Radnofsky urges Abbott to sue Wall Street


Texas should file a sweeping lawsuit against Wall Street firms similar to the ones that led to the multibillion-dollar tobacco settlements of the 1990s, Democratic attorney general candidate Barbara Ann Radnofsky argued Monday.

Shortly after she launched her appeal, incumbent Republican Greg Abbott’s office divulged that the state, the U.S. Department of Justice and other states have launched a broad inquiry into the Wall Street firms that were central to the financial collapse.

Radnofsky, a Houston lawyer challenging Abbott, published a legal briefing Monday that accuses Wall Street companies of deception, negligence, fraud and “causing [the] financial crisis.”

Modeled after the mass settlements generated from lawsuits against the tobacco industry, the complaint seeks about $18 billion in damages, as well as other reparations for Texas.


Jerry Strickland, a spokesman for Abbott’s office, said Texas and other investigators are focusing on “the relationships between Wall Street banks, rating agencies and the impact their conduct had on the financial crisis.”

He declined to comment on Radnofsky’s briefing. He also could not provide more details about Abbott’s investigation or which companies are being targeted. He could not say whether the investigation is civil or criminal in nature.

He said the inquiry involved nearly 30 states, as well as the federal government, and has continued for more than four months.

When told that Abbott’s office has already launched an inquiry into the financial industry, Radnofsky said that the attorney general is “dragging his feet.”

“He’s got everything he needs to file a lawsuit right now,” she said.

The press release Radnofsky sent out is here. You can also read the complaint and the brief, as well as a Daily Kos diary by Radnofsky that outlines her reasoning. I also had the chance to ask Radnofsky a few questions about this. Here’s what she had to say:

Download the MP3 file

If only Abbott had the same sense of urgency about this as he did about filing suit to overturn the Affordable Care Act. You can sign Radnofsky’s petition at SueWallStreet.com if you’d like to help persuade him to get cracking on it.

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