“It looks like the Bush Justice Department just bagged themselves another Democratic Governor.”

Eliot Spitzer has resigned, effective Monday. Taegan Goddard didn’t spare him:

Rule #1: If you ride into elective office as a crusader on your white horse, people will try to knock you off. If you’re arrogant, they’ll try harder. In Spitzer’s case, he came into office on a streamroller but the lesson is the same. The forces of bureaucracy and the status quo are incredibly powerful. Show any sign of vulnerability or hypocrisy and they’ll stop you right in your tracks.

Rule #2: You need friends and allies in politics. Even politicians with the best intentions get pushed off course. But without people on your side, you’ll spend most of your time trying to get out of a ditch. Your adversaries will work tirelessly to keep you there. Since his inauguration, Spitzer has even had people in his own party cheering for his demise.

The New York Times had a profile of Lieutenant Governor David A. Paterson, who will become this nation’s fourth-ever African American governor, and who is legally blind. But there’s much more to the story. Glenn Greenwald wants to know who cares if Eliot Spitzer hires prostitutes? And my DocuDharma colleague ek hornbeck angrily made the point:

On the one hand we have a man who, if every single allegation and inference is proven true, paid money to have sex and tried to conceal that fact from his wife, the government, and the people who elected him.  He hypocritically denounced the crimes he was committing.


On the other hand we have a man who is a war criminal.  Who’s administration has killed hundreds of thousands of innocents (maybe along with a few guilty). and rendered millions homeless refugees.  Who has condemned millions of women to Sharia Law and Burkas.  Who lied 935 times to us and the whole world.  Who is even now plotting to extend this illegal war that has damaged our national defense and our economy in a direction that will DESTROY IT!

But others question the very process that led to Spitzer’s getting busted. Because it fits a certain sinister pattern.

digby references this New York Times article (emphasis hers):

Soon, the I.R.S. agents, from the agency’s Criminal Investigation Division, were working with F.B.I. agents and federal prosecutors from Manhattan who specialize in political corruption.

The inquiry, like many such investigations, was a delicate one. Because the focus was a high-ranking government official, prosecutors were required to seek the approval of the United States attorney general to proceed. Once they secured that permission, the investigation moved forward.

And writes:

I’m just wondering when exactly last year that permission was sought. Rove and Gonzales both resigned in August of 07 under a cloud for a plot to fire US Attorneys who refused to trump up charges of “voter fraud” and pursue cases against Democratic politicians. Mukasey was sworn in in November. Peter D. Keisler was acting attorney general during the interim. Which one ordered the investigation?

Because it’s not like the Bush DOJ is known for politicizing justice.

Ken Silverstein notes:

A reader emails with an interesting observation:                  

Amazing how Senator David Vitter’s name never leaked out of the Justice Department after the arrest of the D.C. Madam, but Eliot Spitzer’s name leaked out of the Justice Department within a week of the initial arrest in the Emperor V.I.P. case.

Amazing, indeed. Or not. And Scott Horton, who has tirelessly reported on the political prosecution of former Democratic Alabama Governor Don Siegelman, makes these disturbing points:

However, there is a second tier of questions that needs to be examined with respect to the Spitzer case. They go to prosecutorial motivation and direction. Note that this prosecution was managed with staffers from the Public Integrity Section at the Department of Justice. This section is now at the center of a major scandal concerning politically directed prosecutions. During the Bush Administration, his Justice Department has opened 5.6 cases against Democrats for every one involving a Republican. Beyond this, a number of the cases seem to have been tied closely to election cycles. Indeed, a study of the cases out of Alabama shows clearly that even cases opened against Republicans are in fact only part of a broader pattern of going after Democrats. So here are the rather amazing facts that surface in the Spitzer case:

(1) The prosecutors handling the case came from the Public Integrity Section.

(2) The prosecution is opened under the White-Slave Traffic Act of 1910. You read that correctly. The statute itself is highly disreputable, and most of the high-profile cases brought under it were politically motivated and grossly abusive….

(3) The resources dedicated to the case in terms of prosecutors and investigators are extraordinary.

(4) How the investigation got started. The Justice Department has yet to give a full account of why they were looking into Spitzer’s payments, and indeed the suggestion in the ABC account is that it didn’t have anything to do with a prostitution ring. The suggestion that this was driven by an IRS inquiry and involved a bank might heighten, rather than allay, concerns of a politically motivated prosecution.

All of these facts are consistent with a process which is not the investigation of a crime, but rather an attempt to target and build a case against an individual.


