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.
Most recently, on June 13, 2013, Attorney General Schneiderman and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón announced the formation of a nationwide Secure Our Smartphones (S.O.S) Initiative aimed at encouraging the cell phone industry to adopt technologies to deter the rising epidemic of violent incidents of smartphone theft by drying up the secondary market on which stolen devices are sold. As part of the launch of the S.O.S. Initiative, Schneiderman and Gascón commended New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli for urging the four leaders of the smartphone industry to protect consumers, and shareholder value, by working with law enforcement agencies and government officials to pursue a meaningful solution to the spike in smartphone thefts.
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. On June 4th, 2013, the Attorney General filed a lawsuit against HSBC Bank USA and HSBC Mortgage Corporation (USA) for failing to follow state law related to foreclosure actions, putting homeowners at greater risk of losing their homes. Attorney General Schneiderman is committed to bringing similar actions against other mortgage lenders who hold borrowers in the shadow docket in defiance of state law.
As part of a groundbreaking effort to bring transparency to the political process and protect donors to nonprofits, Attorney General Schneiderman adopted new regulations requiring nonprofit groups, including 501(c)(4) “social welfare” organizations that are registered with the state, to report the percentage of their expenditures that go to federal, state and local electioneering. Additionally, against a backdrop of an escalating drug abuse crisis, Attorney General Schneiderman proposed the “Internet System for Tracking Over-Prescribing Act,” or I-STOP. The I-STOP legislation creates a real-time, online database for doctors and pharmacists to report and track the prescribing and the dispensing of certain controlled substances.
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. He 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.
Also during his first year in office, Attorney General Schneiderman 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; 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.
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. Attorney General Schneiderman 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.
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.
Attorney General Schneiderman graduated from Amherst College in 1977 and Harvard Law School in 1982. He is the proud father of a daughter, Catherine.