Tuesday, March 11, 2008
The Governor and the Emperor's Club
The New York Times broke the story early yesterday afternoon. By 2 PM, the media airwaves were full of the news: Eliot Spitzer, the Governor of the State of New York, was linked to a Prostitution Ring.
By 5 PM, the local news channels were on their 1,000th loop of replaying his statement of apology, made only a few hours before. There he was, looking calm and anything but apologetic. His wife Silda was by his side. The only word I could use to describe her pale face, obviously struggling to hold back any sign of emotion, was "stricken."
Ironies - ironies upon ironies - abound. This is the governor who built his political campaign for governor on the promise to bring ethics back to New York State.
As Attorney General, he made his name prosecuting at least two prostitution rings while he was chair of the state's task force on organized crime. In one such case in 2004, Mr. Spitzer spoke with revulsion and anger after announcing the arrest of 16 people for operating a high-end (whatever the heck that means) prostitution ring out of Staten Island.
The NY Times reports: "Federal prosecutors rarely charge clients in prostitution cases, which are generally seen as state crimes. But the Mann Act, passed by Congress in 1910 to address prostitution, human trafficking and what was viewed at the time as immorality in general, makes it a crime to transport someone between states for the purpose of prostitution."
The Mann Act. How ironic for the Governor of the State of New York, a common "John" to be brought down by "the Man/n."
The NY Times further reports: "Under the state constitution, should Mr. Spitzer resign, Mr. Paterson, the lieutenant governor would serve the remainder of the Governor’s term.
Mr. Paterson’s current office would remain unfilled until the 2010 election, as the constitution makes no provision for filling a vacancy in the lieutenant governor’s office. Under those circumstances, Joseph L. Bruno, is the Republican majority leader and temporary president of the state senate, would "perform all the duties of the lieutenant-governor" until a new one is elected in 2010.
Those duties include acting as governor when the nominal office-holder is out of the state. Moreover, should Mr. Spitzer resign and if Mr. Paterson were unwilling or unable to take his place, Mr. Bruno would become acting governor—a possibility that would hold special irony, given the vicious and ongoing battles between Mr. Bruno and Mr. Spitzer over the last year."
Yes, well, but the deepest irony for me is that "Client 9," as Spitzer is named in the afidavit (which begs the question - if the Governor of the State of NY is "number 9", who the heck are the first eight?), frequented the prostitution ring named "The Emperor's Club."
Looks like this Governor had no clothes - in more ways than one. I guess that happens when you weave together threads of arrogance, political power, judgement, blind ambition, and corruption.