Eliot Spitzer: A Dog Bites Man Story?

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prostitute.jpg
The political tremors emanating from the news that Eliot Spitzer met a prostitute in Washington, DC at the Mayflower Hotel are obvious, but a friend of mine who is an expert on probability theory suggested to me that beneath the surface noise, this is really just a “dog bites man” story.
In other words, people meeting prostitutes happens regularly through our society.
He writes:

My instinct when the Spitzer news broke was that “married man visits prostitute” is a bit like “dog bites man”. Happens all the time.
I did a little research to back that up. From studies it is estimated that there are 23 FTEP’s (full time equivalent prostitutes) per 100,000 population seeing roughly 2.4 customers per day. With a population of 300 million that makes for 165,000 prostitute visits per day.
As to what percentage of those are by married men, I’d say 25% might be a conservative guess, so let’s say 40,000 married men visit prostitutes per day. That number could be off, but I’m sure it’s order of magnitude correct.

A source for prostitution’s prevalance is available via wikipedia and its excellent roster of notes — particularly the entry under “occurrence”.
From the entry:

According to the paper “Estimating the prevalence and career longevity of prostitute women” (Potterat et al., 1990), the number of full-time equivalent prostitutes in a typical area in the United States (Colorado Springs, CO, during 1970-1988) is estimated at 23 per 100,000 population (0.023%), of which fraction some 4% were under 18. The length of these prostitutes’ working careers was estimated at a mean of 5 years. A follow-up paper entitled “Prostitution and the sex discrepancy in reported number of sexual partners” (Brewer et al., 2000) goes on to estimate a mean number of 868 male sexual partners per prostitute per year of active sex work, and offers the conclusion that men’s self-reporting of prostitutes as sexual partners is seriously under-reported.
A 1994 study found that 16 percent of 18 to 59-year-old men in a U.S. survey group had paid for sex (Gagnon, Laumann, and Kolata 1994).
A number of reports over the last few decades have suggested that prostitution levels have fallen in sexually liberal countries, most likely because of the increased availability of non-commercial, non-marital sex.[20]

I don’t think that this will really help check the political drama around Spitzer — but I think it’s useful context.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

44 comments on “Eliot Spitzer: A Dog Bites Man Story?

  1. Kathleen says:

    Ralph Nader on Bush-Spitzer… I’d say Nader is overly optomistic in his assertion that Dopey and Darth will actually vacate office in January, 2009
    Bush and Spitzer: Compare and Contrast
    By RALPH NADER, CounterPunch
    The Governor of New York, Eliot Spitzer, has resigned for being a longtime customer of a high-priced prostitution ring.
    The President of the United States, George W. Bush, remains, disgracing his office for longtime repeated violations of the Constitution, federal laws and international treaties to which the U.S. is a solemn signatory.
    In his forthright resignation statement, Eliot Spitzer-the prominent corporate crime buster-asserted that “Over the course of my public life, I have insisted, I believe correctly, that people, regardless of their position or power, take responsibility for their conduct. I can and will ask no less of myself.”
    In a recent speech to a partisan Republican fund-raising audience, George W. Bush fictionalized his Iraq war exploits and other related actions, and said that next January he will leave office “with his head held high.”
    Eliot Spitzer violated certain laws regarding prostitution and transferring of money through banks-though the latter was disputed by some legal experts-and for such moral turpitude emotionally harmed himself, his family and his friends.
    George W. Bush violated federal laws against torture, against spying on Americans without judicial approval, against due process of law and habeas corpus in arresting Americans without charges, imprisoning them and limited their access to attorneys. He committed a massive war of aggression violating again and again treaties such as the Geneva Conventions, the UN Charter, federal statutes and the Constitution.
    This war and its associated actions have cost the lives of one million Iraqis, over 4000 Americans, caused hundreds of thousands of serious injuries and diseases related to the destruction of Iraq’s public health facilities.
    From the moment the news emerged about Spitzer’s sexual frolics the calls came for his immediate resignation. They came from the pundits and editorialists; they came from Republicans and they started coming from his fellow Democrats in the Assembly.
    Speaker Sheldon Silver told Spitzer that many Democrats in the Assembly would abandon him in any impeachment vote.
    George W. Bush is a recidivist war criminal and chronic violator of so many laws that the Center for Constitutional Rights has clustered them into five major impeachable “High Crimes and Misdemeanors” (under Article II, section .4)
    Scores of leaders of the bar, including Michael Greco, former president of the American Bar Association, and legal scholars and former Congressional lawmakers have decried his laceration of the rule of law and his frequent declarations that signify that he believes he is above the law.
    Many retired high military officers, diplomats and security officials have openly opposed his costly militaristic disasters.
    Only Cong. Dennis Kucinich (Dem. Ohio) has publicly called for his impeachment.
    No other member of Congress has moved toward his impeachment. To the contrary, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Dem. Calif.), Rep. Steny Hoyer (Dem. MD) and House Judiciary Committee Chairman, John Conyers publicly took “impeachment off the table” in 2006.
    When Senator Russ Feingold (Dem. Wisc.) introduced a Resolution to merely censure George W. Bush for his clear, repeated violations of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act-a felony-his fellow Democrats looked the other way and ignored him.
    Eliot Spitzer came under the rule of law and paid the price with his governorship and perhaps may face criminal charges.
    George W. Bush is effectively immune from federal criminal and civil laws because no American has standing to sue him and the Attorney General, who does, is his handpicked cabinet member.
    Moreover, the courts have consistently refused to take cases involving the conduct of foreign and military policy by the president and the Vice President regardless of the seriousness of the violation. The courts pronounce such disputes as “political” and say they have to be worked out by the Congress-ie. mainly the impeachment authority.
    Meanwhile, the American people have no authority to challenge these governmental crimes, which are committed in their name, and are rendered defenseless except for elections, which the two Party duopoly has rigged, commercialized, and trivialized. Even in this electoral arena, a collective vote of ouster of the incumbents does not bring public officials to justice, just to another position usually in the high paying corporate world.
    So, on January 21, 2009, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney will be fugitives from justice without any Sheriffs, prosecutors or courts willing to uphold the rule of law.
    What are the lessons from the differential treatment of a public official who consorts with prostitutes, without affecting his public policies, and a President who behaves like King George III did in 1776 and commits the exact kinds of multiple violations that Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and other founders of our Republic envisioned for invoking the impeachment provision of their carefully crafted checks and balances in the Constitution?
    Well let’s see.
    First, Bush and Cheney are advised not to travel to Brattleboro or Marlboro Vermont, two New England towns whose voters, in their frustrated outrage, passed non-binding articles instructing town officials to arrest them inside their jurisdictions.
    Second, George W. Bush better not go to some men’s room at an airport and tap the shoe of the fellow in the next stall. While one Senator barely survived that charge, for the President it would mean a massive public demand for his resignation.
    We certainly can do better as a country of laws, not men.
    Ralph Nader is the author of The Seventeen Traditions

