- Eliot Spitzer
name= Eliot Spitzer
office= Governor of New York
January 1, 2007
March 17, 2008
office2= New York State Attorney General
January 1, 1999
December 31, 2006
birth_date= birth date and age|1959|06|10
birth_place= The Bronx, New York
Harvard Law School
Silda Wall Spitzer
Manhattan, New York
religion=Jewish [cite web|url=http://www.nga.org/portal/site/nga/menuitem.29fab9fb4add37305ddcbeeb501010a0/?vgnextoid=1f99417491fbf010VgnVCM1000001a01010aRCRD&vgnextchannel=cc34ee3e01492010VgnVCM1000001a01010aRCRD|title=National Governors Association - Governor's Information] [cite web|url=http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/12/nyregion/12spitzer.html?pagewanted=3&n=Top/Reference/Times%20Topics/Subjects/A/Attorneys%20General|title=New York Times: Gilded Path to Political Stardom, With Detours]
Eliot Laurence Spitzer (born
June 10, 1959) is an American lawyer and former politician of the Democratic Party. He served as Governor of New Yorkfrom January 2007 until his resignation on March 17, 2008in the wake of his involvement in a high-priced prostitution ring. Prior to being elected governor, Spitzer served as New York State Attorney General.
Spitzer was born and raised in Riverdale, in
the Bronxborough of New York City, to real estatetycoon Bernard Spitzerand Anne Spitzer, an English literatureprofessor. [Lowenstein, Roger. [http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/16/business/yourmoney/16shelf.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=%22Eliot+Spitzer%22+riverdale&st=nyt&oref=slogin "As Governor, What Would His Battles Be?"] , " The New York Times", July 16, 2006. Accessed April 13, 2008. "Eliot and his two siblings grew up in the prosperous Riverdale enclave of the Bronx, fed on progressive politics and duly enrolled in private schools."] He attended Princeton Universityfor his undergraduate studies and Harvard Universityfor law school. It was there that he met his future wife, Silda Wall. After earning his Juris Doctordegree, Spitzer joined the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison.
Two years later, he joined the
Manhattan district attorney's office, headed by Robert M. Morgenthau, to pursue organized crime. He launched the investigation that brought down the Gambino family's control over Manhattan's garment and trucking industries. In 1992, Spitzer left to work at the law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flomand, later, Constantine and Partners.
In the 1998 election, Spitzer defeated incumbent Republican
Dennis Vaccoby a slim margin to become New York State Attorney General. His campaign was financed largely in part by a controversial multi-million dollar loan from his father. As attorney general, Spitzer prosecuted cases relating to corporate white collar crime, securities fraud, internet fraudand environmental protection. He most notably pursued cases against companies involved in computer chip price fixing, investment bank stock price inflation, and the 2003 mutual fund scandal. He also sued Richard Grasso, the former chairman of the New York Stock Exchange, claiming he had failed to fully inform the board of directors of his deferred compensation package, which exceeded $140 million. [cite web |url=http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=ad0ZcUfS5juk&refer=us |title="Cheers on NYSE Floor, Shock in Albany: Spitzer's Fall" |author=Dolmetsch, Chris |date=2008-03-13 |accessdate=2008-03-13]
In 2006, Spitzer was elected governor of New York after defeating Republican
John Fasoin the November election. During his time in office, he proposed a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in New Yorkand issued an executive order allowing illegal aliens to be issued driver's licenses, which have both attracted controversy. In July 2007, he was admonished for his administration's involvement in ordering the State Police to record the whereabouts of State Senate majority leader Joseph L. Bruno.
March 10, 2008, " The New York Times" reported that Spitzer was a client of a prostitutionring under investigation by the federal government. Two days later, he announced his resignation as governor of New York, effective March 17, citing "private failings."cite web |url=http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/03/12/spitzer/index.html |title=Spitzer to step down by Monday |accessdate=2008-03-12 |publisher= CNN] cite web |url=http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/03/12/spitzers-resignation-spe_n_91157.html |title="Spitzer's Resignation Speech: Transcript" |date=2008-03-12 |accessdate=2008-03-13|publisher= The Huffington Post]
Early life and background
Spitzer was born in the Bronx, the youngest of three children of Anne (née Goldhaber), a former English professor, and Bernard Spitzer, a civil engineer who became real estate mogul.cite web|url=http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/12/nyregion/12spitzer.html|title=Gilded Path to Political Stardom, With Detours] [cite web|url=http://www.wargs.com/political/spitzer.html|title=The Ancestors of Eliot Spitzer] His grandparents were
Jewish immigrants from Austria.
He is a graduate of
Horace Mann School. After scoring 1590 (out of a possible 1600) on the SAT,Hakim, Danny. [http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/12/nyregion/12spitzer.html?pagewanted=2&ei=5070&en=dfe6dec6cfc7b2aa&ex=1170478800 "A Gilded Path to Political Stardom, With Detours"] , " New York Times", October 12, 2006. Abstract retrieved January 1, 2007.] Spitzer attended Princeton University. He scored a perfect score on the LSAT [Healy, Patrick. [http://travel2.nytimes.com/2006/10/18/nyregion/18faso.html?pagewanted=2&fta=y "An Ill-Timed Candidate Believes His Time Is Now"] , " New York Times", October 18, 2006. Retrieved January 1, 2007.] and went on to Harvard Law School, where he met and married Silda Wallon October 17, 1987. They have three daughters.
