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Spitzer, Eliot (1959–)

ELECTED NEW York attorney general in 1999, Eliot Spitzer gained national attention for his aggressive legal actions against Wall Street giant, Merrill Lynch. In 2001, Spitzer began investigating Merrill Lynch for promoting stocks of companies to which it had financial ties.

Crap and Junk

Spitzer's investigation turned up e-mails from Merrill Lynch stock analysts indicating that the company routinely published favorable stock ratings for certain companies that they privately thought were of dubious value. One of Merrill's most famous analysts, Henry Blodget, was found to have called stocks “crap” and “junk” that had been given a strong recommendation to investors.

All told, Spitzer's office subpoenaed about 30,000 e-mails from which investigators pulled a number of similarly incriminating messages. To force Merrill Lynch to the bargaining table, Spitzer released ...

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