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  2. Kathleen says:

    He who laughs last, laughs best. Richard Grasso, former Chairman of the NYSE must be having some fun with this one… all of which goes to show that it is high time for American voters to elect women to public office… we seem to be better able to respect our marriage vows and oaths of office. I. for one, am sick of sleazy-assed f**ckers in office.

    Reply

  3. Snuffysmith says:

    How Federal Banking Laws Brought Down Eliot Spitzer
    By Andrew Cochran
    “But Spitzer had the money broken down into several smaller amounts of under $10,000 each, apparently to avoid getting around federal regulations requiring the reporting of the transfer of $10,000 or more, the sources said. The regulations are aimed at helping spot possible illegal business activities, such as frauds or drug deals. Apparently, having second thoughts about even sending the total amount in this manner because it still might reveal what he was doing, Spitzer then asked that the bank to take his name off the wires, the sources said. Bank officials declined, however, saying that it was improper to do so and in any event, it was too late to do so, because the money already had been sent, the sources said. The bank then, as is required by law, filed an SAR, or Suspicious Activity Report, with the Internal Revenue Service, reporting the transfer of the money that exceeded $10,000, but had been broken down into smaller amounts, the sources said.”
    And so began the federal investigation that resulted in the resignation of the Governor of New York, Eliot Spitzer (updated). Let’s quickly run through the federal laws involved, for they are among the most important tools used to prevent, detect, and catch money laundering and terrorist financing. My sources are Congressional testimony in 2004 by a senior official of the Federal Reserve System, Jeffrey Breinholt’s “The Bank Secrecy Act for Beginners,” posted on February 14 on this year, and selected federal regulations.
    These federal laws and regulations were added in layers as new transactions arose which exposed loopholes in existing law. In 1970, Congress passed the first such law, the Currency and Foreign Transactions Reporting Act, also known as the “Bank Secrecy Act” (BSA), with requirements for recordkeeping and reporting by banks and other financial institutions to identify the source, volume, and movement of funds for investigatory purposes. The BSA implemented the filing of Currency Transaction Reports, or CTRs, for currency transactions in excess of $10,000. The Money Laundering Control Act of 1986 imposed criminal liability for any person knowingly assisting in money laundering or structuring transactions to avoid reporting under the BSA. It also directed banks to establish and maintain BSA compliance procedures. In January 1987, all federal banking agencies issued regulations requiring banks to develop procedures for complying with the BSA and other AML requirements. By 1996, the federal financial regulators mandated that all banking organizations report any instances of known or suspected criminal or suspicious activity to the Treasury Department by filing a Suspicious Activity Report, or SAR (see this IRS website for more details). Unlike the CTR, there is no threshold dollar amount for filing a SAR. It was this form, filed by Spitzer’s bank, which triggered the investigation.
    After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Congress passed the USA Patriot Act, of which Title III was directed at mandating more anti-money laundering and terrorist financing mechanisms. Title III criminalized terrorist financing, for banks and other financial institutions, expanded the reach of the BSA filing requirements to all financial institutions (including broker-dealers and casinos), toughened customer identification requirements for those institutions, and greatly raised the awareness in the banking community of the need to watch for suspicious transactions and report them to law enforcement.
    Would Spitzer had been discovered if he had engaged in his activity before the passage of the Patriot Act? Personally, I doubt it. But heightened awareness among bank employees, tougher bank examination procedures, numerous stiff penalties for BSA noncompliance, and extra press coverage all came in the past six years. These combined forces make it almost impossible for a highly public figure, such as a state Governor, to successfully structure transactions to avoid the BSA requirements. Financial institutions face even more regulatory requirements for “politically exposed persons” of Spitzer’s rank.
    These anti-money laundering and terrorist financing laws and regulations have been the subject of numerous other posts here since we opened, including the following:
    Victor Comras, “Terrorism Financing: A New Emphasis on Tracking. But Will It Be Effective?” (typographical anomalies are due to the transfer of the post from our original site)
    Andrew Cochran, “Highlights of First “U.S. Money Laundering Threat Assessment”” and “Bank Secrecy Act Compliance Not Getting Easier, But Not Broadening Either”
    Dennis Lormel, “Bank Secrecy Act and National Security” and “Looking Back and Forward at Terrorist Financing and Money Laundering Highlights”
    Jeffrey Breinholt, “The Holy Grail of Public-Private Counterterrorism Cooperation”
    March 12, 2008 12:25 AM Link TrackBack (0) Print

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  4. Snuffysmith says:

