Yesterday, California Attorney General Jerry Brown announced an enormous, $200 million lawsuit against Boston-based State Street Bank. But, when Brown went on CNBC to discuss the lawsuit, he ran into some serious -- and extremely odd -- skepticism about his motivations for bringing the suit.
Brown alleges that State Street overcharged California's two largest pension funds by $56 million and is seeking millions more in damages.
CNBC's Michelle Caruso-Cabrera offered a rather half-baked implication regarding Brown's intentions, suggesting that Brown was bringing the lawsuit only because he plans to run for governor. (Brown says that the lawsuit was initiated by whistleblowers who had inside information on State Street's actions.)
Caruso-Cabrera said: "What do you say to people who look at this who say this is a perfect example of the demagoguery of attorneys general when they want to run for governor?"
Here's Brown's response:
"OK, first of all, if you don't want the interview, shut it off," Brown said, covering his face with a piece of paper. "It was your idea, so that's pretty silly. You feed off this just like any other media outlet....It's kind of symptomatic of the insensitivity and the arrogance of the Eastern financial elite that you would say, 'Oh, $56 million, why don't you suck it up and forget it?'"
Later, Brown added: "Are you guys pimping for the defendant in this case? I can't believe it."