Is Schneiderman Already Starting the Blame Game Over the Mortgage Fraud Task Force Failure?

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?

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About Matt Stoller

From 2011-2012, Matt was a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute. He contributed to Politico, Alternet, Salon, The Nation and Reuters, focusing on the intersection of foreclosures, the financial system, and political corruption. In 2012, he starred in “Brand X with Russell Brand” on the FX network, and was a writer and consultant for the show. He has also produced for MSNBC’s The Dylan Ratigan Show. From 2009-2010, he worked as Senior Policy Advisor for Congressman Alan Grayson. You can follow him on Twitter at @matthewstoller.


  1. mitch

    The DoJ is too busy busting legal medical majuana facilities in California.

    The dichatomy of Obama landing at Moffet Field to wine and dine in Palo Alto while the DoJ bust medical Majuana facilites across the bay in Oakland, a place where Obama campaigned heavily in 2008, is all you need to know about this admistartion.

    1. C

      Yes and now add the to the irony sandwich the fact that Obama had promised to curb attacks on medical marijuana when campaigning, and now justifies this crackdown on the grounds that:

      “I can’t ask the Justice Department to say, “Ignore completely a federal law that’s on the books”…”

      Which is of course why he is having them prosecute fraud so vigorously.


      1. Aquifer

        And the less marijuana around, the more nauseating it gets, makes on lose one’s appetite for gov’t ….

  2. abelenkpe

    I see you put more worth in the anonymous quote. I mean who wouldn’t? It’s much easier to believe, and surely more fun if you are fond of conspiracy theories.

    This site should really stick to financial matters.

    1. shillsapoppin

      Silly, it’s only a conspiracy if they’re trying to hide it. Whereas when the Obama administration is publicly wiping their ass with Convention Against Corruption Articles 18 and 19, it’s not a conspiracy, it’s a game changer!

    2. Rex

      abelenkpe, what are you saying? You rule the discussion out because you can’t say every part of it is documentarily factual?

      Let’s take notes of this particular time and come back in a couple years when I am sure you will be able to rub our collective noses in the great ultimate prosecutional works of Eric Schneiderman.

      Or not.

      1. rotter

        He, and or She, is saying “lookwhatareyougoingtodovoteforromney?goaheadandsewhathappenstoyou.peon.youknowbarrackisyouronlyhopeofhangingontothelittleyouhaveleftsothereseeificare.
        or, at least thats what wants to be said.

    3. Francois T

      “This site should stick to financila matters”

      Thank you for this illuminating deep insight Professor: No one around here was remotely aware that the biggest mortgage fraud in recorded human history wasn’t a “financial matter”.

      Glad this got cleared out!

  3. Lloyd C. Bankser

    I’d like to put a good word in for Schneiderman.

    I hate it when Princess (my wife’s Shih Tzu) gets dingle berries on her ass hairs, but when this happens I know who to call.

    Yep, you guessed it. Eric Schneiderman. He may not be much when it comes to investigating mortgage fraud, but when it comes to licking a dog’s butt clean, no one does a better job than Schneiderman.

    Not Roger Lowenstein, not Ezra Klein, not Adam Davidson, not even Andrew Ross Sorkin.

    So if you’re a Wall Street billionaire and your pooch has a dingle berry problem, just pick up the phone, give Schneiderman a call, and say I recommended him.

    You won’t be disappointed.

      1. Warren Celli

        Good comment oops, these ass-hats need a lot more ridicule and disrespect than they are getting. Meanwhile as the dingleberry licker Schneiderman slurps away…

        “Georgia County Sheriff Evicts Four-Generation Family In Raid Resembling ‘Drug Bust’
        May 4, 2012

        In Atlanta, a Dekalb County sheriff evicted a four-generation family, which had been occupying its home, in a 3 am raid earlier this week. Christine Frazer, a widow who lost her job in 2009 and lived in her home for eighteen years, shared her story with Occupy Our Homes:

        The group says the early morning raid resembled a drug bust with officers sneaking across Frazer’s property in the middle of the night before fifty officers stormed her home to serve an eviction notice.

        Occupy Our Homes claims Frazer’s home was foreclosured on fraudulently by Investors One Corporation in October 2011, and she has been fighting it in court ever since. In January, activists set up camp on her lawn and told the Frazer family they would defend their home.