    Spitzer’s Downfall, Part II: More on Banking Laws and Regulations
    By Andrew Cochran
    Kourtney McCarty of the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists (ACAMS) sent the following short summary on the banking laws applied and enforced in the Eliot Spitzer matter. ACAMS is an international organization which performs the vital service of educating and certifying anti-money laundering officials. As I wrote on Wednesday, these same laws and regulations are at the heart of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing efforts, so I am posting most of that discussion below with her permission. The pros in the business already know all of this; the Spitzer matter is an opportunity, however unfortunate in nature, to educate the general public. The ACAMS discussion clarifies a point about the term “politically exposed persons” that I added near the end of my post and might have confused readers.
    Commonly misunderstood AML concepts currently in the news include:
    1. CTRs, SARs: What’s the difference? In short, a Currency Transaction Report (CTR) is required for reporting a single currency transaction, or multiple transactions within one day, of an amount of $10,000 or more. A Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) is required to be reported to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) on transactions that have been identified as suspicious by the financial institution regardless of the amount of the transaction.
    2. What is “structuring”? Structuring is dividing payments into a set of transactions where each individual transaction does not exceed the $10,000 reporting threshold. This method of structuring payments is designed to evade the reporting requirements for a CTR. Under recent amendments to the Bank Secrecy Act, structuring is now considered a felony. Transactions meeting the definition of structuring under the Bank Secrecy Act require the filing of a Suspicious Activity Report.
    3. Does the government screen every banking transaction of every customer? No – the government’s review of banking transactions rarely occurs at the individual level. Of the more than one million SARs filed by banks, government agencies physically review only a small portion. With the number of duplicates accounted for, SAR filings on individuals represent a small fraction of the total banking population with reviews representing an even smaller fraction.
    All SARs are entered into a government database that is accessible by government agencies including law enforcement, which will review patterns in SAR filings. Nevertheless, the idea of “Big Brother” watching every American’s banking activity is grossly overstated.
    4. What’s the difference between a politician and a “PEP”? The term “PEP” means different things in different jurisdictions. In the U.S, under the USA PATRIOT Act, a “PEP” (politically exposed person) is a “senior foreign political figure,” such as a foreign head of state or member of a royal family. Under the Act, banks are required to conduct enhanced due diligence on the private banking relationships of “senior foreign political figures.” Thus, enhanced scrutiny of U.S. politicians’ private banking relationships is not required by the law. According to the Wolfsberg Group, an international organization of banks dedicated to curbing money laundering, “PEPs” include persons whose current or former position can attract publicity beyond the borders of the country concerned and whose financial circumstances may be the subject of additional public interest.
    5. What are “shell companies”? Shell companies are entities without a physical presence in any country or jurisdiction, are legal, and can serve a legitimate purpose. The risk is that many are created to conceal the beneficial owners and can be used for illicit purposes. They pose a major threat to the security of the U.S. and global financial systems by making them vulnerable to money laundering and terrorist financing. Due to this increased threat, the government has provided guidance to institutions on the importance of managing the risk associated with shell companies.
    The ACAMS discussion also notes that “a SAR is required by law to be maintained confidential by the institution and by government agencies involved. Any investigation should never be publicized as being a result from a filing of SAR.”
    Dennis Lormel has posted twice on the use of “shell companies” and his recommendations for increased federal oversight:
    “Shell Companies: Contemplated Legislation an Encouraging Sign,” February 22
    “Shell Companies…Facilitation Tool for Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing,” April 22, 2007
    March 14, 2008 11:16 AM Link

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  5. Sweetadversity says:

    If the governor is publicly prosecuting people for behaviors that he himself is indulging in, then IMHO this is wrong, and Spitzer did resign, and I am glad that he did so. It’s just not fair that his wife should be judged in any way, for standing by her man, if this is indeed what she is doing in the private level. When it really comes down to it, a marriage is a private affair, even when the people are public figures.

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  6. Snuffysmith says:

