NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Activist Attorneys General Attack Businesses

August 1, 2002

Buoyed by their successful attacks on the tobacco industry, state attorneys general are increasingly banding together to attack businesses and collect money to bail out ailing state budgets.

  • After New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer forced Merrill Lynch & Co. to settle and pay $100 million in penalties to 50 states and overhaul the way it monitors and pays stock analysts, at least a half-dozen states joined him in investigating other securities firms -- aided by state laws which often require a lower standard of proof than federal law.
  • Attorneys General are pressing antitrust charges against Microsoft Corp. and investigating whether the pharmaceutical industry is illegally inflating prescription-drug prices.
  • Eleven attorneys general have even warned President Bush of possible litigation if his administration does not do more to force industry to lower emissions of so-called greenhouse gases.

Two-thirds of state attorneys general are Democrats, note observers.

Source: Russell Gold and Andrew Caffrey, "United Crime Busters," Wall Street Journal, August 1, 2002.

For WSJ text (requires subscription),,SB1028139997987000640-search,00.html


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