Note: the original headline wondered whether Cuomo was an "extortionist" in the colloquial sense. That wasn' the best choice of words. Cuomo's not breaking any laws here. Whether his tactics are appropriate is, well, a very appropriate question.

Today's provocation: New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo was way out of line when he called AIG's bonus recipients and, as The New York Times reported, "persuaded" nine out of the top 10 to give their bonus money back. With national outrage setting a mandate for the money to be returned, Cuomo may have saved the day, and surely he deserves the gratitude of President Obama's supporters for singlehandedly rendering a House proposal obsolete and saving Obama from making a decision. We don't know what he said on the phone to those executives--perhaps the conversations were polite--but the whole thing reeks of coercion. Explicit or not, the possibility loomed that Cuomo would release the executives' names, and it seems inappropriate for the state's top law enforcement official to call people for the purpose of convincing them to act in a certain way, without any laws having been broken.

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