Upon receiving his
Juris Doctordegree, Spitzer clerked for Judge Robert W. Sweetin Manhattan, then joined the law firmof Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. He stayed there for less than two years, leaving to join the staff of Manhattan District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau, where he became chief of the labor- racketeeringunit and spent six years pursuing organized crime. He led the investigation that ended the Gambino crime family's control of Manhattan's trucking and garment industries. [cite news |first=Adi
title=Wall Street's Top Cop
Spitzer left the District Attorney's office in 1992 to work at the law firm of
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, where he stayed until 1994. From 1994 to 1998 he worked at the law firm Constantine and Partners on a number of consumer rights and antitrust cases.
In 1994, Spitzer put aside his private practice to concentrate on attaining the elected office of
New York State Attorney General. He lost in the 1994 election but was successfully elected in the next election in 1998. He has since become one of New York's most recognizable Democratic politicians. On November 7, 2006, he was elected Governor of New York.
Campaigns for Attorney General
In 1994, long-serving Democratic New York State Attorney General
Robert Abramsdecided to leave office after having unsuccessfully challenged Al D'Amatofor the seat of U.S. Senator from New York in 1992. Several Democrats saw weakness in Abrams' replacement as Attorney General, G. Oliver Koppell, and ran for the party's nomination, Spitzer among them. At the time, he was young and unknown, and, despite heavy funding from his own family, his campaign ended when he placed last among four candidates for the nomination. Judge Karen Bursteinwon. Burstein subsequently lost to Republican Dennis Vaccoin the general election, part of a Republican sweep that included the election of Governor George Pataki.
That election of a Republican in 1994 allowed Spitzer to run again in 1998. Now more experienced in party politics, he won the Democratic primary, defeating Koppell, State Senator
Catherine Abbate, local representative Jeff Orlick, and former Governor's Counsel Charles Davis. He went on to defeat the incumbent Vacco by 48.2 percent of the vote to Vacco's 47.6 percent. He ran for re-election in 2002, opposed by Republican Judge Dora Irizarry. Spitzer won re-election, this time with 66 percent of the vote.
December 8, 2004, Spitzer announced his intention to seek the Democratic nomination for governor of New York. While long rumored, Spitzer's announcement was unusually early—nearly two years before the election. As a result of Spitzer's relative speed in bringing state Democrats to his side, he gained the respect of Democratic leaders nationwide. New MexicoGovernor Bill Richardsondubbed Spitzer the "future of the Democratic Party" at a fund raiser held in June 2005 for Spitzer's gubernatorial campaign. [cite news
title=Richardson praises Eliot Spitzer as "future" of Democratic Party
In January 2006, Spitzer selected New York State Senate minority leader
David Patersonas his choice for Lieutenant Governor and running mate. After announcing his candidacy, Spitzer was endorsed by numerous New Yorkers, including state Comptroller Alan Hevesiand two former New York City mayors, David Dinkinsand Ed Koch. On May 30, 2006, Spitzer and Paterson won the endorsement of the New York State Democratic party. [cite news
title=Convention Notebook; Controversy Over Ground Zero's Fate Is Front and Center in Buffalo
The New York Times"
accessdate=2006-11-04] A June 2006
Quinnipiacpoll showed him leading Nassau county executive Thomas Suozzi76-13 percent. [cite news
title=Faso Convention Bubble Goes Flat In Gov Race, Quinnipiac University New York State Poll Finds; Spitzer Still Has 40-Point Lead Over Faso, Suozzi
July 25, 2006, he faced Suozzi in a gubernatorial debate held at Pace Universityin Manhattan, discussing issues such as public authorities and Medicaid. [cite news
title=Spitzer, Suozzi Face-Off In Sole Gubernatorial Debate
publisher="NY 1 News"
accessdate=2006-11-04] When asked about marijuana, Spitzer stated that he disagrees with medicinal use of the drug, claiming that other medicines were more effective. [cite news
title=Spitzer Chokes on Pot Deal
New York Magazine"
accessdate=2006-11-04] In the Democratic primary held on
September 12, 2006, Spitzer handily defeated Suozzi, securing his party's nomination with 81 percent of the vote.
October 5, Spitzer, addressing the Empire State Pride Agenda, declared that as governor he would work to legalize gay marriage in New York. [cite news
title=Spitzer Vows to Push for Gay Marriage
The New York Times"
Spitzer was elected Governor on
November 7, 2006with 69 percent of the vote, defeating Republican John Fasoand Libertarian John Clifton, among others.
Work as Attorney General
As Attorney General, Spitzer stepped up the profile of the office. Traditionally, state attorneys general have pursued
consumer rightscases, concentrating on local fraudwhile deferring national issues to the federal government. Breaking with this traditional deference, Spitzer took up civil actions and criminal prosecutions relating to corporate white-collarcrime, securities fraud, Internetfraud, and environmental protection. [cite news
title=Eliot Spitzer - How New York's attorney general became the most powerful man on Wall Street
A number of experts, including economists, lawyers, and political analysts have commented on Spitzer's active role in public policy debates. The New York Attorney General's office has
Wall Street(and thus many leading corporate and financial institutions) within its jurisdiction. Also, the New York Attorney General wields greater than usual powers of investigation and prosecution as to corporations under New York State's General Business Law. In particular, under Article 23-A, § 352 (more commonly known as the Martin Actof 1921), the New York Attorney General has the power to subpoenawitnesses and company documents pertaining to investigations of fraud or illegal activity by a corporation. Spitzer used this statuteto allow his office to prosecute cases which have been described as within federal jurisdiction. [cite news
title=The Sheriff Of Wall Street
accessdate=2006-11-04] [cite news
title=Spitzer's 'federalist papers' are onerous
accessdate=2006-11-04] In January 2005, the president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce described Spitzer's approach as "the most egregious and unacceptable form of intimidation we've seen in this country in modern times". [cite news
title=U.S. group is taking on Spitzer
International Herald Tribune"
Spitzer used this authority in his civil actions against corporations and criminal prosecutions against their officers. It proved its usefulness in the wake of several U.S.
corporate scandals that began with the collapse of Enronin 2001. Several of these corporations, as well as the brokerage houses that sold their stock, were accused of having inflated stock values by unethical means throughout the 1990s. When inquiries into the allegations by the SEC and Congress failed to gain traction, Spitzer's office used its subpoena power to obtain corporate documents, building cases against the firms both in courtrooms and in public opinion.
