Zephyr R. Teachout
BACKGROUND: Teachout, 46, of Staatsburg, has spent a legal and academic career writing about and advising officials on corruption and antitrust matters. The Fordham Law professor and Yale graduate is a panel guest on cable TV shows as a legal expert. Her most recent book, “Corruption in America: From Benjamin Franklin’s Snuff Box to Citizens United,” was well received by critics. Teachout is the only candidate who can say she challenged Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo at the polls. She lost the 2014 endorsement of the liberal Working Families Party at the party convention that showed some vulnerability on Cuomo’s left. She then took Cuomo on again in the Democratic primary, losing again. She also lost a 2016 race for Congress in the Hudson Valley to Rep. John Faso (R-Kinderhook).
ISSUES: She has called for an end to Cuomo’s ethics board, calling it too cozy with the governor and legislative leaders who appoint board members; and for an overhaul of ethics laws. Nationally, she has worked with groups suing Republican President Donald Trump over what the group sees as ethical lapses and power overreaches by the Trump administration. Her view of the attorney general’s job is “beating up bad guys and doing justice” and she has refused Wall Street campaign contributions. She also seeks to force pharmaceutical companies in court to lower prices. She wants to protect immigrants’ rights, break up corporate monopolies, and investigate political corruption without legal referrals from the governor, as most attorneys general have.