    More significant though is the point David Lindorff makes:
    Bringing Down Spitzer: It’s the Big Brother Who Should Bother Us
    By DAVE LINDORFF
    Gov. Spitzer’s bust should give pause to those in Congress who are ready to hand President Bush a free pass to continue his six-yearcampaign of warrantless spying on Americans.
    We now know from yesterday’s Wall Street Journal article that the spyingBush has been doing through the National Security Agency since early 2001 has included vast computer sweeps of not just internet and phone activity,but also bank and credit card transactions. These are sweeps of ordinary everyday people, with computers looking for odd transactions, or for code words, or for transactions involving specific targeted organizations or addresses.
    What nailed Spitzer, we now learn, was a series of bank transactions he had with the bank account of the Emperor’s Club VIP call girl operation.
    Now reportedly, this particular probe was being conducted by theIRS, which allegedly was investigating the Emperor’s Club. Once the IRS discovered it had caught the New York governor in its web, it forwarded thecase to the US Attorney General’s Office, where it was pursued by the FBI, apparently on the instructions of AG Michael Mukasey. The investigation moved from monitoring the bank to monitoring phones, and Spitzer was captured talking to the Emperor’s Club dispatcher. Bingo. Promising Democratic political career ruined.
    Now the monitoring of the Emperor’s Club was reportedly done with acourt-ordered warrant. That’s fine.
    But this case shows us how people can get caught up by this kind ofinvestigation really quickly.
    Now imagine that instead of a call-girl operation, this had been a mosque oran international charity organization, and suppose you were someone who hadmade a call to ask about making donations to help the victims of the last earthquake in Indonesia? If that mosque, or charity, happened to be on thelist of outfits being monitored by the NSA’s computers, your call might well have been picked up. Then the focus would shift to your phone and your internet server, and conceivably every communication you made would bewatched.
    This is the America we now live in. According to the Wall Street Journal,after a wave of national outrage forced the Bush administration to shut down its Total Information Awareness project at the Pentagon, Bush and Cheney simply moved their scheme to subject all telecommunications and bank transactions to computer monitoring over to the NSA.
    Since none of this spying activity is subject to court supervision andwarrant requirements, we are left having to trust the personnel at the NSA,the so-called Justice Department, and the president and his administration, not to abuse it.
    Right. And think of the temptations!
    Want to know what the House leadership strategy is regarding renewal of the NSA wiretap authorization? Want to know whether the Congress is serious about imposing a time limit on troops in Iraq? Just start monitoring their emails and phones.
    Want to make sure Democratic members of Congress go along with a war onIran? Just monitor their phones and emails and catch them in conversations that are suitable for a little blackmail.
    Is this kind of thing happening? Well, I keep marvelling at the cowardlybehavior of leading members of Congress like Speaker Nancy Pelosi and HouseJudiciary Chair John Conyers. Maybe something is being held over theirheads.
    We know that the prosecution and conviction of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman was an administration hit on a popular Democratic official. Siegelman is now in jail. Ditto Wisconsin state employee Georgia Thompson. These blatant political prosecutions certainly weigh on the minds of allDemocratic elected officials.
    Who, after all, is safe in this kind of environment, where the Bill of Rights has been set aside?
    Spitzer no doubt made use of phone taps himself in his day, and was ruthless as New York’s attorney general in bringing down many of his own targets. But the way he was ensnared, via the secret monitoring of a bank’s activity, and via phone taps, should put us all on guard.
    With that kind of power, unchecked in the hands of an intensely politicaladministration, it’s almost a certainty that it is being used and used inappropriately for political ends.
    Dave Lindorff is a Philadelphia-based journalist and columnist. His latestbook is “The Case for Impeachment” (St. Martin’s Press, 2006 and now available in paperback). His work is available at http://www.thiscantbehappening.net
    http://www.counterpunch.org/lindorff03122008.html

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  7. Snuffysmith says:

    And another side of the issue:
    “Women weigh in: Why do wronged political spouses stand by their men?”
    By JOCELYN NOVECK, Associated Press
    Last updated: 7:34 p.m., Tuesday, March 11, 2008
    NEW YORK — When Silda Wall Spitzer stood beside her husband in ashen-faced misery the other day as the governor made his brief apology in the prostitution scandal, she uttered not a word.
    Yet she launched a thousand conversations.
    “Why is she standing there?” many women wondered.
    “Should she be?”
    “Would I be?”
    And for many, who’ve seen a long line of wronged political spouses do the same, from Hillary Rodham Clinton to Dina Matos McGreevey to Suzanne Craig, the immediate answer was a resounding, “Hell, no.”
    “I watched her and I thought, ‘Again, the wife is standing there,'” said Jessica Thorpe, a 38-year-old mother of three in Larchmont, N.Y.
    “And I had a visceral reaction.”
    “I just don’t get it.”
    “Why does it always have to be that way in politics?”
    “What will she get out of standing there?”
    The blogosphere was buzzing, too, with the same questions.
    “Why do they show up?” asked blogger Amy Ephron on huffingtonpost.com.
    She proposed her own fantasy:
    “I just want one of them — Hillary, Silda — to stand on the steps of the White House, the governor’s mansion, and stamp their foot and say, ‘And another thing, I’m keeping the house.'”
    Yet many women also understood that Silda Spitzer was obviously in pain, and in the unforgiving glare of the public spotlight.
    So while Donna Webster, a product development executive in Boston, wished the New York governor had been forced to face the music alone, she also empathized with his wife’s choice, which she assumed was for the sake of her three daughters.
    “I’ve been thinking about this constantly.”
    “I cringed when I saw her next to him,” said Webster, 59.
    “I think he should have taken it like a man — without her.”
    But, she added, “She was in crisis mode.”
    “She was like a mother bear protecting her cubs.”
    “When crisis hits, you do what you think you need to for your family.”
    “Later, you can step back and think about protecting yourself.”
    Amid the din, one of the most poignant voices defending Silda Spitzer was Matos McGreevey, who stood next to her husband, New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey, in 2004 as he told the world he was gay, claimed he had an affair with a male aide and resigned.
    “I’m reliving that moment and what it was like standing there next to Jim,” Matos McGreevey told The Associated Press Monday night.
    “I wanted to embrace her and say, ‘Be strong, you’ll survive this.'”
    In another interview on CNN, she referred to others who’d also stood by their spouses at moments of deep humiliation — Clinton, during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, and Suzanne Craig, the wife of Idaho Sen. Larry Craig, who was accused of soliciting sex in an airport bathroom.
    “We all do it for personal reasons,” said Matos McGreevey, now going through a contentious divorce with the former governor.
    “I did it because he was my husband.”
    “I had always supported him.”
    “I loved him.”
    “I had a daughter … I wanted her to know I was there for her father.”
    One therapist who deals with couples in crisis says most wronged women do want to at least try to work things out.
    “Your lives are intertwined, emotionally, financially and physically,” said Gail Saltz, who practices in New York City.
    “You share children.”
    “Just because someone has hurt and betrayed you deeply doesn’t mean you stop loving them.”
    “It’s very complicated for any woman who finds her husband has betrayed her.”
    And the fact that the alleged betrayal was with a prostitute is a double-edged sword, says Saltz.
    On the one hand, “this isn’t a woman that he fell in love with.”
    “On the other, many women would find the prostitution part particularly humiliating.”
    Joanna Coles, editor in chief of the women’s magazine Marie Claire, feels that at least for the moment, Silda Spitzer had no choice but to stand publicly by her husband, for whom she gave up an active career as a corporate lawyer.
    “People are very quick to judge her, but that’s the deal that you make when one of you decides to give up your career so that the other can go all out for his,” said Coles.
    “I think it would have been odd if she wasn’t there.”
    “It’s the pact that they made.”
    “She chose to be the wife of a governor, and she’s done it very conscientiously, and very well.”
    Ashley Shapiro, a 24-year-old event planner in Miami, says her friends are split on the issue of whether Silda Spitzer and other wronged political spouses have been right to stand by their men.
    As for her, she thinks it’s the only human thing to do.
    “You don’t turn your back on a loved one,” Shapiro said.
    “You support them.”
    “You don’t want your kids to see you abandoning their father in his time of need.”
    “You express your support publicly.”
    “Then you handle the rest privately.”
    “And all that,” Shapiro says, “is none of our business.”
    —-
    AP Writer Angela Delli Anti in Trenton, N.J. contributed to this report.

