In an article in the Wall Street Journal titled “Investigators Seek More Firepower”, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is quoted pleading for more resources from the administration.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, one of the five officials in charge of the group, said it is making impressive progress but could accelerate those efforts with more investigators.
“Do I want more resources, want things to go faster? Yes,” he said in an interview. “Am I asking for more? Yes. Do I believe we’ll get that? Yes.” A spokesman for the attorney general declined to specify how many extra people are needed.
That’s a public quote, so Schneiderman is necessarily being passive aggressive about it. This anonymous quote from a Politico story a few days ago is more brazen.
A government source working on housing issues said the unit is struggling in part because of a lack of commitment from the White House since its roll out in the State of the Union, citing a leadership vacuum since DOJ Associate Attorney General Thomas Perrelli left the Obama administration in February.
“It’s not happening at the level that it should be happening,” the source said. “There’s no person with juice at the federal level that is banging heads and making sure things are happening the way they should.”
Just what’s going on? Who is unhappy with the deal cut at the State of the Union? All the issued subpoenas by this task force have been civil, and bank attorneys are gearing up for monetary penalties. So this isn’t a task force that’s going to put handcuffs on anyone significant, it’s a task force designed for public relations purposes. Someone working on ‘housing issues’ is publicly praising Tom Perrelli, who structured the task force so it would be focused on civil rather than criminal penalties. This person is also blaming the existing White House staff for not knocking heads, meaning that there is frustration that the PR campaign isn’t working as it should. Whose ass is on the line here? Certainly not Obama’s, who is going to do just fine, whether he goes on the speaker circuit and becomes immensely wealthy by taking financial services industry cash or gets reelected and then goes on the speaker circuit. So who is trying to shift blame, anonymously?
My guess is that it’s coming from Schneiderman’s office, not because Obama isn’t living up to his promises, but because Obama’s broken promises mean that Schneiderman is slowly becoming an embarrassment and a laughing stock, seen both as a light-weight when it comes to legal work and a pushover in politics.
Schneiderman still has a few years left as AG, so he could turn it around, but these first couple of years have been remarkable. Have you ever seen someone’s political reputation collapse this quickly without a sex or corruption scandal?