Eric Schneiderman

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Eric Schneiderman
65th Attorney General of New York
Assumed office
January 1, 2011
Governor Andrew Cuomo
Preceded by Andrew Cuomo
Member of the New York Senate
from the 31st district
In office
January 1, 2003 – December 31, 2010
Preceded by Efrain Gonzalez
Succeeded by Adriano Espaillat
Member of the New York Senate
from the 30th district
In office
January 1, 1999 – December 31, 2002
Preceded by Franz Leichter
Succeeded by David Paterson
Personal details
Born (1954-12-31) December 31, 1954 (age 63)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Jennifer Cunningham (divorced)
Alma mater Amherst College
Harvard University
Religion Judaism

Eric T. Schneiderman (born December 31, 1954) is an American attorney and politician. He serves as the 65th and current New York Attorney General. He is a member of the Democratic Party. Prior to becoming Attorney General, Schneiderman served in the New York State Senate.

Early life, education, and early career

Schneiderman graduated from Trinity School in 1972, Amherst College in 1977, and from Harvard Law School in 1982.[1]

Schneiderman's career began when he served for two years as Deputy Sheriff in Berkshire County, Massachusetts.[citation needed] He also clerked for two years within the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, subsequent to which he became a partner at the law firm of Kirkpatrick and Lockhart.[2] As a public interest lawyer, Schneiderman served for over a decade as counsel to the West Side Crime Prevention program, and as lead counsel to the Straphangers Campaign's lawsuit against New York's Metropolitan Transit Authority.[citation needed]

New York Senate

Before being elected Attorney General, Schneiderman previously represented the 31st District in the New York State Senate. This comprises Manhattan's Upper West Side, as well as Morningside Heights, West Harlem, Washington Heights, Inwood, and Marble Hill, in addition to part of Riverdale, The Bronx.[3]


In the 1998 Democratic primary, Schneiderman, an anti-crime activist, defeated Daniel O'Donnell, a civil rights attorney, with 68% of the vote.[4] In the general election, he defeated Vincent McGowen with 82% of the vote.[5] He won re-election in 2000 (84%),[6] in 2002 (87%),[7] in 2004 (89%),[8] in 2006 (92%),[9] and 2008 (90%).[10]


This post has served as a source of irritation to some of his colleagues within the Senate Republican leadership, prompting the redrawing of Senator Schneiderman's district in 2002 in order to include Washington Heights.[citation needed] This prompted former City Councilman Guillermo Linares - the first Dominican elected official within New York City - to run against him in the Democratic primary in an ultimately unsuccessful bid for office.

In October 2009, Schneiderman was selected to chair the special committee to investigate the conduct of former Senator Hiram Monserrate. The bipartisan committee unanimously recommended Monserrate's expulsion from the Senate.


Schneiderman was the chief sponsor of the Rockefeller Drug Law reforms, which were passed and signed into law in 2009. The reforms included moving away from long, mandatory minimum sentences, and allocating funds for alternatives to incarceration, treatment and reentry of prisoners into society.[11] His other legislative activities include passing ethics reforms [12][13] to root out fraud against taxpayers.

Attorney General

Then Attorney General Andrew Cuomo endorsing Schneiderman during the 2010 election.

Schneiderman was the Democratic Party nominee for New York Attorney General, defeating four other candidates in the Democratic Primary on September 14, 2010.[14] He won the general election against Republican nominee and Richmond County district attorney Dan Donovan and took office on January 1, 2011.

In his first weeks in office, Attorney General Schneiderman launched a plan to root out fraud and return money illegally stolen from New York taxpayers at no additional cost to the state. This initiative includes a new "Taxpayer Protection Unit" specifically designed to go after corruption in state contracts, pension fund rip-offs, and large-scale tax cheats. Schneiderman has also bolstered the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit by cracking down on fraud in the Medicaid program.

He was also instrumental in pushing for a tougher fraud settlement with large banks over illegal foreclosure practices. Along with California Attorney General Kamala Harris, Schneiderman pushed to prevent the settlement from including immunity for the banks from further investigation and prosecution of other related illegal activities.[15]

Schneiderman and Speaker of the State Assembly Sheldon Silver have opposed legalizing Mixed martial arts in New York State.[16][17]

In August 2013, Schneiderman filed a $40 million civil lawsuit against Donald Trump for his "Trump University", alleging it to be an "unlicensed university"[18] and calling it a "bait-and-switch scheme."[19] Trump responded publicly calling Schneiderman a "political hack" and claimed that the school has a 98% approval rating among students.[20] In October 2014 a New York judge found Trump personally liable for the institution's violation of state education laws.[21]

