller’s office into a platform for shareholder activism if elected. “I love the job I’m running for,” he said, “because you have a say in so many fundamental decisions about the control of the pensions.”

He regards stewardship of the funds important, but also said, ”If we want corporate governance reform, it will come not by regulation or prosecution, but by ownership being heard. Ownership trumps regulation, as I’ve written in many places.”

“Corporate governance fails because shareholder voices are not being heard, institutional shareholders are passive,” Spitzer said on Hardball Monday afternoon.

Spitzer explained to guest host Michael Smerconish, “When I was attorney general, I redefined the office; I want to do that for comptroller.”

During Spitzer’s tenure as New York attorney general, he developed a reputation for hounding Wall Street with prosecutions. In one memorable incident, Spitzer told former Goldman Sachs chairman John Whitehead, “I will be coming after you. You will pay the price. This is only the beginning, and you will pay dearly for what you have done,” after Whitehead penned a Wall Street Journal op-ed critical of the attorney general.

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