Monday, March 10, 2008

Spitzer just prostituted his political future

The New York governor, Eliot Spitzer, admits he was involved in a prostitution ring. Per the New York Times:

Just last week, federal prosecutors arrested four people in connection with an expensive prostitution operation called The Emperor's Club. Administration officials would not say that this was the ring with which the governor had become involved.

An updated Times blogging on the situation makes clear Spitzer was an alleged client.
But a person with knowledge of the governor’s role said that the person believes the governor is one of the men identified as clients in court papers [pdf]. The governor’s travel records show that he was in Washington in mid-February. One of the clients described in court papers arranged to meet with a prostitute who was part of the ring, the Emperors Club VIP, on the night of Feb. 13. Mr. Spitzer appeared on a CNBC television show at 7 a.m. the next morning. Later in the morning, he testified before a Congressional committee. An affidavit filed in federal court in Manhattan in connection with that case lists six conversations between the man, identified as Client 9, and a booking agent for the Emperors Club.

Huff Post references The Smoking Gun posting papers about this, an international prostitution ring, being busted. Reportedly, it had 50 prostitutes available for appointments in New York, Washington, Miami, London and Paris, according to a complaint unsealed on Thursday in Federal District Court in Manhattan. The appointments, made by telephone or through an online booking service, cost $1,000 to $5,500 an hour. The ladies went for as much as $31,000 per day for a “seven diamond” rated girl.

Given Spitzer’s visibility, and his own aggressiveness on prostitution rings, I don’t see how he can escape total political cratering from this. I had in the past touted him as a potential future Democratic presidential candidate, or should Obama or Clinton win, our new attorney general.

Well, not anymore.

Updated: Spitzer’s presser statement here.

Now, as to the issue itself? I pretty much agree with Kevin Drum. Make it legal, like in Nevada or Amsterdam (along with pot, in Amsterdam, for that matter).

That said, though, the law is the law; and, as state AG before becoming gov, Spitzer’s sworn duty was legal investigation and prosecution. Also, without going Freudian, it’s arguable that Spitzer’s aggressiveness in previous pursuit of prostitution cases is some sort of psychological repression.