Although I shed no tears for Eliot Spitzer, the core story most likely is the politicization of
injustice by Bush America.
The Justice Department used some of its most intrusive tactics against Eliot Spitzer, examining his financial records, eavesdropping on his phone calls and tailing him during its investigation of the Emperor’s Club VIP prostitution ring.
The scale and intensity of the investigation of Spitzer, then the governor of New York, seemed on its face to be a departure for the Justice Department, which aggressively investigates allegations of wrongdoing by public officials, but almost never investigates people who pay prostitutes for sex.
A review of recent federal cases shows that federal prosecutors go sparingly after owners and operators of prostitution enterprises, and usually only when millions of dollars are involved or there are aggravating circumstances, like human trafficking or child exploitation.
Of course, there’s got to be a reasonable explanation for all this:
Government lawyers and investigators defend the expenditure of resources on Spitzer in the Emperor’s Club VIP case as justifiable and necessary since it involved the possibility of criminal wrongdoing by New York’s highest elected official.
Bradley D. Simon, a veteran Justice Department trial lawyer who was a federal prosecutor in Brooklyn throughout the 1990s, said that although it was rare for the department to use so many resources on the workings of a prostitution ring, the involvement of such a high-level politician must change the equation.
“If they’ve got some evidence of a high-ranking public official involved in violations of federal criminal code, it may not be unreasonable for them to pursue it,” he said. Still, he said, “I don’t think prostitution has been a high priority at the Justice Department.”
Oh, really? My problem with this excuse is that nobody from Justice has charged Eliot Spitzer with a crime, have they? But they rushed to take out Eliot anyway.
In one way, as the Times Union hears them say, the case of Spitzer was unique:
ALBANY — Of all the wisecracks heard in the marble halls of New York’s Capitol after Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s downfall in a call-girl scandal, one jest enlightened as much as it stung: Spitzer’s got to be the only guy in Albany who PAYS for sex.
The article goes on to take us on a tour of my fair city:
At night, legislators, young staffers, younger interns, lobbyists and reporters mix at two or three bars just blocks from the Capitol. And there are numerous receptions, campaign stops and caucuses where lawmakers, straight and gay alike, often have many opportunities for a hookup.
Up until just a few years ago, lawmakers would go “window shopping” for interns at the start of every legislative session. In a practice that went on for decades, the interns would be corraled in a Capitol newsstand, and legislators would take their pick.
The hanky-panky even has its own lexicon: There’s the “Bear Mountain Compact,” which says that what goes on north of the state park just outside New York City stays there. Lobbyists, staffers and reporters who seek to enhance their influence by bedding powerful lawmakers are known as “big game hunters.” And the men who sleep with the women lawmakers are “boy toys.”
So, going after officials in Albany for bad sexual behavior would be like shooting fish in a barrel. My point is we ought to stop gawking at the fish and also pay attention to who’s doing the shooting, and why.