In September 2013, Schneiderman announced a settlement with 19 companies to prevent astroturfing, i.e.; buying fake online praise. "'Astroturfing' is the 21st century's version of false advertising, and prosecutors have many tools at their disposal to put an end to it," according to Schneiderman. The companies paid $350,000 to settle the matter, but the settlement opened the way for private suits as well. "Every state has some version of the statutes New York used,” according to lawyer Kelly H. Kolb. “What the New York attorney general has done is, perhaps, to have given private lawyers a road map to file suit.”[22][23]

Schneiderman won re-election in 2014. His major opponent was Republican John P. Cahill, who had been an environmental conservation commissioner for the state.


  1. Official Biography on New York Office of the Attorney General website Retrieved August 31, 2011
  2. [1] by Jimmy Vielkind, New York Observer
  3. "ERIC T. SCHNEIDERMAN (FORMER) (D, WF) 31ST SENATE DISTRICT". NY Senate. Retrieved 3 June 2014. 
  4. "NY State Senate 30 - D Primary Race - Sep 15, 1998". Our Campaigns. Retrieved July 24, 2012. 
  5. "NY State Senate 30 Race - Nov 03, 1998". Our Campaigns. Retrieved July 24, 2012. 
  6. "NY State Senate 30 Race - Nov 07, 2000". Our Campaigns. Retrieved July 24, 2012. 
  7. "NY State Senate 31 Race - Nov 05, 2002". Our Campaigns. Retrieved July 24, 2012. 
  8. "NY State Senate 31 Race - Nov 02, 2004". Our Campaigns. Retrieved July 24, 2012. 
  9. "NY State Senate 31 Race - Nov 07, 2006". Our Campaigns. Retrieved July 24, 2012. 
  10. "NY State Senate 31 Race - Nov 04, 2008". Our Campaigns. Retrieved July 24, 2012. 
  11. "New York Passes Rockefeller Drug Law Reform". Legal Action Center. Retrieved July 13, 2011. 
  12. John Berry / The Post-Standard, 2009. "NY hopes incentive will help blow the whistle on tax cheats". Retrieved July 24, 2012. 
  13. Breidenbach, Michelle. "NY hopes incentive will help blow the whistle on tax cheats". Syracuse Post-Standard. Retrieved January 9, 2011. 
  14. Basil Katz, "Schneiderman wins primary for NY attorney general". Reuters, Sep 15, 2010
  15. Gormley, Michael (February 3, 2012). "NY's Schneiderman Sues Banks in Foreclosure Effort". Associated Press. Retrieved February 17, 2012. 
  16. Bill McMorris (2013-03-13). "New York AG backs ban on MMA | Washington Free Beacon". Retrieved 2013-08-02. 
  17. "The Unions’ Battle Against Mixed Martial Arts (And New Yorkers)". Mediaite. 2013-03-28. Retrieved 2013-08-02. 
  18. Peralta, Eyder. "New York A.G. Sues Donald Trump Over 'Unlicensed' University". NPR. Retrieved 26 August 2013. 
  19. Pagliery, Jose. "Trump defends his school, prosecutor calls it 'a scam'". CNN Money. Retrieved 26 August 2013. 
  20. Gormley, Michael. "Trump Calls NY Attorney General a 'Political Hack'". ABC News. Retrieved 26 August 2013. 
  21. Karen Freifeld (October 16, 2014). "New York judge finds Donald Trump liable for unlicensed school". Reuters. Retrieved February 20, 2015. 
  22. Brush, Pete (September 23, 2013). "NY 'Astroturfing' Cases Mark Fertile Ground For Civil Suits". Law360. LexisNexis. Retrieved February 20, 2014. 
  23. "A.G. Schneiderman Announces Agreement With 19 Companies To Stop Writing Fake Online Reviews And Pay More Than $350,000 In Fines". New York State Office of the Attorney General. State of New York. Retrieved February 20, 2014. 

External links

New York State Senate
Preceded by
Franz Leichter
Member of the New York Senate
from the 30th district

Succeeded by
David Paterson
Preceded by
Efrain Gonzalez
Member of the New York Senate
from the 31st district

Succeeded by
Adriano Espaillat
Preceded by
Dale Volker
Chairperson of the New York Senate Codes Committee
Succeeded by
Stephen Saland
Party political offices
Preceded by
Andrew Cuomo
Democratic nominee for Attorney General of New York
Most recent
Legal offices
Preceded by
Andrew Cuomo
Attorney General of New York