In addition to prosecutions and civil actions in the financial sector, Spitzer has pursued cases in both state and federal courts involving pollution, entertainment, technology, prostitution, corruption, occupational safety and health and other fields in which New York plays a part in setting and maintaining national standards of conduct.
The New York State Senate Investigations committee is considering investigating a controversial multi-million dollar loan the governor’s father
Bernard Spitzergave him when he ran for attorney general in 1998, a loan the younger Spitzer has acknowledged not being truthful about.Dicker, Fredric. [http://www.nypost.com/seven/07232007/news/columnists/gop_puts_heat_on_eliots_5m_loan_columnists_fredric_u__dicker.htm "GOP PUTS HEAT ON ELIOT'S $5M LOAN"] , " New York Post", July 23, 2007. Retrieved on July 28, 2007.] Senate Investigations Committee Chairman George Winnertold "The New York Post" that subpoenas should be used to find out about the loans. [cite news |title=State Senate GOP Seek Spitzer Loan Records |publisher=Associated Press date=2007-07-23] Winner wrote to Senate Elections Committee Chairman Senator Joseph Griffothat an article profiling Spitzer in " New York Magazine" "outlined what may have been a willful effort by Eliot Spitzer and his father to circumvent campaign-contribution limits in New York state law and then conceal their actions." In 1998, Spitzer claimed that he secured the $5 million loan by mortgaging apartments his father had given him, but later revealed that his father was actually paying off the loans and, therefore, financing his campaign.
At the traditional midnight ceremony, Spitzer was sworn in as governor of New York on
January 1, 2007. A public ceremony was held at 1 p.m. on the same day which featured brass and percussion players from the Empire State Youth Orchestra[cite news |first=Michael |last=Cooper |title=Amid Champagne and Cheers, Spitzer Is Sworn in as Governor |url=http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/01/nyregion/01inaug.html |work= New York Times|date=2007-01-01 ] Bucking tradition, the ceremony was held outdoorsndash the first outdoor inauguration ceremony in New York for over a century. [ [http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aVp7olerYxwc&refer=home "Spitzer, Sworn in as New York Governor, Vows Historic Reform"] , "Bloomberg", January 1, 2007. Retrieved July 27, 2007.] After taking the oath of office, he attended a concert at the Times Union Centerin his honor, headlined by James Taylorand Natalie Merchant.
Roadblocks to reform
Spitzer's reform-based platform, and his pledge "to change the ethics of Albany", hit an early roadblock when his ideas on how to fill vacancies in the executive department were defeated by the state legislature. According to the
New York State Constitution, it is the duty of the state legislature to fill executive vacancies. The Governor was criticized as unreasonable for admonishing the legislature when it took constitutional actions. The appointment of state assemblyman Thomas DiNapolito succeed disgraced Alan Hevesias Comptrollerof the State of New York was a serious blow to the new governor. Spitzer had backed an outside panel to draft a list of qualified candidates. The legislature revolted when the panel failed to select one of its own. [cite news |first=Michael |last=Cooper |title=Legislators Pick a Comptroller, Defying Spitzer. |url=http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/08/nyregion/08comptroller.html |work= New York Times|date=2007-02-08 |accessdate=2007-02-12 ]
Spitzer's choice was New York City Finance Commissioner
Martha Stark, who was selected by a panel that consisted of former State Comptroller Edward Regan, former State Comptroller Carl McCalland former New York City Comptroller Harrison J. Goldin. On February 7, 2007, when the Legislature voted, Stark was one of two names put into nomination, along with Assemblyman Thomas DiNapoli of Long Island, Assembly Leader Sheldon Silver's choice. The final vote was 150 for DiNapoli and 56 for Stark. Stark's main support came from Democrats in the Senate, along with Republicans in both chambers.
Spitzer traveled to the home districts of various Democratic assembly members to publicly criticize them for their vote on DiNapoli. He visited the regions of Syracuse Assemblyman William B. Magnarelli and George S. Latimer of
Westchester County, and had plans to continue his pressure. [Fenner, Austin and Mahoney, Joe. [http://nydailynews.com/front/v-pfriendly/story/497049p-418915c.html "Bulldog Spitzer rips pol"] , "Daily News", February 12, 2007. Retrieved on July 28, 2007.] [Hakim, Danny. [http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/13/nyregion/13spitzer.html?_r=1&oref=slogin "On Tour to Talk Up Budget Plan, Spitzer Stays on Attack"] , " New York Times", February 13, 2007. Retrieved July 28, 2007.] Some Assembly Democrats were alienated over the incident, and questioned Spitzer's refusal of extending special treatment to party members seeking local political appointments.Gershman, Jacob. [http://www.nysun.com/article/59050?page_no=2 "Democrats Deny Governor Cover"] " New York Sun" ( 25 July 2007).]
