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Public Statements

Letter to Attorney General Miller

Today, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, and 20 members of New York's congressional delegation chided Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller for his dismissal of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman last week from ongoing mortgage settlement negotiations, demanding that Attorney General Miller explain how he intends to ensure that New York's interests are represented during the remainder of the negotiation talks. The national committee of state Attorneys General are working to settle numerous complex legal matters arising from the 2008 housing collapse.

"As members of the New York congressional delegation, we are united in fighting for a fair resolution of the housing crisis that has devastated tens of thousands of families across our state," the members wrote. "That is why we are deeply troubled by your recent action to silence New York's voice by removing New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman from an executive committee negotiating a nationwide settlement with the banks. We ask that you explain how New York's interests will be protected as negotiations move forward."

Below is the full text of the letter:

August 30, 2011

The Honorable Tom Miller
Attorney General
1305 East Walnut Street
Des Moines, IA 50319

Dear Attorney General Miller:

As members of the New York congressional delegation, we are united in fighting for a fair resolution of the housing crisis that has devastated tens of thousands of families across our state. That is why we are deeply troubled by your recent action to silence New York's voice by removing New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman from an executive committee negotiating a nationwide settlement with the banks. We ask that you explain how New York's interests will be protected as negotiations move forward.

New York's homeowners and investors have been hit hard by the economic impact of wrongdoing related to the mortgage crisis. According to the FBI, New York ranked as one of the top ten states for known or suspected mortgage fraud activity for two consecutive years. It also was one of the top ten states for reports of mortgage fraud across all originations in 2010. Undoubtedly, our state, the third largest in the nation, deserves a seat at any negotiating table that could potentially limit our state's ability to investigate and penalize wrongdoing done within our borders.

Raising legitimate concerns about elements of the proposed settlement is a responsibility of every member of the executive committee and should never be the basis for silencing a viewpoint. Your removal of Attorney General Schneiderman sets a dangerous precedent for other attorneys general who, out of fear of what might happen, may choose silence over voicing valid concerns with particular aspects of the proposed settlement. Moreover, your attempt to banish opposition rather than address varying viewpoints undermines both the validity of the process and any settlement reached by the committee.

New York deserves adequate representation during the remainder of the mortgage settlement negotiations. We look forward to hearing how you will ensure that New York's voice is heard.

Sincerely,

Jerrold Nadler
Carolyn Maloney
Maurice Hinchey
Joseph Crowley
Edolphus Towns
Carolyn McCarthy
Jose Serrano
Gary Ackerman
Timothy Bishop
Eliot Engel
Charles Rangel
Nita Lowey
Louise Slaughter
Paul Tonko
Gregory Meeks
Bill Owens
Yvette Clarke
Kathleen Hochul
Brian Higgins
Nydia Velazquez
Steve Israel


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