Stung

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Bush Administration

This doesn’t exonerate Gov. Spitzer, but Scott Horton suggests that Spitzer was “stung” because of a Justice Department investigation targeting him. In other words, he didn’t just happen to get caught because of an investigation of a prostitution ring. Rather, the investigation of Spitzer led to his involvement with the prostitution ring.

Quoting ABC:

The federal investigation of a New York prostitution ring was triggered by Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s suspicious money transfers, initially leading agents to believe Spitzer was hiding bribes, according to federal officials. It was only months later that the IRS and the FBI determined that Spitzer wasn’t hiding bribes but payments to a company called QAT, what prosecutors say is a prostitution operation operating under the name of the Emperors Club. …

The suspicious financial activity was initially reported by a bank to the IRS which, under direction from the Justice Department, brought in the FBI’s Public Corruption Squad. “We had no interest at all in the prostitution ring until the thing with Spitzer led us to learn about it,” said one Justice Department official.

As I said, this doesn’t exonerate Spitzer. This episode also brings up the point that just because someone’s been in the public eye for years, as Spitzer has been in New York, doesn’t mean you know him.

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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. SteveG  •  Mar 11, 2008 @8:27 am

    So he got busted for visiting a prostitute while the metaphorical whores celebrate.

  2. PFT  •  Mar 11, 2008 @8:59 am

    What did Spitzer due to get the Feds to “investigate” him.. How about this oped in the Washington Post last month about the sub-prime crisis.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/13/AR2008021302783.html

    “Not only did the Bush administration do nothing to protect consumers, it embarked on an aggressive and unprecedented campaign to prevent states from protecting their residents from the very problems to which the federal government was turning a blind eye.

    Let me explain: The administration accomplished this feat through an obscure federal agency called the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). The OCC has been in existence since the Civil War. Its mission is to ensure the fiscal soundness of national banks. For 140 years, the OCC examined the books of national banks to make sure they were balanced, an important but uncontroversial function. But a few years ago, for the first time in its history, the OCC was used as a tool against consumers.

    In 2003, during the height of the predatory lending crisis, the OCC invoked a clause from the 1863 National Bank Act to issue formal opinions preempting all state predatory lending laws, thereby rendering them inoperative. The OCC also promulgated new rules that prevented states from enforcing any of their own consumer protection laws against national banks. The federal government’s actions were so egregious and so unprecedented that all 50 state attorneys general, and all 50 state banking superintendents, actively fought the new rules.

    But the unanimous opposition of the 50 states did not deter, or even slow, the Bush administration in its goal of protecting the banks. In fact, when my office opened an investigation of possible discrimination in mortgage lending by a number of banks, the OCC filed a federal lawsuit to stop the investigation. ”

    And you thought all the laws since 2001 were to prevent terrorism. No wonder everyone in Congress is terrorized, they have all been “investigated’.”

    Interesting that the oped got printed in the Washington Post, but the expose got handled by the NY Times, and the owner of the Emperors Club happens to be an Israeli-American (not sure what that has to do with any of this but I found it interesting).

  3. joanr16  •  Mar 11, 2008 @12:07 pm

    Wasn’t it Elliott Spitzer who, as N.Y. state attorney general, discovered that Halliburton on Dick Cheney’s watch opened a dummy corporation in the Caymans, in order to do illegal business with Syria, Libya and Iran?

    Nothing ever came of the discovery of that federal crime. Well, until now, I guess.

    For more on the fishiness of this whole deal, a good diary from dKos:

    http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/3/11/51123/3435/851/474082

  4. sniflheim  •  Mar 11, 2008 @12:49 pm

    Now that he may as well be a radioactive zombie, Spitzer should just say Legalize It.

  5. maha  •  Mar 11, 2008 @2:05 pm

    As injust as it may be, the guys had better learn that they’d better live like bleeping saints if they’re going to go after the Right.

  6. joanr16  •  Mar 11, 2008 @5:02 pm

    As injust as it may be, the guys had better learn that they’d better live like bleeping saints if they’re going to go after the Right.

    Yep. I got the impression from a recent New Yorker profile of Spitzer that he is doesn’t understand the duties and responsibilities of a good governor, and that this disconnect arises from an arrogance problem. Maybe he thought acting like a dog was necessary for catching foxes.

    So, how’s your Lt. Gov?

  7. Bonnie  •  Mar 11, 2008 @11:13 pm

    But, haven’t we had for the last year a spate of Republicans doing the same thing or in something in that vein? I think I would be more impressed if I read a story about a man being faithful to his S.O.; but, don’t think there is such a thing. If there are, they are few and far between.

  8. jpe  •  Mar 12, 2008 @9:40 pm

    As injust as it may be, the guys had better learn that they’d better live like bleeping saints if they’re going to go after the Right.

    Or don’t get involved in international prostitution rings. I’m a saint but I manage that one alright.

    What did Spitzer due to get the Feds to “investigate” him..

    His financial activity was a classic money laundering pattern. I want the feds coming down on the ass of any politician that does that.

  9. jpe  •  Mar 12, 2008 @9:47 pm

    In 2003, during the height of the predatory lending crisis, the OCC invoked a clause from the 1863 National Bank Act

    If you follow banking law, this one wasn’t very surprising. The American “dual banking system” (as its called) has been eroded consistently over the past decades. This wasn’t some totally-out-of-nowhere move. Nor is the law “obscure,” but has served as one of the founts of power in the creeping federalization of banking.



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