Andrew Cuomo just held a press conference about an agreement he brokered with major internet providers to get them to block access to websites featuring child pornography.
It’s the latest example of Cuomo taking (and succeeding with) an issue with national implications. (School loan industry, mortgage lenders, social networking sites, Credit Rating Agencies and now Internet providers.)
At the end of today’s press conference, a reporter asked why those companies – Verizon, Time Warner Cable, and Sprint – needed the attorney general to broker such a deal. Which, is another way of asking Cuomo, basically, what exactly is your strategy here, and why does it keep working?
“Why do you need the attorney general?” Cuomo asked, to some laughter.
“This question comes up, often, in different contexts,"
"Well, it’s not that easy,” he said. “They’re competitive companies–one is vying with the other. And to do an industry-wide reform, [to] get the main players to agree to simultaneously is very hard, if not impossible to do.
"An attorney general, an outside force, [as a] product of an investigation will now develop a code of conduct, a new set of reforms, to right the wrong we’ve found. That tends to be a more effective vehicle to do an industry-wide reform."
Which is sort of what Eliot Spitzer was doing when he was attorney general. But Spitzer kept his focus on Wall Street. Cuomo, it seems, is aiming for something broader.