The Spitzer Scandal, and the Fallout

The New York Times


March 14, 2008
Letters
To the Editor:

Re “Spitzer Resigns” (front page, March 13):

The soon to be ex-governor says that his immediate focus is on his family. It would have been nice, and far more humane, had Eliot Spitzer’s focus been on his family while he was reportedly having unprotected sex with a prostitute.

Mr. Spitzer and many other powerful men like him do not even allow the consequences of their acts to interfere with their testosterone rush for a single minute. The wives and children are so totally devastated by the actions of men like Eliot Spitzer that they may never recover.

Imagine his young daughters at school, having to face the stares and the I-know-what-your-father-did attitudes of their classmates. Mr. Spitzer’s beautiful wife gave up a powerful law career to raise their children and support her husband’s political career.

Well, Mr. Spitzer, we all make choices and we all have to live with the consequences of those choices. I, for one, am ashamed for you and disgusted by you.

Henry A. Lowenstein
New York, March 13, 2008

To the Editor:

In Eliot Spitzer’s resignation announcement, the departing governor of New York stated:

“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. For this reason, I am resigning from the office of governor.”

The hypocrisy of Mr. Spitzer’s statement is, I believe fair to state, that had Mr. Spitzer not been caught, he would not be taking the responsibility for his conduct!

Richard J. Ablin
Tucson, March 13, 2008

To the Editor:

Thorough reporting in The Times of the Spitzer saga persuades me that the worst aspect of our governor’s behavior is not his horrid arrogance or his stunning blindness to his family. It’s his professional incompetence.

Initially, I imagined that he was the unlucky “victim” of a wiretap on an illegal business, intended to track someone or something else. Forget that: he was the target from the start, as a result of his own blindness.

Required reports from not one but two banks drew investigators’ attention to his transactions. This guy has been chasing financial crimes for years, yet he seems to have known nothing about banks’ reporting obligations.

Where did he think his cases came from? Did he believe his press notices and imagine that the cases came from his energetic investigations alone?

Unless he was clinically self-destructive, and trying to get caught, he could easily have worked out his assignations without making humongous cash transfers.

For so many reasons, we’ll all be better off with Gov. David A. Paterson. Let’s wish him well.

Steven Flanders
Pelham, N.Y., March 13, 2008

To the Editor:

In “After Eliot Spitzer” (editorial, March 13), you suggest that it is now David A. Paterson’s “responsibility” to clean up Albany. Eliot Spitzer showed that one man, even a human steamroller, can’t do it. Reform must be demanded by a multitude of New Yorkers.

Jeff Waggoner
Nassau, N.Y., March 13, 2008

To the Editor:

Re “Unwelcome Surprises” (column, March 13):

Gail Collins says she is “not going to be fooled again” (by voting for a candidate like Eliot Spitzer), but was she actually “fooled”?

Governor Spitzer was true to his campaign promises; he has been the envy of many of us in other states, where we wish that we had governors who fought for justice and equity for all, who did more than talk about it.

In Governor Spitzer, Ms. Collins and all (honest) New Yorkers had a great governor. I can only imagine that many, like me, had hoped that eventually he might also serve the rest of the country by becoming a future president. Even if he sometimes acted bluntly, for 14 months, New Yorkers lived under one of their greatest governorships.

Despite his personal failing, no one should forget his outstanding service as governor of New York.

Jerome Donnelly
Winter Park, Fla., March 13, 2008

To the Editor:

In “This Defense Won’t Rest” (Op-Ed, March 13), John Farmer gently critiques the federal government’s selective and perhaps unintentional public disclosure of Eliot Spitzer’s patronage of the Emperor’s Club V.I.P. But the selective disclosure of one client leaves citizens wondering who were the other clients who may also have supported violation of the Mann Act.

Surely the F.B.I. wiretapped or seized records of the club and can identify them all — wealthy citizens, politicians, legislators, leaders of our nation? If it wasn’t a selective disclosure for political or some other reason, the F.B.I. and others need to provide the identities, if any, of other customers who could be in violation of the Mann Act.

Joseph R. Marshall
Guilford, Conn., March 13, 2008

To the Editor:

Re “The Young Woman in Question, 22 and Worried About the Rent” (news article, March 13):

Since economic desperation is the foundation of most prostitution, I have a suggestion for how Eliot Spitzer can start to atone for his pathetic transaction.

He is the heir to a large real estate fortune and should be able to come up with a handsome chunk of money to endow a trust fund that would temporarily pay the basic living expenses of women arrested for prostitution.

This would make a dramatic difference in the lives of these women and serve as a reminder that economic injustice is usually the root of the sad profession of prostitution.

David Hayden
Wilton, Conn., March 13, 2008

To the Editor:

Thank you for bringing attention to the recently passed New York State Anti-Trafficking Law, a potentially productive tool that as currently written is not effective in protecting all trafficked persons (“Foes of Sex Trade Are Stung by the Fall of an Ally,” front page, March 12).

The governor’s office, with the approval of advocates who only focus on prostitution, pushed through controversial provisions in the law, one enhancing penalties for clients of all prostitutes, and another that made trafficking into all sectors other than prostitution a lesser crime.

As an organization that works directly with victims of trafficking, we know that prostitution and trafficking are two very different situations, requiring different strategies. Enhancing penalties for clients of sex workers will not “eliminate the demand” and end trafficking but instead makes sex workers more afraid, more stigmatized and less safe.

The fact that someone with as much to lose as Eliot Spitzer would still visit sex workers speaks volumes about the efficacy of such strategies.

Sapna Patel
New York, March 12, 2008

The writer is a lawyer with the Sex Workers Project, Urban Justice Center.

To the Editor:

Another plus in having a governor who won’t be as polarizing as Eliot Spitzer is that David A. Paterson’s higher profile sends a powerful message about the capabilities of people with a disability.

We haven’t had many governors or legislative leaders who are blind or deaf or mobility-challenged, for that matter. Maybe Governor Paterson’s new fame will convince the populace that perfect vision, hearing or motor skills needn’t be a prerequisite to a deserved major role on the political scene.

Mr. Paterson obviously has more timely matters to address — New York’s budget and undoing the damage caused by his predecessor come immediately to mind. But it is also hoped that he will, over time, become someone this country sadly lacks: a national advocate for people with disabilities.

Perhaps this might induce Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barack Obama and John McCain to look at their campaign teams and ask two questions: Do their disabled to non-disabled ratios match that of the total population, which is roughly 1 to 6? Why not?

Robert S. Cole
Bronxville, N.Y., March 13, 2008

The writer is a member of the steering committee of the Westchester Disability Advocacy Partnership.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/14/opinion/lweb14spitzer.html

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1 Comment

  1. So I hear that when told that Eliot Spitzer had paid thousands of dollars for sex with a 22 year old prostitute Bill Clinton said: “What?!? Doesn’t New York State have an intern program?”


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