Everyone remembers Client #9. The news story was almost as widespread as that “Love Potion #9” song, though there appears to be no connection.
Eliot Spitzer was governor of New York. Elected in 2006 by a comfortable margin, he came in promising reform and decency, then resigned in disgrace after a hooker blew his job. Partial credit there, Eliot.
In more detail, Spitzer failed at decency when he was caught out in a sting operation as a client of a highly paid call girl with eyes so close together that her nose had to get in the way as a referee.
The ensuing scandal brought Spitzer low, as many will remember.
He is hardly the first public official to have – and indeed admit to – such indiscretions. The vast majority of these have kept their jobs and indeed continue to serve, sometimes admirably. The sexual peccadilloes of the governing elite are not indicative of their ability to do their jobs, after all.
So what made Eliot special?
As attorney general, Spitzer had done a great deal of good, going after big corporations with practices that hurt the little guy.
Poor phrasing there, I apologize.
As attorney general, Spitzer had done a great deal of good, going after big corporations with practices that hurt their customers and smaller competitors.
On February 14 2008, the Washington Post ran an Spitzer editorial titled, “Predatory Lenders’ Partner in Crime: How the Bush Administration Stopped the States From Stepping In to Help Consumers”. In this article, he detailed the federal derailment of his own investigations into the crisis back in 2003.
About two weeks later, he Spitzer proposed legislation which would have imposed penalties for mortgage fraud and predatory lending practices.
Needless to say, he was making himself few friends in the White House or on Wall Street. In a curious parallel (and by curious I mean blatant) his case was dealt with in DC instead of being referred to state authorities, and the first voices howling for impeachment belonged to downstate Republican members of the state legislature.
Had Spitzer been allowed to continue on his path, either in 2003 or 2008, the economic situation might have been significantly different.
Regrettably, his blanketeering gave opponents just the opening they needed in order to bring him down.