So, Spitzer’s gone, and his own hubris played a major role. But the opening line of Horton’s post may turn out to be the real story:

It looks like the Bush Justice Department just bagged themselves another Democratic Governor.

And very possibly primarily because he is a Democrat.


Skip to comment form

  1. . . . has been transparently political.  All of a sudden the MSM care about misconduct in high political office?  They haven’t cared about it in the Oval Office or the Justice Department since 2001.

    I “love” the way the networks keep insisting that Spitzer was “involved with a prostitution ring,” which sure makes it sound like he was running one–the impression the phrase is surely intended to create.

    How come the media never mention that Bush and Cheney are “involved with” a torture and genocide ring?

  2. it’s Spitzer’s fault. if he wasn’t aware of this looming possibility, then he’s not the kind of strategic thinker i want running my gov’t

    the very worst thing we can do is make this story that Bush’s Justice Dept bagged another dem.

    Spitzer did this. to you. to me. he made it easier for all americans to feel hopeless and lied to.

    it isn’t about SEX. it is that he had enough brains to know we needed something better. these times call for something better. not more hypocrisy and bullshit.

    and we all ought to get that. because if we don’t, then we will be forever mired in this shit.

    Spitzer did this. and BushCo… does what it always does. no surprises there. and this was a legit getme.


    you want to stop the war criminal? then stop accepting unacceptable behavior. period.

    ps… did you get my request about using your essay from yesterday?

  3. Thanks for this, Turk.  Every time I tried to write about it I just mostly blithered, lol.

    This is the real story.  The rest is just all those nice shiny distractions.

  4. diary yesterday which broke the time line down. While Spitzer did this they were trolling him just waiting. I cannot believe how an exAG who made his start busting prostitutes would not know that he was tapped and continue to move dubious amounts of money around. However I am really tired of the lawyers who run our country using the DOJ and other branches for bogus political warfare with each other. For a while as there are so many lawyers on line I started respecting them. Once again I’m thinking ten ft. under is a good place for them all of them. the law is just a weapon or a toy to most.    

    • brobin on March 13, 2008 at 00:20

    money and power. Enter stupidity and callous mistakes due to believing that with all that money and power nothing you might possibly do could be wrong.  You call the shots, right?  

    The Power. To Call. The Shots.

    Speaking of power.

    We currently have at the helm of this once wonderful country a former drunk who has never been without the feeling that his family bestowed power can overcome all of the things that he does.  He has never questioned his decisions.  They had to be correct.  Because he was in POWER, dammit!  Drunk with power!  Stupidity and callousness be damned.  It doesn’t count when you are in power!  In fact, it isn’t even considered.

    Governor Spitzer is guilty of stupidity and callousness due to money and power.

    The current “leader” of America is guilty of atrocities beyone belief and reproach.  How awful for the entire population of the world that he does not have the decency to resign due to these atrocities that he has happily given the thumbs up to commiting. Because of power, stupidity and callousness.  For all I know, he might even be into sex.

    • C Barr on March 13, 2008 at 00:53

    and his mysterious overnighters at the White House.

    • Viet71 on March 13, 2008 at 01:33

    Let’s say you are an intelligence officer of a foreign power who knows Eliot Spitzer has or knows something your superiors want.

    Is Spitzer (prior to the leak) vulnerable to manipulation?

    You bet.

    It’s best for the U.S. that he’s been flushed out.

    Too many politicians who are vulnerable have been manipulated.

    Background:  Was trained as, and served as, an army intelligence officer (MOS 8666) in Viet Nam.  From my perspective, Spitzer is a classic.

  5. Not saying Spitzer wasn’t stupid, he was. But I agree with this diary. This has Bush Administration written all over it.  Vitter didn’t go through any of this. If they’re prosecuting “johns” now, then Vitter needs to be prosecuted too.  

  6. He was client number 9.  Who are 1-8 and why aren’t their names leaked?  Sure they went after him.  I heard the talking heads this morning shrieking about the Mann act, of all the stupid laws in the world to use as an excuse to vilify someone guilty of consensual sex.

    It is illegal.  He is known as a justice man.  And it was just plain freaking stupid.  And, as the witch says in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, it was a fair cop.  He was totally pwn’ed.  He loses his job for that.  It is the price one pays.

    Last odd thought.  If I were to have to choose between the two, I would rather find out my husband was paying for entertainment, than having a personal relationship with another woman.  So, oddly enough, the one that is illegal would be easier for me, personally to deal with.

    rambling now….

Comments have been disabled.