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  8. Snuffysmith says:

    QUOTE(Snuffysmith @ Mar 13 2008, 11:24 AM) *
    What I would like to know now is whether the New York State Bar will institute disbarrment proceedings?
    “Lawyer wants Spitzer suspended from NY bar”
    Associated Press
    Last updated: 4:43 p.m., Tuesday, March 11, 2008
    ALBANY — A Florida attorney is urging Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s immediate suspension as a lawyer in New York following reports he patronized a high-priced prostitution ring.
    Jack Thompson, a conservative Republican from Coral Gables, says the Disciplinary Committee for the Appellate Division’s First Department should stop Spitzer from practicing law until the matter is resolved.
    Alan Friedberg, the committee’s chief counsel, declined to comment.
    Calls to Spitzer’s office and his lawyer were not immediately returned.
    Thompson, who says he filed an early disbarment complaint against former President Bill Clinton in Arkansas, notes that Spitzer didn’t claim innocence in his apology Monday.

    Reply

  9. Snuffysmith says:

    More from Livyjr at CommonGroundCommonSense.org/
    This is about the rise and fall of Eliot Spitzer …
    And it would be a mistake to simply sugar-coat this as a mere indiscretion by a weak man, in my opinion, anyway …
    When I was young, WWII was just over, and I was drilled by my teachers repeatedly as to why the Americans had beat the Germans in that war, and what separated Americans from the Germans who adulated Hitler …
    And part of that equation had to do with something perhaps nebulous called MORAL AUTHORITY ….
    Which we no longer had in Viet Nam …
    And which Eliot Spitzer no longer had here in NYS, when he became the PROTECTOR of an illegal prostitution ring, so that he could use its services, as opposed to being the protector of the undivided law ….
    And part of that equation had to do with INTEGRITY …
    SUPPOSEDLY, because we put our faith as individuals into our Constitutions, we as a people could never collectively fall for a Hitler type of leader, because we were not inclined nor indoctrinated into GROUPTHINK over here ….
    SUPPOSEDLY …
    And with respect to Eliot Spitzer, I watched that all dissolve …
    Spitzer was in fact a CULT FIGURE here in America, and New York State …
    Adulation …
    It no longer had to do with the LAW …
    Eliot Spitzer BECAME the law ….
    And that went to his head …
    And he became dangerous ….
    Because he became indulged ….
    Rather than questioned …
    And so, he harmed people, like those little boys who kill things, just because ….
    Eliot Spitzer is as close to an Adolph Hitler type of figure that I have seen in my lifetime, here in America ….
    And I truly hope it is the last time, at least in my lifetime, anyway …
    As a combat veteran, and as an older person, I am for the law, not CHAOS …
    When the law is and remains what is written for all alike, then I am for that …
    When the law becomes an individual like Eliot Spitzer, instead, and what you get from it and him varies depending upon who you are, or what your “class’ is, then we have lost something unique and distinctive and vital that makes us into Americans, as opposed to the “GOOD GERMANS” who put and kept Hitler in power …
    And so …
    I don’t consider myself self-righteous or sanctimonious in any of this, Mr. A.B. ….
    If Eliot Spitzer the person wants to sleep with prostitutes, hey, go right ahead …
    So long as I don’t have to be told the details of it ….
    But that was not the case here, as you have acknowledged, Mr. A.B., at least from my perspective as an older NYS resident ….
    And so …

