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Brown stays on message as he takes Moody's to task

April 19, 2010 |  4:21 pm

While Jerry Brown the candidate for governor is honing a campaign message that is critical of Wall St., Jerry Brown the attorney general is using his official perch to go after what he views as bad actors in the corporate world.

At a Los Angeles news conference today, Brown announced he would file suit against Moody's Investors Service, one of the nation's largest bond-rating firms, for avoiding a subpoena in an ongoing investigation into the firm. Brown's office has accused Moody's and other ratings agencies of giving high ratings to investments backed by unstable mortgages on the eve of the collapse of the nation's housing market.

Brown said Monday he was taking Moody's to court for refusing to cooperate with a subpoena issued late last year by Brown's office, and in essence "blowing off the state of California."

The announcement comes as Brown wraps up a weekend of campaigning in Los Angeles, and honing a campaign message critical of Wall St., and trying at every turn to link his Republican rivals to general corporate malfeasance.

Brown's campaign has been loath to spend precious campaign resources more than six months before election day, opting to run a lean operation in preparation for running against an independently wealthy challenger in the fall. But today's news conference underscores how a seasoned pol like Brown can use the power of his office to make news -- and stay on message.

-- Anthony York in Sacramento