One of Spitzer's key campaign pledges was to reform the state budget process. While the state did pass a budget on schedule in 2007, the ultimate results fell short of what many reformers hoped Spitzer would achieve. "
The New York Post" opined, "Spitzer promised reform, and delivered something completely different" and termed the budget itself "bitterly disappointing." [ [http://www.nypost.com/seven/04032007/postopinion/editorials/eliots_education_editorials_.htm "ELIOT'S EDUCATION"] , " New York Post", April 3, 2007. Retrieved July 28, 2007.]
Spitzer's budget quickly turned into a deficit, as by the end of October it was projected the state would run a deficit exceeding $4 billion for the year. During Spitzer's first year the state payroll increased, aggravating budget problem. [cite web|url=http://www.bizjournals.com/buffalo/stories/2007/12/10/daily37.html?ana=from_rss|title=State payroll jumps with Spitzer] Despite increasing the public sector payroll, in late 2007 New York State started leading the nation in lost jobs. The 2008-09 budget includes measures to counter financial effects of the crisis in the financial sector starting in the second half of 2007. [cite web|url=http://publications.budget.state.ny.us/eBudget0809/ExecutiveBudgetPresentation2008-09Final.pdf|title=2008-09 Executive Budget, Eliot Spitzer|format=PDF, retrieved 2008-03-14]
Spitzer was criticized by members of the
New York State Legislaturefor failing to compromise on issues during his first few months as governor. In a now infamous exchange, Spitzer told New York State Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco: "Listen, I'm a fucking steamroller and I'll roll over you and anybody else." According to "The New York Post", Spitzer confirmed the exchange the following day. [Dicker, Fredric. [http://www.nypost.com/seven/02012007/news/regionalnews/full_steam_ahead_for_spunky_spitz_regionalnews_fredric_u__dicker_________state_editor.htm Full Steam Ahead for Spunky Spitz] , " New York Post", February 1, 2007. Retrieved on July 28, 2007.] Spitzer's reputation as a "steamroller" was shared by a plurality of New Yorkers in a Quinnipiac Universitypoll, but by a 3 to 1 margin they believed the tactic had been unsuccessful and had only added to political gridlock. [cite web|url=http://www.quinnipiac.edu/x1318.xml?ReleaseID=1107|title=Spitzer Knew About Troopergate And Should Testify, New York State Voters Tell Quinnipiac University Poll; Comptroller Should Share Pension Decisions, Voters Say]
Tedisco later accused Spitzer of cutting $300,000 of state funding for health care and education grants in the
Schenectadyarea as retaliation for Tedisco's opposition to the Spitzer plan to allow illegal immigrantsNew York State driver's licenses. [Dicker, Fredric U., [http://www.nypost.com/seven/10172007/news/regionalnews/young__poor_hit_hardest.htm Young & Poor Hit Hardest] , " New York Post".] Tedisco accused the Governor of "dirty tricks" and "bullying". [ [http://www.cbs6albany.com/news/spitzer_1252204___article.html/tedisco_governor.html Tedisco Accuses Spitzer of 'Dirty Tricks,' 'Bullying'] October 17, 2007]
In the wake of the controversy involving the "troopergate" scandal involving Bruno, Spitzer was accused of pandering to special interest groups to solidify his base of support. "The governor who took office vowing to clean up Albany has lost so much public support that he is reduced to feathering the nest of the unions and other liberals", wrote Michael Goodwin of the "Daily News". [Goodwin, Michael, [http://www.nydailynews.com/opinions/2007/09/30/2007-09-30_cornered_by_troopergate_spitzer_is_showi.html Cornered by Troopergate, Spitzer is showing his desperation] , "Daily News".]
In February 2008, the "Washington Post" published an
op-edwritten by Spitzer in which he criticized the Bush Administration for inhibiting States from pursuing predatory lenders.cite news|url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/13/AR2008021302783.html|title=Predatory Lenders' Partner in Crime; How the Bush Administration Stopped the States From Stepping In to Help Consumers|last=Spitzer|first=Elliot |date=2008-02-14|publisher=The Washington Post|accessdate=2008-09-30]
Proposal to legalize same-sex marriage
In April 2007, Spitzer proposed a bill that would legalize
same-sex marriage in New York. State Senate Majority Leader Joe Brunoannounced his opposition to the proposal. [cite news |title=Spitzer unveils gay marriage bill; Senate leader balks|publisher=Associated Press |date=2007-04-27] This legislation passed in the State Assembly on June 19, 2007, but died in the State Senate and was returned to the Assembly. [cite web|url=http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?bn=A08590|title=Bill Summary - A08590]
Controversy over use of State Police for surveillance
July 23, 2007, New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's office admonished the Spitzer administration for ordering the State Police to keep special records of Senate majority leader Joseph L. Bruno's whereabouts when he traveled with police escorts in New York City.Hakim, Danny. [http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/23/nyregion/23cnd-spitzer.html?ei=5065&en=092d738cd9b81f16&ex=1185854400&adxnnl=1&partner=MYWAY&adxnnlx=1185242622-K6Y7/EG67UtZryyQopmEOg&pagewanted=print "Spitzer’s Staff Misused Police, Report Finds"] , " New York Times", July 23, 2007. Retrieved on July 28, 2007.] At the direction of top officials of the Spitzer administration, the New York State Policecreated documents meant to cause political damage to Bruno.Matthews, Cara. [http://www.theithacajournal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070723/NEWS01/70723006/1002 "Cuomo: Spitzer aides used state police to try to damage Bruno"] , " The Ithaca Journal", July 23, 2007. Retrieved on July 28, 2007.]
