New York State attorney general Eliot Spitzer said the Fair Housing Act gives the states the right to seek confidential lending data from national banks, according to a brief filed in a U.S. District Court.In the brief, New York AG Spitzer said an analysis of 2004 Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data reveal lending disparities that would establish "prima facie" case under state and as well as the federal anti-discrimination law. And the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency cannot use its pre-emptive powers to "shield" national banks from complying with his requests for addition lending data. The Clearing House Association and OCC have blocked Spitzer's request for the lending data, but the U.S. District Court in New York will hear arguments in the dispute later this month. Some private attorneys think Mr. Spitzer's latest effort to bolster his position will not succeed because he has not filed a lawsuit that actually alleges discriminatory conduct. He has only asked the national banks to submit lending data on a voluntary basis. "There is no basis for the arguments except in the context of a pending lawsuit," said Jonathan Jerison, counsel at Buckley Kolar. "He is really trying to stretch here." Thirty-four states filed briefs in support of the NY AG's.

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