Big-Time Pol Gets in Big-Time Trouble

The details are still coming in but Eliot Spitzer the Governor of New York has been implicated in a prostitution scandal. He rose through the system by fighting corruption, criminal syndicates, fraud, and corporate misconduct. I expect unless the NYTimes allegations are false he will be forced out of office. He was an up-and-comer. Until 2:00 PM today he may have been the most likely Jew to become a major presidential candidate in ’12 or ’16.

Gov. Eliot Spitzer has informed his most senior administration officials that he had been involved in a prostitution ring, an administration official said this morning.

Update: There are some substantial reasons to believe that Spitzer was a political target of Bush’s appointees at the Justice Department. Mainly, the speed with which the case happened from beginning to end implies that it was handled from the outset by the Public Integrity Section. This further implies that the case started with a warrantless search of Spitzer’s financial history while Governor and proceeded to follow up the lead that yielded this conviction. Of course this doesn’t make his behavior more acceptable just speaks to how to proceed and whether this is a setup or a clean prosecution.

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7 Responses to “Big-Time Pol Gets in Big-Time Trouble”

  1. Leaks from Albany say he’s resigning, so no one will need to force him out of office. Also, why do you assume he was a likely presidential candidate? I hadn’t heard any buzz around a Spitzer run in the future. Bloomberg is a far more likely tribesman to run a campaign.

    Mordy · March 10th, 2008 at 2:41 pm
  2. 4 out of the last 5 presidents were governors first (HW Bush was not). Spitzer has national name recognition from his stint as an AG and if he got re-elected and got his numbers up (both big ifs) he’d have been in the hunt due to his money raising prowess and I-took-on-Wall Street credibility.

    Bloomberg isn’t conservative enough for Reps, is too tight with Bush for Dems, and has no foreign policy experience to speak of. He could have run a vanity campaign but wasn’t going to emerge as a serious candidate. Rendell (in his second term as PA gov) is a better bet.

    zt · March 10th, 2008 at 4:15 pm
  3. Presidential ambitions almost always come with being NY guv; you may just be too young to realize. Only a short while ago, Spitzer’s immediate predecessor (“that’s a Pataki”) was angling for the Rep. nomination, but gave up on the idea at least a year before Iowa. And his immediate predecessor, the sainted Mario Cuomo, could never get out of Hamlet-mode to actually make the commitment. Remember Nelson Rockefeller? Years before dying in the arms, leather masks, and whips of his mistress, he rose to the vice presidency for Gerry Ford, after failing to grab the pres. nomination in several earlier cycles. Don’t forget, both FDR and his cousin Teddy were former NY guvs before getting to the presidency.

    By the way, its “Eliot” not “elliot”. And he got to where he is thanks to daddy’s beaucoup bucks more than his crime fighting, since he’s reported to alienate those who work for or with him; campaign cash is a marvelous balm for hurt feelings.

    Too Old to Jewschool Steve · March 10th, 2008 at 10:06 pm
  4. I hate to make this into an argument, because it’s obviously way off topic, but I’d like to point out that Newsweek took the possibility of Bloomsberg running a campaign seriously enough that they stuck it on their front cover this year (

    Mordy · March 11th, 2008 at 4:19 am
  5. President or not, he’s a young guy and there are no term limits at the state level, so we thought he was going to be governor for a long long time.

    Anyway, if Spitzer resigns, I hope this means that Sen. David Vitter‘s resignation isn’t far behind.

    BZ · March 11th, 2008 at 6:28 am
  6. Whoa. And I mean that.

    ZT, you need to slow down big time. I’ll be the first to admit that the reporting on this story, particularly here in the NY metro area, has been more than a little over the top, but let’s at least get our terminology right.

    I’m refering to your “Update”.

    I’m not familiar with the lawyer quoted in your bloglink, but today’s NYTimes, at least on-line, did a pretty good job of explaining the genesis of the investigation. Clearly, it wasn’t hooker to pimp to the Spitz. Rather, it was money to the spitz to the hooker. And it makes sense; what with the patriot act and all these days, banks don’t hesitate to file those reports with the IRS or the comptroller of the currency if they are worried about the way money is moving around. And you need to move some big chunks of cash to get that kind of attention.

    Maybe this was politically motivated; not in a GOP vs. Dem kind of way; but more like Eliot has always been a prick, and now we’ve got him. So what, if they have enough evidence to at least proceed with a prosecution.

    But wait! No one is prosecuting the Spitz yet, for anything. And (this is my point about terminology), there has been no CONVICTION. None. at all. We generally don’t have convictions until after a jury or a judge reaches a verdict in a trial. No trial yet. Nope, all we have here is an indictment. That’s an old fancy law word that means “accusation”. But who’s been indicted? Oh yeah, not the Spitz, just the pimps fronting the hookers. And they are going to have a trial, unless they roll over on the Spitz. But pimps tend not to roll over on their clients.

    And once again, lets not forget something important; if the Spitz is getting really rough treatment right now, it has a lot to do with how he treated people. This is a guy who is proud to refer to himself as a steamroller. He has burned a lot of bridges to get where he is. He even used a friend/contributor’s name for the hooker’s hotel room at the Mayflower. Nice.

    Too Old to Jewschool Steve · March 11th, 2008 at 8:13 pm
  7. more like Eliot has always been a prick

    I suppose Spitzer would seem like a prick if you were one of those corporate criminals who thinks nothing of bribing politicians while screwing over employees, stockholders, and the general public.

    However, as some one who is sick of seeing how the rich and politically connected are so often above the law, Spitzer’s abrasiveness was a virtue.

    Ian Thal · March 13th, 2008 at 6:21 pm

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