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September 21, 2011

By: Joel Cohen

Are There Limits To What The Government Should Be Doing? 

Governor Cuomo didn't necessarily relinquish his role as Attorney General on the day he was sworn in as the governor of New York. Rather, his executive actions as governor bear a resemblance to the Spitzer model of making his new more powerful office more than just a bully pulpit. You will remember what Eliot Spitzer as Attorney General famously communicated to those he regulated: Change your business plan to play by my (new) rules, or I'll indict you. Obviously, given his abbreviated tenure, Spitzer didn't have the time to use his gubernatorial muscle to change society from that lofty perch (and, of course, no governor has a gubernatorial power to indict). 

At one point, it was solely the Attorney General's office that would press a social agenda through enforcement of the law in New York. Nowadays, those who face government regulation and oversight face not only the Attorney General, but also a governor with a powerful regime of executive agencies.

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