No Hiding Place
Posted by Eliot Weinstein on March 11, 2008
…for Eliot Spitzer. The egotistical, posturing, thuggish, tax-cheating, power-mad Governor of New York State is facing impeachment and federal indictment after being caught frequenting an expensive prostitution service. The story broke yesterday in the New York Times, and rocketed its way through the rest of the media and the politics world. So far, Governor Spitzer (a Democrat and major supporter of NY Senator Hillary Clinton) has pulled a Larry Craig and refused to resign, but soon he will have no choice. He may also be disbarred (lose his license to practice law), the same fate that befell Mike Nifong.
Spitzer, who was once praised by New York Democrats and their media allies as the possible first Jewish President of the United States (shudder), made his name as “the sheriff of Wall Street”, prosecuting or threatening to prosecute companies in the wake of the 2000-2001 financial scandals from his post as the Attorney General of New York State. He earned this reputation serving as NY AG for 6 years, where he popularized the (barely constitutional) technique of indicting entire corporations over the wrongdoing of individual corrupt, fraudulent, or larcenous managers. This technique was developed by Spitzer’s ostensible political rivals (and Bush Administration Republicans) Michael Chertoff and John Ashcroft, who first deployed it against Arthur Andersen. That company’s conviction was later overturned by the US Supreme Court, but not until after the company was barred from conducting auditing work, leading to its collapse and the loss of tens of thousands of jobs and the savings/pensions of many employees. Spitzer used the same tactics to enforce his apparently puritanical code of financial morals, as the mere threat of a company-wide indictment forced many corporations to pay huge settlements regardless of their alleged wrongdoing. No American in recent history (whose name isn’t Sarbanes or Oxley) has done more to damage the business competitiveness of the United States vis-à-vis other developed nations.
Here is an excellent litany of Spitzer’s sins, including hypocrisy, as the former Attorney General was a leading crusader against (wait for it…) high-class “escort services”. More recently, Spitzer abused his control over the NY state police to leak classified embarrassing documents about a political opponent to the media. (He also has the temerity to spell his first name the least common way-with one “L” and one “T”- just like I do.)
I am sorry for the humiliation and emotional distress that are being or will be inflicted upon Spitzer’s wife and daughters. However, in the grand scheme of things this scandal couldn’t possibly have fallen upon a more deserving man.
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