        Sheriff Thomas Brown said police used “intelligence” to wait until the activists were not present at the home to guard it, and neighbors were asleep, to serve the unprecedented eviction, which includes kicking out Frazer’s 85-year-old mother and 3-year-old grandson. Occupy alleges that police refused to allow Frazer to shower or for her elderly mother to get dressed and told Frazer to behave as if it were a fire drill.

        Adding insult to injury, the police then rounded up her dogs and took them to the pound.

        Again acting as though a major crime was going down, police blockaded the neighborhood and wouldn’t allow anyone to secure the family’s valuable personal belongings from the curb.

        More here…

        Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

    1. Jack M. Hoff

      LMAO Lloyd. I love it when someone can speak the truth in a humorous way. Schneiderman really is a POS.

  4. Ms G

    All tasked up and going . . . NOO-where. Judging from his passive-aggressive tone and empty message Schneiderman really has tumbled quite a way down the Obammit Humiliation Hole.

  5. Henry Hub

    Schneiderman is just another sleazebag politician. What amazes me is that someone actually thought he would be any different.

    1. facethemusic

      AG’s are not always politicians. The hope was that Schneiderman would put law enforcement over politics; after all, the law is the law, and he is the state’s chief law enforcement officer. That is why, when he held out from signing onto the 50 state bankster amnesty deal, people actually took notice and harbored hope. Then they got to him, he got stars in his eyes, and forgot that he took an oath to enforce the law. A sign that he had “bigger” aspirations. Too bad.

  6. Frank Warwick

    He’s on the up and up, wait for the announcement that he will replace Holder after the election.

  7. sleeper

    It seems to me that this task force follows the same pattern of the Elizabeth Warren app –

    First let folks get worked up and maybe even mad.

    Then create a task force, a commission or something.

    Then let the task force twist slowly in the wind by cutting funding or resources.

    Then declare a winner, give medals to everyone, and go home.

    And of course never fix the problem.

  8. Conscience of a Conservative

    Everyone long ago concluded this was a non-event. They’ll do a few investigations, hand out some trivial fines and call it a day. The biggest financial collapse since the depression and nobody broke any rules, certainly not criminal. Schneiderman lost all credibility here and he does not recover in my opinion. In the back of my mind, i’m hoping he gets a position in a 2nd term Obama administration. At least that way we can see he had a good motive for signing on.

    1. Grandiose Poster

      Yeah, well, if he gets a position in the Obama administration wouldn’t that mean he’s gained all credibility? Not the hard right with their completely dishonest agenda posed as conservatism, but more of a mainstream type of credibility.

  9. Susan the other

    “Have you ever seen someone’s political reputation collapse this quickly?” Yes. Everyone who has stepped up to take this on has been silenced. Everyone. Regardless of politics. Why?

    1. Rex

      “Everyone who has stepped up to take this on…”

      Sorry, what do you mean by THIS? I am honestly not sure what point you were making, Susan. If you are still watching this thread, could you be more specific?

  10. rotter

    I doubt it, remember, our dear leader dosent like to play the blame game (because he always loses?) – he likes to look forward and not backward, and allow the better angels of the future to raise the drapes on a new day and let the light tommorrow’s next monday shine in today.

    1. Rex

      I have (on a small number of occasions) felt that way after a night of drunken debauchery and inappropriate behavior. Much easier if we can just forget, forgive and move forward.

      Some people, however, seem to think appologies or even restitution might be in order. Bunch of bother. That sort of fence mending is delicate and difficult work. Why can’t they grok that I didn’t really expect to be such an a**hole and I’ll do my best not to let it happen again?

      Barack apparently takes my point of view. (Did my money help convince him?) Imagine the complicated process if he took sides with the larger number of people that got puked on or had their stuff smashed as a side effect of a run of fun that got a bit out of control.

      Yep, lets just look forward. Stuff happens that no one could forsee or really intended. Trust my intentions to drink less and go home early.

  11. different clue

    I suspect this task force is doing exactly what Schneiderman and the other AGs intended right from the start.
    I further suspect that Schneiderman is lying when he pretends to be disappointed at the level of support. He is lying to string a disappointed public along for some more crucial months or years.

    Hopefully Schneiderman’s every effort henceforth to stay in politics will be comprehensively and viciously destroyed by
    the disappointed members of the public.

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