Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Elliot Spitzer; Prostitutes; Why is the DoJ involved?

OK. We all know that sex sells media advertising, and it changes votes for politicians. So when Elliot Spitzer, Mr. Clean who made his reputation as an Attorney General going after crooked Wall Street financiers and prostitution rings gets caught hiring a high end prostitute, we can expect a great deal of hullabaloo.

But that was yesterday. Now, today, is time for some questions about how his actions were exposed (leaked?) and why the Department of Justice Public Integrity Unit was after him for what is a state crime a lot less serious than the corruption that sent Congressmen Randy "Duke" Cunningham and Bob Ney to prison.

Those two were both taking bribes and gave government favors for those bribes. That's what the Public Integrity Unit investigates. Where is it in the Spitzer case? There is no allegation that the independently wealthy Spitzer used government money for his recreational activities, nor is that any allegation that he provided favors to anyone. What he did was hypocritically hire a prostitute or a series of prostitutes. As far as I know, America does not use the government to enforce morality or penalize hypocrisy. What DOES happen in the U.S. is that the DoJ under Bush investigates Democrats with the intent to destroy them politically, while protecting Republicans like Rep. Jerry Lewis and John Doolittle.

Is this another case of the Republicans using the Department of Justice to destroy a successful Democratic politician like they did Alabama Governor Don Seigelman?

Jane Hamsher at Firedoglake asks some questions that really need to be answered here.
  1. Why would the bank tell the IRS and not Spitzer himself if there was a suspicious transfer? Spitzer is a longtime client, a rich guy and the governor. We're talking thousands of dollars here, not millions. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense that they spotted a "suspicious transfer" made by the governor, and that this is how things began. It's possible it was just ordinary paperwork the bank had to file with the government whenever some particular flag was raised, but if that's the case, why did the DoJ go to DefCon 3?
  2. What is a USA doing prosecuting a prostitution case? This isn't normally what the feds spend their time with.
  3. Mike Garcia is a Chertoff crony. Sources familiar with the investigation say that he sent a prosecution memo to DC two months ago asking for authority to indict a public figure (Spitzer). Which means they had their case made long before the wire tap of February 13. Why did they then include this line from that conversation in the complaint?

    LEWIS continued that from what she had been told "he" (believed to be a reference to Client-9) "would ask you to do things that, like, you might not think were safe -- you know -- I mean that...very basic things...."Kristen" responded: "I have a way of dealing with that...I'd be like listen dude, you really want the sex?...You know what I mean."

    This salacious detail does not seem like it's necessary to make their case, and appears to be added for no other purpose than to destroy Spitzer's career.

  4. How did Spitzer's name get leaked to the media, and who did it? Didn't happen to Dave Vitter.
  5. Why did Mike Bloomberg suddenly start talking about running for governor recently? And why did he give $500,000 to Joe Bruno? He's good buddies with Mike Mukasey. What did he know and how did he know it?
  6. The Mann Act? Are you kidding?
  7. Spitzer's been in the line of fire of the GOP hit squad for a while. Roger Stone, Roger Stone, Roger Stone.

There are all kinds of things about this that just don't pass the smell test.
This isn't a totally fraudulent federal prosecution for political purposes like the one Wisconsin U.S. ATtorney rammed through in oder to get of the list of U.S. Attorneys to be fired (see: ) but it is awfully close. There is no federal crime here. Not even an allegation of one that could be prosecuted effectively. There is clearly no political corruption, which is what the DoJ Public Integrity Unit is designed to investigate and prosecute - ans which they have failed to do in the cases of Rep. John Doolittle and William Jefferson.

Elliot Spitzer does appear to have pulled off a real political screw-up, but a crime? It's not one the DoJ's Public Integrity Unit was set up to investigate or prosecute. Given the history of the Justice Department as a tool of political assassination for the Bush administration and the Republican Party, this Spitzer situation is highly suspicious.

Once again the Bush administration is using public money and resources to maintain their power. I'd watch for Bloomberg to run for NY Governor as a Republican next election myself. This case stinks to high heaven of Republican corruption. It's what they do.

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