    Reply

  10. Snuffysmith says:

    I don’t think that this will really help check the political drama around Spitzer — but I think it’s useful context.
    — Steve Clemons
    Snuf, with all due respect to this person Steve Clemons …
    He is WAY WIDE of the mark here ….
    This has nothing to do with whether or not prostitution is a good thing, or a bad thing, or new, or ancient, which it most certainly is, from a reading of history …
    The rebel Jesus in the Bible in one case stepped in to prevent the stoning to death of a woman thought to be a prostitute …
    “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone …”
    And that was some 2,000 years ago, now …
    In many civilizations, past or present, prostitution is a fact of life, and is not necessarily illegal or unlawful …
    BUT …
    That has nothing to do with what happened here …
    And the efforts of this Steve Clemeons to trivialize Spitzer’s behavior are in fact ludicrous ….
    Spitzer was not JOE CITIZEN, here ….
    He was the elected governor of the State of New York …
    BY OUR CONSTITUTION, which is not subject to being voted on or nullified by citizens of other states of this union, when he swore his oath of office here in NYS, Spitzer swore to uphold the NYS Constitution …
    Which made it his duty to US, the CITIZENS of this state, to take care that the laws of NYS were faithfully executed ….
    And there is where he failed, and miserably so ….
    Here, in America, Snuf, for good or bad, LIBERTY is defined as:
    Freedom from all restraints EXCEPT such as are justly imposed by law.
    – Black’s Law Dictionary
    Now, there is where my disagreement with your Steve Clemons would stem from in this specific case …
    Whether or not it should be, and that is a moral judgment, prostitution is and remains illegal in NYS and America …
    Now, your Steve Clemons can make all the arguments that he wishes to the effect that laws against prostitution in NYS or America are not in fact “JUSTLY IMPOSED BY LAW” …
    BUT …
    I myself am of the mind that once a law is made law, then until revoked or repealed or deemed unconstitutional, it is law …
    Whether or not it was “justly imposed” in my personal opinion does not alone serve to negate it …
    AND AS NYS GOVERNOR, Eliot Spitzer did not have the unilateral authority, jurisdiction or discretion to “decriminalize” prostitution so that HE could then participate in it, to the ruin of his family …
    Your Steve Clemons, on the other hand, seems to have a feel that a bunch of people can merely get together and decide that they don’t like this or that law, such as the laws against prostitution, and thusly negate the law as if it did not exist …
    WITHOUT HAVING TO GO THROUGH THE DUE PROCESS OF HAVING THE LAW CHANGED OR NULLIFED IN COURT OR REPEALED …
    Which I believe is part of what led Spitzer to his ruin here in NYS, starting right at DAY ONE …
    When he tried to become a CAUDILLO …
    Instead of assuming the constitutional duties of a governor of the State of New York …
    And so ….
    Perhaps you would do me the favor of forwarding my feelings on this matter to this gentleman for his consideration as to how a citizen of the State of New York looks at this matter ….
    And tell him that if he does not like our laws up here, that he should then move here, and become a citizen himself, and then he can take lawful measures to have these laws changed, or removed from the books …
    But in the meantime …
    Well ..
    And so …

    Reply

  11. Tahoe Editor says:

    Lewis Black had a great take on this on last night’s (Tuesday’s) Daily Show — catch a re-run if you can.

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  12. karenk says:

    Sorry…messed that up…not amorning person
    that first line should have read “The important part of the story for me is, did Eliot Spitzer break the law???”

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  13. karenk says:

    TSpitzer break the law?
    Bottom line-If prostitution is legal in DC, then it’s the Spitzer’s personal problem. If not, then he’s breaking the law. And one which he has prosecuted other people for. That’s the problem. And Steve I’m surprised-it sounds like you’re excusing him cause ‘everybodys doin it’.(those stats reflect the sad and sorry state of both men, women and the poor quality of our relationships -but that’s another topic altogether-not enough room in the comment box!)
    On a lighter note this brought to mind something a bartender friend of mine used to say all the time-
    ‘There are only 2 things that can take a man down no matter how powerful he is- a whiskey glass and a piece of ass.’
    he important part of this story for me is, did

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  14. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Spitzer’s big mistake was in acquiring the services of a high priced female hooker.
    He should have sought the services of a White House Press Corps pseudo-marine gay pornographer pseudo-journalist gay whore with a humongous schlong, (with Ari Fleischer’s stamp of approval tatooed on his ass), and the media might have ignored it.
    Besides, who knows, he might’ve gotten a West Wing overnight pass in the deal too.

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  15. Chesire11 says:

    Bill Clinton offense was irrelevant to his duties as POTUS and he became only the second president to have to endure the humiliation of an impeachment trial.
    Larry Craig’s offense was irrelevant to his duties as a U.S. Senator, he’s become a largely irrelevant joke on the Hill and is pretty much just marking time while his term expires.
    Larry Vitter is from New Orleans and that sort of thing is just kind of assumed.
    Spitzer, whose entire political raison d’etre is built upon his record as an anti-corruption crusader, is only a single year into his term of office and has been caught patronizing a criminal enterprise, compromising himself and the governor’s office – it’s pretty clear, by any standard outside Tammany Hall, the guy simply has to go.

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  16. Tahoe Editor says:

    Because he made a career out of going after his fellow Johns.

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  17. bob h says:

    If Bill Clinton, David Vitter, and Larry Craig rode out their embarrassments, why can’t Spitzer? What makes resignation so imperative in his case?

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  18. Chesire11 says:

    Given that, as governor of the state, Spitzer has a great deal of influence over the awarding of contracts as well as law enforcement, his decision to solicit sex from a prostitution ring is a very major problem or should be for anyone serious about little things like corruption in government, public integrity, law enforcement. Regardless of whether prostitution should e legalized or not (and I find it peculiar that anyone with a progressive bent would attempt to suggest that an such an inherently misogynistic enterprise extensively engaged in human trafficking, child abuse and the exploitation of poor and undereducated women for the amusement of cheating husbands should be legalized!) the fact of the matter is that prostitution is illegal.
    By frequenting prostitutes, Spitzer not only exposed himself and his office to potential extortion, but demonstrated precisely the same contempt for the rule of law we decry in George Bush. Both Bush and Spitzer apparently believe that the law is something for other people to obey, but which they are free to ignore if it suits their moods.
    Sorry, but that doesn’t fly with me, whether the miscreant is a Republican or a Democrat. I also have little patience for the argument that because members of the Bush administration have thus far eluded responsibility for their criminal behaviors that Elliott Spitzer should not be pilloried for his transgression. Ninety percent of the reason I am a Democrat is because I so completely loath and reject the lawless and authoritarian impulses of the modern Republican party – I support the Democrats as an alternative to the Republicans, so why would I be okay with them acting like the very Republicans I loath??? Yes, I agree that selective enforcement of the law is a bad thing, but the problem is remedied not through fewer prosecutions of corrupt public servants but by more prosecutions, not by less but by more respect for the law.

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  19. johnny says:

    As a single guy who’d never need a prostitute, porn’s ok by me, I’d guess the majority of men who frequent prostitutes are actually married men.