A 57-page report issued by the Attorney General's office concluded that Spitzer engaged in creating media coverage concerning Senator Bruno's travel.cite news |first=Tom |last=Precious |title=Cuomo criticizes Spitzer for using State Police to monitor Bruno |publisher=The Buffalo News |date=2007-07-23] The investigation looked into both Bruno's travel and the Senate leader's allegation that Spitzer used State Police to spy on him.Gormley, Michael. [http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=3406517 "Report: NY Governor's Office Leaked Data"] , "The Guardian Unlimited",
July 23, 2007. Retrieved on July 28, 2007.] Cuomo concluded that "These e-mails show that persons in the governor's office did not merely produce records under a FOIL[Freedom of Information Law] request, but were instead engaged in planning and producing media coverage concerning Senator Bruno's travel on state aircraft before any FOIL request was made."Gormley, Michael. [http://www.oneidadispatch.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=18620173&BRD=1709&PAG=461&dept_id=68844&rfi=6 "Spitzer aides linked to Bruno leaks"] , "Utica Observer-Dispatch", July 24, 2007. Retrieved on July 28, 2007.] Faiola, Anthony. [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/24/AR2007072401999.html "N.Y. Governor Moves to Limit Ethics Scandal"] , " Washington Post", Page A06, July 25, 2007. Retrieved on July 28, 2007.] It also suggests that the governor's staff lied when they tried to explain what they had done and forced the State Police to go far beyond their normal procedures in documenting Bruno's whereabouts.Hakim, Danny. [http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/24/nyregion/24governor.html?_r=1&oref=slogin "His Aura Faded Now, Spitzer Faces Bolder Enemies"] , " New York Times", July 23, 2007. Retrieved on July 28, 2007.]
The report cleared Bruno of any misuse of the state's air fleet, which had been alleged.cite news |last=Mansfield |first=Melissa |title=Spitzer punishes aides after AG report |publisher=Newsday |date=2007-07-23] The report criticized Spitzer's office for using State Police resources to gather information about Bruno's travel and releasing the information to the media.Gershman, Jacob. [http://www.nysun.com/article/58958 "Spitzer Faces Probe in Senate"] , "
New York Sun", July 24, 2007. Retrieved July 28, 2007.] The findings of the report were endorsed by Spitzer’s own Inspector General, Kristine Hamann.
Spitzer responded at a
July 23press conference that "As governor, I am accountable for what goes on in the executive branch and I accept responsibility for the actions of my office" and that his administration had "grossly mishandled" the situation.Goldenberg, Sally. [http://blog.silive.com/advanceupdate/2007/07/report_governors_office_compil.html "Report: Governor's office compiled, leaked data on Bruno"] , " Staten Island Advance", July 23, 2007. Retrieved on July 28, 2007.] Spitzer subsequently announced that he would indefinitely suspend his communications director, Darren Dopp, and reassign another top official.Jochnowitz, Jay. [http://timesunion.com/AspStories/story.asp?storyID=608323&category=&BCCode=HOME&newsdate=7/23/2007 "AG report faults Spitzer aides in Bruno scheme"] , "Albany Times-Union", July 23, 2007. Retrieved on July 28, 2007.] When questioned about his promise to bring ethical responsibility to state politics, Spitzer responded by saying "I will not tolerate this behavior", "ethics and accountability must and will remain rigorous in my administration," and that "I have always stated that I want ethics and integrity to be the hallmarks of my administration. That is why I requested that the State Inspector General review the allegations with respect to my office, and that is why we have fully cooperated with both inquiries."
The investigations of the event, dubbed "Troopergate" by media outlets, have not been affected by Spitzer's resignation. [Freifeld, Karen. " [http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aV6a0DI3HR0k&refer=home Spitzer Troopergate Subpoenas Still Stand, Judge Told] ". "
Bloomberg". March 13, 2008.] As of March 2008, four probes by the state Attorney General's office, the State Senate Investigations Committee, the Albany County District Attorney's Office, and the New York Commission on Public Integrity, are ongoing. [" [http://www.nydailynews.com/news/2008/03/13/2008-03-13_eliot_spitzers_tumultuous_reign.html Eliot Spitzer's tumultuous reign] ". "Daily News". March 13, 2008.] [Spector, Joseph. " [http://polhudson.lohudblogs.com/2008/03/13/troopergate-in-court/ Troopergate In Court] ". " Journal News". March 13, 2008.]
Controversy over driver's licenses for illegal immigrants
September 21, 2007, Spitzer issued an executive orderdirecting that state offices allow illegal immigrants to be issued driver's licenseseffective December 2007. [cite news |title=Department of Motor Vehicles Changes License Policy to Include More New Yorkers and Implements New Regime of Anti-Fraud Measures to Strengthen the Security of the System
url=http://www.ny.gov/governor/press/0921071.html |work=press release |publisher=Office of the Governor of New York |date=2007-09-21 |accessdate=2007-11-10 ] cite news |first=Nina |last=Bernstein |title=Spitzer grants illegal immigrants easier access to driver's licenses |url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=990DE4D7103AF931A1575AC0A9619C8B63&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=all |publisher=The New York Times |date=2007-09-22 |accessdate=2007-11-14 ] Applicants for driver's licenses would not be required to prove legal immigration status and would be allowed to present a foreign
passportas identification. After meeting with the Department of Homeland Security in October 2007, Spitzer altered the plan so that licenses issued to illegal aliens would look different from other licenses and that the new licenses would not allow access to airplanes and federal buildings. [cite news |first=James T. |last=Madore |title=Spitzer defends license plan over Democrat fears |publisher=Newsday |date=2007-11-09 |accessdate=2007-11-10 ]
October 21, 2007, the State Senate voted to oppose the Spitzer plan by a 39-19 vote.cite news |first=Nicholas |last=Confessore |title=Senate Votes to Stop Spitzer Plan to Give Illegal Immigrants Driver's Licenses |url=http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/23/nyregion/23legislature.html?ex=1350792000&en=1e4ab8ac28507b83&ei=5089&partner=rssyahoo&emc=rss |publisher=The New York Times |date=2007-10-23 |accessdate=2007-11-10 ] cite news |first=Nicholas |last=Confessore |title=Why Some Democrats Defected on Spitzer Driver's License Plan |url=http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/10/23/looking-at-the-state-senates-democratic-defectors/ |publisher=The New York Times |date=2007-10-23 |accessdate=2007-11-10 ] Eight Democrats from moderate districts broke with Spitzer on the vote. After the vote, " The New York Times" called this issue "Mr. Spitzer’s single most unpopular decision since he took office."
