Spitzer Likely to Resign – Updated

Aides to New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer are holding transition meetings with the lieutenant governor’s office, a top legislative staffer said as calls for Spitzer’s resignation heated up Tuesday.

If Spitzer resigns, Lt. Gov. David Paterson, 53, would become the state’s first black governor and the fourth in U.S. history. The former Senate minority leader is legally blind and is the son of Basil Paterson, a longtime Democratic operative in New York City.

CNN

Now, there have been no charges filed against Spitzer but it’s obvious he believes he is guilty of something.  He was smart to come forward, the Feds had him on tape and he was merely stepping forward knowing that it was going to come out sooner or later.  I don’t think he should get points for this; it’s what he should do.  The cover-up is usually worse than the offense itself but that we should be giving kudos for doing what should be the expected norm shows how little we expect from our elected officials.

For me, when someone breaks the law and they hold an elected office there should be an expectation that a resignation would follow.  I do believe in “innocent until proven guilty” but at the same time, how does an ongoing investigation help anyone fulfill his or her expected duties?  (Yes, I know, the Bush Administration has made this look too easy).

Regardless of the fact that we are all human, we do need to hold elected officials not to a higher standard, but to a standard that we all are held to!  The laws apply to every citizen.  I’m often appalled by the hubris of politicians who seem to believe that they are not only above the law, but that they are above being caught.

In cases where the transgression was between consenting adults and no law was broken, it’s a personal matter.  As progressives, I think it’s important to be consistent in that such things are not our business, as long as they don’t detrimentally interfere with the office held then it’s not for us to pass on the punishment.  It really just comes down to the spouse.

One of my pet peeves is how spouses are made to stand by while their husbands admit to adultery to the public.  Obviously it’s their choice to do so but I don’t think they should have to!  Seriously, I think I might just say, go on, you’re the one who “slipped up”, take care of it on your own.  As much as I believe in marriage as a partnership, I also believe that no wife or husband should be made to stand next to the podium.  I think the embarrassment of the transgression is enough on its own.

This particular situation is raising quite a few questions though.  Why was this a Federal Investigation?  Prostitution tends to be a State issue and is not usually covered by the Feds.  Why did they leak the phone calls? There are some questions that do need to be answered.

As Bill has pointed out and Rebecca (thank you), Spitzer was connected to some suspicious money transfers that the Bank was responsible to report to the IRS, who in turn went to he Feds. 

According to the New York Times, Internal Revenue Service investigators conducting a routine examination of suspicious financial transactions reported by banks found several unusual movements of cash involving Spitzer. The transactions appeared to be aimed at trying to conceal the source, destination or purpose of the movement of thousands of dollars in cash into bank accounts of what appeared to be shell companies, the newspaper said.

When a customer moves at least $10,000 at a time, bank employees must automatically fill out a currency transaction report (CTR), which is typically reviewed by the IRS or the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. 

Reuters

Hillary Clinton has already erased all connection to Spitzer from her campaign website. 

While all the media hoo-hah was going on Monday, and the number of visitors to websites with Spitzer stories absolutely rocketed off the charts, the alert folks over at Radar Online cleverly went to Clinton’s campaign website and put a clock on the endorsement page.

Their timing showed that faster than you can say “Mitt Romney dumps Larry Craig,” the Spitzer endorsement on the Clinton website disappeared. Vanished. Gone. Poof. Like he never happened to her last May. There’s Melanie Griffith, John Cook and Norm Dicks. But no more Eliot Spitzer.

It took Romney nearly a day to erase the toe-tapping Craig last August. It took Clinton less than an hour. That’s the long experience of the Clinton machine at work.

Do you think it makes much of a difference?  Do you think it’s the right thing to do even though many Democrats are aware that Spitzer endorsed Clinton.  So many questions!

Heather Pritchard

I'm new to political blogging but have been writing most of my life about different things. I campaigned for President Clinton when he was just Governor Clinton in Orange County. I graduated from Smith College with a BA in English and a minor in Film. I work full time, have a lovely four year old daughter named Charlotte, my husband teaches full time at Cerritos College in Norwalk in the Music Department. Gary has a Ph.D in Ethnomusicology from UCI. I hope to go back to school in some form or another, maybe sociology or economics. I've even thought of Law school. Our newest edition to the household is our Weimaraner Sophie. 

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  6 comments for “Spitzer Likely to Resign – Updated

  1. Jubal
    March 11, 2008 at 2:06 pm

    Why was this a Federal Investigation? Prostitution tends to be a State issue and is not usually covered by the Feds.

    From what I’ve read, it’s because he arranged for the call girl to travel from New York and meet him in Washington, D.C. – a violation of the federal Mann Act which prohibits transporting a person across state lines to engage in prostitution.

  2. rebecca
    March 11, 2008 at 2:08 pm

    According to ABC, they’d been tipped off by his bank about odd transactions. They thought it would lead to bribery or other corruption.

  3. March 11, 2008 at 2:10 pm

    Jubal – thank you, yes I had heard that as well.

  4. March 11, 2008 at 2:19 pm

    Rebecca got it right. Apparently the bank where he had accounts for some shell companies, apparently used for this and perhaps other purposes, notified the IRS about “odd transactions” or “questionable activity.” They tipped off the FBI. It would seem that Spitzer is in some seriously deep Bandini.

    According to NPR today, the Mann Act was also used to snag Charlie Chaplin and a few others whose names escape me at the moment.

  5. Jubal
    March 11, 2008 at 6:31 pm

    I believe Chuck Berry and Sam Cooke are among the famous who’ve been popped for Mann Act violations.

  6. just...asking?
    March 11, 2008 at 7:02 pm

    I believe the first african american heavyweight champion Jack Johnson was convicted under this same Act. He took a white woman across state lines for immoral purposes. Think thats when he fled to Canada and then Europe to evade arrest. This story was made famous in the movie “The Great White Hope”.

    Note that Berry, Cooke and Johnson were all black and thats what triggered the prosecution in these cases. It was then legally assumed that no white woman would travel with a black man unless she was paid to do so.

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