Eric T. Schneiderman was elected the 65th Attorney General of New York State on November 2, 2010. As Attorney General, Schneiderman is the highest ranking law enforcement officer for the State, responsible for representing New York and its residents in legal matters. Schneiderman has worked to restore the public’s faith in its public and private sector institutions by focusing on areas including public integrity, economic justice, social justice and environmental protection.
In his first weeks in office, Attorney General Schneiderman launched a new “Taxpayer Protection Bureau” to root out fraud and return money illegally stolen from New York taxpayers at no additional cost to the state, an initiative which has yielded significant returns to date, as a result of its investigations. He has also bolstered the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, which has already recovered tens of millions of dollars for taxpayers on his watch. As part of his effort to crack down on corruption and restore the public’s trust in government, Schneiderman launched a groundbreaking initiative expanding his office’s authority to investigate public corruption involving taxpayer funds by partnering with the state Comptroller. In addition, the Attorney General appointed public integrity officers in every region of the state to give New Yorkers a place to go to report complaints of government corruption without the fear of local politics influencing the outcome.
A hallmark of Attorney General Schneiderman’s tenure has been standing up to powerful interests on behalf of everyday New Yorkers. The Attorney General has taken a leading role in the national fight for a comprehensive investigation of misconduct in the mortgage market, and for a fair settlement for homeowners that holds banks accountable for their role in the foreclosure crisis, provides meaningful relief to homeowners and investors, and allows a full airing out of the facts to ensure that abuses of this scale never happen again.
In addition, in his first year in office Attorney General Schneiderman has filed a legal challenge to the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) to compel the federal government to treat all New York State marriages equally; joined a Justice Department lawsuit to block AT&T’s proposed acquisition of T-Mobile because it would violate federal antitrust laws and damage competition in both New York and national wireless markets; sued federal regulators to force a health and environmental impact review of proposed gas drilling in the Delaware River Basin; and challenged the Indian Point nuclear power plant’s practices related to high-level radioactive waste storage, earthquake preparedness and fire safety, to name a few of the office’s many acts on behalf of New Yorkers. Attorney General Schneiderman has also kept our streets safe by shutting down multiple statewide narcotics rings, including the largest heroin operation in Buffalo history – a statewide drug trafficking pipeline from New York City to Western New York.
As the state’s top law enforcement officer, Attorney General Schneiderman brings with him a wealth of experience, in both the public and private sectors. Before becoming Attorney General, Schneiderman was praised as a leading reformer in the State Senate by numerous editorial pages and good government organizations across New York. Among his many legislative accomplishments, Schneiderman passed sweeping ethics reforms, chaired the committee to expel a corrupt senator for the first time in modern history, led the effort to reform the draconian Rockefeller drug laws, cracked down on health insurance companies seeking to deny coverage to vulnerable New Yorkers, and enacted the toughest law in the nation to root out fraud against taxpayers.
The Attorney General previously spent 15 years in private practice as an attorney, and later as a partner, at the firm of Kirkpatrick and Lockhart, where he handled complex litigation. He was also a public interest lawyer for many years, representing taxpayers in historic lawsuits against the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), tenants trying to evict drug dealers from their buildings, and women seeking access to health clinics.
Attorney General Schneiderman graduated from Amherst College in 1977 and Harvard Law School in 1982. He is the proud father of a daughter, Catherine.