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  20. Diane says:

    This kind of commentary belittles this blog.
    ???
    It’s a blog. Bloggers can visit whatever subject they like. That’s one of the things that makes blogs interesting to write, and to read.
    You don’t pay bloggers to write, and they don’t owe you a thing.

    Reply

  21. downtown says:

    Totally off topic: I just read that William Fallon, Centcom Commander, resigned. Now I’m getting scared.

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  22. downtown says:

    Spitzer is a lowlife!! He campaigned as an alpha-male. Cleaning up Albany etc. Well, by its very definition, an alpha-male protects the females of the tribe. He just surrendered his wife’s and daughters’ dignity to the most scurrilous humiliation. He actually made his wife stand by his side while acknowledging indiscretions; her expression was heartbreaking to witness. Just to make it perfectly clear: It’s not about the sex, but about the hypocrisy. This creep stopped at nothing to advance his political career. Everything he ever achieved in public life was paid for by his daddy’s money. And, just as an aside, his views on foreign policy were to the right of Richard Perle. Good riddance. RESIGN right now, you creep!

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  23. RonK, Seattle says:

    Hmmm. From this I surmise that between 40 thousand and 15 million married men visit prostitutes in a given year, and between 40 thousand and 60 million married men visit prostitutes in a given NY Governor’s term.

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  24. Tahoe Editor says:

    “People meeting prostitutes happens regularly through our society,” but people who meet prostitutes while prosecuting people who meet prostitutes doesn’t happen quite as often.
    Elliot needs to meet Bill Bennett for cocktails.

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  25. drv711 says:

    The Republicans are threatening to impeach Spitzer?? They bend over for Bush and Cheney, but would impeach Spitzer??. Wouldn’t it be a hoot if Governer Spitzer consistently and powerfully framed their arguments to highlight Republican hypocrisy about impeachment? They would look like the Three Stooges, slapping themselves in the face. Spitzer could pick any of Bush’s, or, Cheney’s impeacheable offenses, and ask if the Republicans consider Spitzer’s offense to be more damaging to his constituents.
    After he does the American people the favor of shedding light on real impeacheable offenses, he would revitalize his image and carreer.

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  26. Dave says:

    While all of the US is spell bound by this ghastly incident, Europe really couldn’t care less. Europeans just don’t think that they should grade their politicians performance by the sex partners they have – in or out of wedlock.
    The same day Mr. Spitzer committed his terrible sin, the newly re-elected president of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Klaus, was found sexing it up with a 25 year old flight attendant in a local motel. He’s almost 70 and he’s married. Only two papers reported it, on an obscure inside page, in a short article. It’s basically no news here.

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  27. Carroll says:

    I wonder if we will know how this really came about. One account I read said that a bank manager contacted the FBI about Spitzer’s money wires and that started it. But then other accounts suggest that QAT was already under investigation for money laundering and that resulted in Spitzer showing up in the wire taps.
    So maybe it was politically motivated or maybe not. Either way it got two birds with one stone.
    MANHATTAN U.S. ATTORNEY CHARGES ORGANIZERS AND MANAGERS OF INTERNATIONAL PROSTITUTION RING
    MORE THAN $1 MILLION IN ALLEGED PROSTITUTION PROCEEDS LAUNDERED THROUGH TWO FRONT ACCOUNTS
    MICHAEL J. GARCIA, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, MARK J. MERSHON, Assistant
    Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), and PATRICIA J. HAYNES, Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the United States Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigative Division (“IRSCID”), announced today the unsealing of charges against MARK BRENER, a/k/a “Michael,” CECIL SUWAL, a/k/a “Katie,” a/k/a “Kate,” TEMEKA RACHELLE LEWIS, a/k/a “Rachelle,” and TANYA HOLLANDER, a/k/a “Tania Hollander,” for their roles as organizers and managers of an international prostitution and money-
    laundering ring called the Emperors Club VIP (the “Emperors Club”). All four defendants were charged with conspiracy to violate federal prostitution statutes; BRENER and SUWAL were also charged with conspiring to launder more than $1 million in illicit proceeds from the prostitution crimes. BRENER, SUWAL, LEWIS, and HOLLANDER were all arrested this morning, and are expected in Manhattan federal court later today for their initial appearances. According to the Complaint unsealed today:
    BRENER, SUWAL, LEWIS, and HOLLANDER used the Emperors Club to arrange connections between wealthy male clients and more than 50 prostitutes in, among other places, New York, New York; Washington, D.C.; Los Angeles, California; Miami, Florida; London, England; and Paris, France.
    U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael H. Dolinger ordered that Brener be held without bail after prosecutors said $600,000 in cash and an Israeli passport were found in his apartment. Brener’s lawyer, Jennifer Brown, said her client was a U.S. citizen who had lived in the United States for 20 years. Suwal was not immediately able to post her $500,000 bail. Her lawyer, Daniel Parker, said she denies the charges. “We’re going to conduct a thorough investigation into the charges,” he said. “At the end of the day, we think she’ll be completely vindicated.” Assistant U.S. Attorney Dan Stein said he believed the arrests shut down the ring.
    The Emperors Club took in more than $1 million in illicit proceeds from its international prostitution business.
    It accepted payment in the form of cash, American Express charges, wire transfers, and money orders. To conceal the illegal nature of the business, BRENER and SUWAL received prostitution proceeds in United States bank accounts in the names of front companies, including two accounts in the names of “QAT Consulting Group, Inc.,” and “QAT International, Inc.”