Following the State Senate's vote, Spitzer revised his plan again, proposing the issuance of a third type of driver's license. This driver's license would be available only to United States citizens who are New York State residents, and would be valid for crossing the
Canadian border.cite news |first=Nicholas |last=Confessore |title=Visa data to be included on driver's licenses again |url=http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/31/nyregion/31license.html |publisher=The New York Times |date=2007-10-31 |accessdate=2007-11-14 ] Spitzer also announced that the expiration dates of temporary visas would be printed on the driver's licenses of individuals living in the country with them.
November 14, the day following the release of a poll showing the proposal as extremely unpopular with voters, Spitzer announced he would withdraw the plan, acknowledging that it would never be implemented. [cite news |first=Devlin |last=Barrett |title=Spitzer Dropping His Driver's License Plan |url=http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/14/nyregion/14spitzer.html |publisher=The New York Times |date=2007-11-14 |accessdate=2007-11-14 ] cite news |first=Sasha |last=Issenberg |title=Clinton backs N.Y. driver's license plan for illegal immigrants |url=http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2007/11/01/clinton_backs_ny_drivers_license_plan_for_illegal_immigrants/ |publisher=boston.com |date=2007-11-01 |accessdate=2007-11-10 ] cite web
title=Just Call Him...Gov. Flip-Flop
November 15, 2007
WCBS-TV] The decision drew derision from the press, as the Associated Presstermed this reversal a "surrender." [cite news |first=Devlin |last=Barrett |title=Gov. Spitzer Surrenders on License Fight |publisher=Associated Press |date=2007-11-15 |accessdate=2007-11-26 ] WCBS-TVlabeled him "Governor Flip-Flop." State Senator Ruben Diazof the Bronx said he was "betrayed" by Spitzer's abandonment of the plan. [cite news |first=Kennth |last=Lovett |coauthors=Geoff Earle |title=Hill's 'Stand?' Well, today is Thursday |url=http://www.nypost.com/seven/11152007/news/regionalnews/hills_stand__well__today_is_thursday_____437996.htm |publisher=New York Post |date=2007-11-15 |accessdate=2007-11-26 ]
Approval as Governor
November 13, 2007, Spitzer's approval rating as Governor was 33 percent, [cite news |title=Governor Eliot Spitzer's approval rating plummets over license plan |url=http://www.nydailynews.com/news/2007/11/13/2007-11-13_governor_eliot_spitzers_approval_rating_.html |publisher="Daily News" |date=2007-11-13 |accessdate=2008-03-11] a further decline from his 44% approval rating of October 24, 2007. [cite news |url=http://www.surveyusa.com/client/PollReport.aspx?g=9e307543-f15c-4de9-b2cf-0d629d5e3792 |title=Results of SurveyUSA News Poll #12789 |work=SurveyUSA |date=2007-10-24 ] A later poll showed that New York City Mayor Michael Bloombergwould defeat Spitzer were he to seek reelection. [cite news |url=http://www.nypost.com/seven/11062007/news/regionalnews/mikes_secret_bid_to_run_vs__spitzer_789523.htm |first=Fredric U. |last=Dicker |coauthors-Seifman, David |title=Mike's secret bid to run vs. Spitzer |work="Daily News" |date=2007-11-06 ] Two polls in December 2007 showed further erosion in Spitzer's public standing. [cite news |url=http://www.legislativegazette.com/read_more.php?story=2752 |title=Two polls show Spitzer’s public image still suffering |first=Kyle |last=Miller |work=Legislative Gazette |date=2007-12-17 ]
candal and resignation
March 10, 2008, "The New York Times" reported that Spitzer had previously patronized a high-priced prostitutionservice called Emperors Club VIP[cite news |url=http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/07/nyregion/07prostitution.html |title=Four Charged With Running Online Prostitution Ring |first=Alan |last=Feuer |date=2008-03-07 |work=The New York Times ] and met for over two hours with a $1,000-an-hour call girl New York City singer going by the name Ashley Alexandra Dupré(legal name Ashley Rae Maika DiPietro, born Ashley Youmans). [ [http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/13/nyregion/12cnd-kristen.html?_r=1&ref=nyregion&oref=slogin Woman at the Center of Governor’s Downfall] ] This information originally came to the attention of authorities from a federal wiretap. [cite news |url=http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/03/10/spitzer-as-client-9-read_n_90787.html |title=Spitzer As Client 9: Read Text Messages From Spitzer To Prostitute |work=The Huffington Post |date=2008-03-10 ] [cite news |url=http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/citydesk/2008/03/10/spitzer-missed-lesson-of-dc-madam/ |title=Spitzer Missed Lesson of D.C. "Madam" |date=2008-03-05 |work=Washington City Paper |first=Erik |last=Wemple ] [cite news
title=Spitzer apologizes to family, public
