NU Online News Service, Jan. 6, 2005, 5:11 p.m. EST

Executives at a national business group are railing against an Empire State official.[@@]

Officials at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Washington, say in the group’s 2005 legislative plan that the group will try to curb New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer’s “intimidation” of American companies and officials.

Chamber President Tom Donahue criticized Spitzer by name at a press conference Tuesday.

Spitzer is responsible for “the most egregious form of intimidation that we have seen in the U.S. in a long time,” Donahue said.

Donahue gave this description of Spitzer’s approach toward investigations:

“We’re going to make a deal. You’re going to pay $600 million, you’re going to get rid of this person and that person, and if you don’t do it by tonight, we’re going to indict the company.”

The Spitzer approach implies that his people “are going to put you out of business,” Donahue said.

A spokesman for Spitzer says he does not recall his boss have any such conversations or demanding any $600 million fines. “The chamber should be a proponent of high standards,” the spokesman says. “Instead, Donohue is attacking the one person who has done the most to level the playing field for honest business. His comments are misinformed and unfortunate.”

Spitzer is scheduled to appear in Washington Jan. 31 to speak at the National Press Club.