There’s been a lot of talk here at Netroots Nation about the reception New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman will receive from the crowd at tonight’s keynote speech. And I have learned that this talk will transform into a direct action tonight at the speech.
Schneiderman is the co-chair of a task force that’s supposed to be investigating the banks over their mortgage securitization practices during the housing bubble. But few resources have been devoted to the effort, all the subpoenas filed have been civil, and the task force increasingly looks like a public relations effort to take existing investigations and pretend that a central authority exists around them. Schneiderman has been variously accused of being either in league with those in the Administration who want to stop investigations, or simply played by them.
Regardless, his reputation, at least among the progressive community, is on the line with the task force. And his office has rolled out an aggressive PR strategy of their own, one which includes this keynote speech. The swag bag Netroots Nation attendees receive includes an issue of The American Prospect with a fawning cover story about Schneiderman, termed “The Man the Banks Fear Most.”
But attendees knowledgeable about the trajectory of the task force, and the lack of accountability for the big banks for their role in crashing the economy, are not really fooled by this. I’m told there will be specific actions tonight to increase pressure on Schneiderman to deliver. The keynote is just a speech, and Schneiderman is not scheduled to take questions. But he will apparently be made very aware of the discontent over the relative inaction of the task force. Leaders of some of the major constituent groups involved in housing policy expressed exasperation over Schneiderman, to the extent that they didn’t feel like they could defend his actions.
Ultimately and sadly, I assume that not everyone at the conference is entirely aware of the foreclosure fraud settlement, the task force, and Schneiderman in general. So he may get a relatively warm reception. But a small but persistent minority have other plans in mind.