The real Spitzer problem

| March 12, 2008

[UPDATED 03/14/08: In fairness to Gov. Spitzer, I’ll note that this article in the New York Times today says that Spitzer has claimed to his aides this week that he used prostitutes “only in the past eight months”, which directly contradicts the press reports citing sources that claim that Spitzer had been using prostitutes either since 2002 or since 1998. We’ll have to wait to see which claim holds up.]

With all the ‘net and media coverage of (now-former) NY Governor Eliot Spitzer’s decline and fall from office, I’ve only seen one posting (I’ll link when/if I find it again) in the past 48 hours [since Monday morning] that touches upon how profound Spitzer’s problems are, though I am sure there are others.

It appears now that Spitzer was making use of one or more high-end prostitution rings during his time as NY State Attorney General. At that same time, he prosecuted at least two other prostitution rings.

Simply put, as State Attorney General, Spitzer reduced the competition for the prostitution ring he personally used, while leaving that p-ring untouched.

Stop and think about that.

The heart of this issue isn’t about sex, it’s not about the Mann Act, it’s not about ‘structuring’, and it’s not even just about making use of a criminal enterprise. It’s about the most profound type of corruption that an AG can succumb to: helping out the criminal enterprise that he personally is doing business with by going after its competition.

Now it may turn out that the p-ring(s) that Spitzer used as AG were not direct competitors of the p-rings he prosecuted. But that’s going to be hard for Spitzer to prove in his defense. I’m sure that both the Feds and NY AG Andrew Cuomo — who currently isn’t on the best of terms with Spitzer, and who may want to distance himself even more from him — are going to look long and hard at that ‘conflict of interest’. ..bruce w..

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Category: Legal, Main, US Politics

About the Author ()

Webster is Principal and Founder at Bruce F. Webster & Associates, as well as an Adjunct Professor of Computer Science at Brigham Young University. He works with organizations to help them with troubled or failed information technology (IT) projects. He has also worked in several dozen legal cases as a consultant and as a testifying expert, both in the United States and Japan. He can be reached at, or you can follow him on Twitter as @bfwebster.

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