New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer encountered a setback in his campaign for governor this week when a prominent U.S. business official branded him a shameless self-promoter who abused his office, The Associated Press reports.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donahue in a speech Wednesday attempted to color Spitzer's crusades against Wall Street, the insurance industry and other formidable business concerns as strong-armed tactics that exceeded the authority of an attorney general.
Donahue's remarks, which came only one month after Spitzer threw his hat in New York's 2006 gubernatorial race, portrayed the attorney general as a political operative who is more willing to force businesses into making short-term deals than finding long-term solutions to complex problems.
Donahue supported his thesis by defining a pattern in which Spitzer used the threat of indictment to coerce executives into paying fines that ultimately enriched the state of New York. Donahue maintains the composite picture of Spitzer's activities as attorney general collectively portrays a man unfit to advance in politics.
The premise contradicts Spitzer's growing mythology of a modern-day Robin Hood challenging large corporations on behalf of defenseless investors after securities regulators fell down on the job.