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.
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.