WNBC] [cite news |url=http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/years/2008/0306082emperor6.html |title=Online Hooker Ring Busted |date=2008-03-06 |work=The Smoking Gun ] Spitzer had at least seven or eight liaisons with women from the agency over six months, and paid more than $15,000. [Kessler, Robert. " [http://www.latimes.com/ny-stpro0311,0,4551038.story Eliot Spitzer met with call girls 7 or 8 times] ". " Newsday". March 11, 2008.] [" [http://www.wnbc.com/politics/15562646/detail.html GOP Pol: Resign Or Else] ". " WNBC". March 11, 2008.] According to published reports, investigators believe Spitzer paid up to $80,000 for prostitutes over a period of several years while he was Attorney General, and later as Governor.cite news |title=Spitzer resigns amid sex scandal |first=Sheldon |last=Alberts |work=Canwest News Service |publisher=The Gazzette |date=2008-03-12 |url=http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/story.html?id=1722ada9-2541-4484-912a-b41d794f063f ] [ [http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5hbn0pGJNidI7Ajy1sRrQCB2vHG2QD8VC4L1O0 Disgraced NY Governor won't Need New Job] Associated Press, March 12, 2008] [ [http://www.nypost.com/seven/03122008/news/regionalnews/80g_addicted_to_love_gov_101541.htm 80G 'Addicted to Love' Gov"] , "New York Post", March 12, 2008.] Spitzer first drew the attention of federal investigators when his bank reported suspicious money transfers, which initially led investigators to believe that Spitzer may have been hiding bribe proceeds. The investigation of the governor led to the discovery of the prostitution ring. [cite web|url=http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/story?id=4424507&page=1|title=It Wasn't the Sex; Suspicious $$ Transfers Led to Spitzer|author=Brian Ross|date=2008-03-10]
In the wake of the revelations, Spitzer announced on
March 12that he would resign his post as Governor effective at noon of March 17, amid threats of his impeachmentby state lawmakers.
"I cannot allow for my private failings to disrupt the people's work," Spitzer said at a news conference in New York City. "Over the course of my public life, I have insistedndash I believe correctlyndash that people take responsibility for their conduct. I can and will ask no less of myself. For this reason, I am resigning from the office of governor."cite news |title=Spitzer resigns amid sex scandal |first=Sheldon |last=Alberts |work=Canwest News Service |publisher=The Gazzette |date=2008-03-12 |url=http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/story.html?id=1722ada9-2541-4484-912a-b41d794f063f ] [cite web|url=http://www.amny.com/news/local/wire/politics/ny-bc-ny-spitzer-resignatio0312mar12,0,7214884.story?track=rss|title=Text of Governor Spitzer's resignation letter]
Since resigning, Spitzer has kept a relatively low profile, but close friends have stated that Spitzer spends most of his time with his family, and regularly meets with lawyers in his father Bernard's real estate office in
Manhattan. Spitzer and his wife have entered couples therapy.cite news |title=Spitzer Spends His Time With Lawyers and Family |first=Danny |last=Hakim |publisher=The New York Times |date=2008-04-14 |url=http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/14/nyregion/14empire.html ]
July 16, 2008, " The New York Times" made public that Spitzer used campaign funds to pay for two Mayflower Hotelbookings, $411.06 apiece, where he was suspected to have met with prostitutes. While it remains unclear if Spitzer actually stayed in the hotel on the nights he booked, "The Times" has stated that Spitzer met with prostitutes in early 2008. Spitzer declined to comment on the issue.cite news |title=Spitzer Charged Campaign for Hotel Bills, Raising Question About His Funds |first=Danny |last=Hakim |publisher=The New York Times |date=2008-06-16 |url=http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/16/nyregion/16spitzer.html?scp=3&sq=Spitzer&st=nyt ]
According to an article published on
July 23, 2008in " The New York Times", the state ethics committee is continuing their investigation into his administration's handling of travel records. If found guilty of wrongdoing, he faces a maximum $10,000 fine. "The Times" also reported that federal investigators are still debating on whether or not to bring about criminal charges against Spitzer for his involvement in the prostitution scandal. Spitzer has declined to comment on the recent developments.cite news |title=Spitzer is Target of Ethics Investigation |first=Danny |last=Hakim |publisher=The New York Times |date=2008-06-23 |url=http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/23/nyregion/23spitzer.html?ref=nyregion ]
The New York Times" reported on September 28, 2008that Spitzer is considering entering philanthropic, environmental, or pro bonolegal work in an effort to improve his reputation.cite news |title=6 Months Later, Spitzer Is Contrite, Yes, but Sometimes Still Angry |first=Danny |last=Hakim |publisher=The New York Times |date=2008-06-28 |url=http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/28/nyregion/28spitzer.html?_r=1&ref=nyregion&oref=slogin ]
* [http://www.ny.gov/governor/press/resignation.pdf Resignation Letter]
* [http://www.spitzer2006.com/ Eliot Spitzer for Governor] - Official gubernatorial campaign websiteNonpartisan:
* [http://www.followthemoney.org/database/StateGlance/candidate.phtml?si=200634&c=422598 Follow the Money - Eliot L Spitzer] 2006 campaign contributions
* [http://www.ontheissues.org/Eliot_Spitzer.htm On the Issues - Eliot Spitzer] issue positions and quotes
* [http://votesmart.org/bio.php?can_id=BNY14465 Project Vote Smart - Governor Eliot Spitzer (NY)] profileBiographies and profiles:
* [http://www.nga.org/portal/site/nga/menuitem.29fab9fb4add37305ddcbeeb501010a0/?vgnextoid=1f99417491fbf010VgnVCM1000001a01010aRCRD&vgnextchannel=1af5c274eee62010VgnVCM1000001a01010aRCRD National Governors Association - New York Governor Eliot Spitzer]
* [http://www.time.com/time/archive/preview/0,10987,1003960,00.html "TIME Crusader of the Year 2002: Eliot Spitzer"] , by Adi Ignatius,
December 21, 2002issue of " Time Magazine"
* [http://slate.msn.com/id/2108509/fr/rss/ "Eliot Spitzer - How New York's attorney general became the most powerful man on Wall Street"] - Profile by Daniel Gross from "Slate"'s "Assessment" column,
October 21, 2004
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/3745334.stm "Corruption probe hits US insurers"] - BBC News,