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  28. questions says:

    Let’s face it, there’s no easy way to tell an Iraq narrative that feels good/triumphant/like we are on the right side and they are on the wrong side. Same with the economy and a lot of other complicated stories where the the truth is either hard to discern or so ugly we’d rather not know about it. (Hedge funds back the subprime mess, but are funded with HUGE pension funds and university endowments and other masses of private capital — many of us are implicated.)
    So what’s an easy story? Moral crusader gone bad. Spitzer guarantees for all of us that we are good– because even when we trip up, at least none of us is the governor of NY. Phew!
    At the same time, I really hate the hypocrisy of crusaders, and I’d be thrilled to have an African-American, legally blind representative of NY. Justice is supposed to be blind. On the other hand, I have read he’s a machine pol…….

    Reply

  29. Linda says:

    Also in Congress they should be working on overturning Bush’s veto Saturday of the bill that made torture interrogation techniques illegal for CIA to use.

    Reply

  30. Captain Dan says:

    Unless there is something more than pussy involved, this is only a story for religious nuts!

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  31. Carroll says:

    Posted by PissedOffAmerican Mar 11, 10:38AM
    Posted by Dan Kervick Mar 11, 11:43AM
    Posted by jim miller Mar 11, 12:22PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Right
    Right
    Right
    8 more US soliders were killed yesterday and I don’t how many more Iraqis.
    And our financial melt down continues.
    But the “parties” ignore it all for the good of the “parties”.
    Shhh…..don’t bother them with trifling realities about the demise of America, they are busy trying to minipulate nominations with Super Delegates.
    Burn Washington to the Ground and Start Over.

    Reply

  32. jc says:

    The only piece of this story I’m interested in? How was he caught. I read that it had something to do with money transfers, but I’m very skeptical. We couldn’t be talking about THAT MUCH money, could we?
    We have the former Gov. of Alabama, a Democrat, sitting in jail based on trumped up charges, and a Republican party “operative” who says Karl Rove had asked her to follow the guy to catch him cheating on his wife.
    We have the U.S. Attorney scandal, where there was a concerted effort to prosecute Democrats for voter fraud, or anything else they could come up with, apparently.
    We have domestic spying that may be more extensive than anyone had imagined.
    I hope Dem. Party governors all over the country are watching their backs, and Democrats at every other level.
    The Republican party is beginning to look more like the Mob, to me.

    Reply

  33. jim miller says:

    1. Dank and poa are spot on….we are twisted…How many iraqi’s are dead or maimed?
    2. Gov Spitzer has crossed the Clinton commander and chief threshold, if ferraro wont be hrc veep mabe spitzer will…

    Reply

  34. Dan Kervick says:

    POA has the right perspective here. When the sovereign hand signs a paper that fells an innocent city and doubles the globe of dead, calls for accountability are muted. But let that hand fondle a breast and all moral hell breaks loose. Our world really is so sick.

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  35. Chris Brown says:

    I don’t think the act of patronizing a prostitute is the issue in this matter, which I consider a personal right. It is the rank hypocrisy, by a public official parading himself around as being above reproach; and dishonesty, in not only cheating on his wife, but also in taking measures to conceal the financial transaction.
    To me Spitzer’s act is on par with that of Jimmy Swaggart’s and Ted Haggard. It is the hypocrisy.

    Reply

  36. FaceOnMars says:

    Colorado Springs is “a typical area in the United States”?!?
    A better description of CS might be: it’s the home of NORAD, the Air Force, and the religious right!
    Nonetheless, the point of the post is well taken.

    Reply

  37. Linda says:

    The obvious solution to the societal problem is as Carroll suggests though highly unlikely to happen. Also it’s very unfair that the women get arrested and clients never do. Of course, legalization of prostitution not going to happen any more than legalization of marijuana.
    Another interesting angle is how it will impact,if much at all, re: superdelegates. Spitzer was a Clinton supporter. Lt. Gov Patterson also is for Clinton and will, I believe, become a superdelegate when he takes over being governor, probably this week. Patterson sounds very interesting as he is blind and African-American and will be the first governor of NY to have those characteristics.

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  38. Carroll says:

    The personal vices of politicans is becoming like water off a dog’s back. Actually the only thing I see wrong here is he was married and cheated on his wife and he a hypocritic about prositiution.
    It sounds slezzy but why don’t we just legalize prostitution since it’s never going to end anyway…at least we would have some control over the tax evasion and health dangers.

    Reply

  39. Bartolo says:

    The fact is that Iraq is “old news” and since few in the media are impacted by a failing economy, that also fails to gain their attention.

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  40. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Its horseshit. I have seen more on the news in 24 hours on Spitzer’s personal sexual adventure than I have seen in two years about the Downing Street Memo.
    This effin’ white wash “Phase Two” is finally being released. Seen anything on the news about that? How about this jackass EPA chief Johnson and his pathetic stonewalling about his refusal to allow California’s CAFE standards? The TRUTH about how Bush is buying off the “former Batthists”, “Saddam loyalists”, and “Sunni insurgents” who were yesterday’s evil personified in Bushworld? How about this neocon jackass and Chalabi buttlicker Feith claiming the Iraq debacle is all Powell, Rice, and Bremer’s fault?
    Gee Steve, two pieces on Spitzer in 24 hrs. You in competition with Fox News or somethin’?

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  41. Frank says:

    This kind of commentary belittles this blog.

    Reply

  42. TokyoTom says:

    Glenn Greenwald has good context as well, and also points a finger at the problems of a growing police state, and how insiders use it to eliminate competitors:
    http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2008/03/10/spitzer/index.html

    Reply

  43. Chesire11 says:

    “Dog Bites Man” may not be a story, but “Dog Bites the Governor of NY” certainly is – especialy if the governor was elected based upon his reputation for handling dogs.

    Reply

  44. JohnH says:

    The media should give half as much coverage to war profiteering in Iraq. Or to politicians prostituting themselves out to monied interests. But it won’t happen–that would require the media to rat on their owners, GE being the most egregious case of a media/military corporation.

    Reply

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