15 October 2004.
* [http://www.brookeamasters.com/ "Spoiling for a Fight: The Rise of Eliot Spitzer"] by Brooke A. Masters (Times Books, July 2006)
* [http://ssrn.com/abstract=877488 "The Small Laws: Eliot Spitzer and the Way to Insurance Market Reform,"] by Sean M. Fitzpatrick, 74 Fordham L. Rev. 3041 (2006)
* [http://www.02138mag.com/lists/PC/1105.html "Power Couples"] profile in
02138, October 2006.Interviews:
* [http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/wallstreet/interviews/spitzer.html "Frontline: The Wall Street Fix"] - from the
PBS-series "Frontline", dated April 16, 2003.
* [http://www.pbs.org/now/politics/spitzer.html "NOW with Bill Moyers": New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer] - Streaming video and transcripts of Spitzer's multiple interviews on the
PBSseries "NOW with Bill Moyers".
* [http://www.nrdc.org/onearth/04fal/briefings2.asp "The Pollution Buster"] - Interview with Elizabeth Kolbert in Fall 2004 issue of "OnEarth Magazine", publication of the
Natural Resources Defense Council.Media coverage:
* [http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/s/eliot_l_spitzer/index.html New York Times - Eliot L. Spitzer] collected news stories and commentary
*newseum front page archive|day=13|year=08|month=03
* [http://www.breakinglegalnews.com/search/spitzer Breaking Legal News - Eliot L. Spitzer] Collection of News of Eliot Spitzer
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/3745334.stm "Corruption probe hits US insurers"] -
BBCcoverage of Spitzer's probe of insurance industry practices, October 15, 2004.
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/3945079.stm "Spitzer targets music companies"] -
BBCcoverage of Spitzer's prosecution of payola, October 22, 2004
* [http://www.gregpalast.com/elliot-spitzer-gets-nailed/ Greg Palast, "Eliot's Mess"]
* [http://www.writersvoice.net/2008/03/podcast-64-greg-palast-on-spitzer-and-the-bank-bailout-also-field-report-on-narrative-journalism/ Greg Palast interview on Spitzer scandal timing] Critics: Greg Palast
* [http://www.federalismproject.org/agwatch/ Attorney General Watch] - blog of the
American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, critical of Eliot Spitzer and other state attorneys general.
* [http://www.cato.org/research/articles/reynolds-041022.html "Not Spitzer's Job"] - article by
Alan Reynolds, senior fellow of the Cato Institute, a libertarianthink-tank. Reprinted from " The Wall Street Journal"
* [http://www.theroyalgazette.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20041203/BUSINESS/112030125 "The unintended economic consequences of Spitzer"] - Commentary by Mark Gilbert in "The Royal Gazette" of Bermuda (originally published by Bloomberg News)
* [http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110008324 The Passion of Eliot Spitzer: Is he telling the truth as he tries to "take people out"?] by Kimberley A. Strassel,
The Wall Street Journal, May 2006
* [http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2006/05/the_passion_of_eliot_spitzer.html Eliot Spitzer's Real Agenda... is Eliot Spitzer] By Kimberley A. Strassel,
The Wall Street Journal, May 2006
* [http://blog.kir.com/archives/003094.asp Houston attorney Tom Kirkendall's] collection of opinion and article references critical of the history of Eliot Spitzer as Attorney General.
* [http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/2008/03/11/power-corrupts-elliot-spitzers-record-as-ny-attorney-general/ "Power Corrupts: Elliot
[sic]Spitzer’s Record as N.Y. Attorney General"] By Alan Reynolds, Cato-at-liberty, March 8, 2008.Reports:
* [http://www.oag.state.ny.us/press/2007/jul/FINAL%20REPORT_1.pdf Report of Investigation into the Alleged Misuse of New York State Aircraft and the Resources of the New York State Police (New York State Attorney General)]
* [http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/years/2008/0310082spitzer1.html FBI affidavit regarding the Emperor's Club VIP scandal]
* [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/13/AR2008021302783.html Spitzer, Eliot, "Predatory Lenders' Partner in Crime: How the Bush Administration Stopped the States from Stepping In to Help Consumers" Washington Post, February 14, 2008]
Governor of New York
years=2007 - 2008
NAME=Spitzer, Eliot Laurence
SHORT DESCRIPTION=New York State Attorney General and Governor of New York
DATE OF BIRTH=
June 10, 1959
PLACE OF BIRTH=
Riverdale, Bronx, New York City, NY
DATE OF DEATH=
PLACE OF DEATH=
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