Good News From the Spitzer Camp

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Sort of.

First the backstory: The New York Times is reporting that New York Governor Eliot Spitzer has been recorded meeting up with a prostitute thanks to a federal wiretap. (Hat tip Patriot Act?) 

While Spitzer hasn’t resigned (yet), if (read: when) he does, he’ll be replaced by David Paterson, CC ’77, making Paterson New York’s first black governor.   Some background on Paterson: he’s the first black Lieutenant Governor of New York and he’s legally blind.  And, by all appearances, he’s on SIPA’s faculty.

Statement from the Columbia Dems forthcoming after the jump.

“The Executive Board of the College Democrats has made a commitment to keep you informed of major issues affecting our campus, our state and our country. We’ve also made a promise to take strong stances on the issues that directly relate to how we move forward as young progressives. Today, we continue to fulfill that promise, in light of the breaking news concerning Governor Eliot Spitzer.

The Columbia University College Democrats condemn the actions of Governor Eliot Spitzer. Governor Spitzer campaigned on cleaning up Albany. His promises to establish robust ethics and campaign reform gave New Yorkers hope that new leadership could create a more effective and more transparent governing system for the state. Today, the Governor’s actions have put those goals in jeopardy. His behavior may have torn the rug out from under a strong progressive movement in this state that was headed for success in the state senate elections this Fall. Governor Spitzer’s conduct gives the GOP ammunition for the fall campaign in a way that could derail our goal of reforming the way politics works in New York.

We emphasize the word could. Politics in this state is bigger than any one man, no matter how that man has behaved in his personal life. Politics in this state is about reform. Reform of Albany, reform of back room politics and reform of ethics. These are ideas that the Columbia University College Democrats have fought for across the state and will continue to fight for in the months to come. This is the moment as Columbia Democrats to rally behind ideas, and tell the state GOP that our ideas are the right ones for New York and that these ideas WILL prevail in November. This is an organization committed to activism and in that light we provide you with the following opportunities to get involved in state politics. Instead of shaking your head with disgust and saying we want no part in this process, we ask you to shake your head in disgust and then jump in to the process to create meaningful change. We cannot just be participants, we have to be leaders of this party. It is our voices that have been missing from the process and we believe, especially in light of today’s news, that it is ONLY our voices that can ever change the way politics is done in the state of New York.”


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  1. Um...bwog?

    D'you wanna try to spell his name the same way it's spelled in the Wikipedia post you just LINKED TO?

    I mean, since you're all up on fact-checking and shit post-"GawkerGate"?

  2. Paterson  

    He's also legally blind.

  3. Elna

    you can hear Spitzer's career dying on the midtown winds. the poicy community is abuzz.

  4. what a disappointing

    moron. There's another vote I wasted.

    And don't defend this guy---he's the equivalent of David Vitter except his hypocrisy is even more astounding.

  5. Somewhere,  

    Joseph Bruno is probably giving a thank you call to one of the hack federal prosecutors appointed by Bush.

  6. Elna

    the press hasn't even really begun to focus on the fact that this is a human trafficking issue, what with the transport of the lady from New York to Washington...Spitzer is toast

  7. Elna

    Press Release from Governor Spitzer on New York's anti-trafficking legislation

    State of New York
    For Immediate Release:
    Executive Chamber
    May 16, 2007
    Eliot Spitzer, Governor

    Agreement Reached on Anti-Human Trafficking Legislation

    Governor Eliot Spitzer, Lieutenant Governor David Paterson and legislative leaders today announced an agreement on legislation that will combat the trafficking of human beings. The legislation makes Sex Trafficking and Labor Trafficking felony-level crimes and provides access to state social services for trafficking victims.

    The United States Department of State has estimated that between 18,000 and 20,000 people are trafficked into the United States each year for forcedlabor, involuntary domestic servitude, or sexual exploitation. New York is known to be a frequent port of entry for such activity. Trafficking also originates domestically, and both types of trafficking frequently involve children.

    To fight these forms of modern-day slavery, New York now joins the federal government and 24 other states that have enacted anti-human trafficking legislation. Under the legislation, traffickers who advance or profit from prostitution activity by compelling, inducing, deceiving or forcing their victims into prostitution activity can be convicted of the class B felony of Sex Trafficking. Traffickers who exploit workers using similar types of coercive activity can be convicted of the class D felony of Labor Trafficking.

    Under the new legislation, victims of trafficking who are not otherwise eligible for social services, either because they are not United States citizens or because they are foreign nationals who have not yet been certified as eligible for federal assistance programs, can now receive social service assistance from the state. These services include case management, emergency temporary housing, health and mental health care, drug addiction screening and treatment, language and translation services, and job training. They also include coordination with the federal government to obtain special visas that allow the victims in the United States to testify against the traffickers, eventually becoming eligible for refugee status.

    The new legislation also provides for the following:

    * Creation of an interagency task force to coordinate implementation of the new law, collect data on trafficking, and recommend best practices for training and community outreach to help law enforcement, social service providers, prosecutors, defense attorneys and the general public to recognize trafficking situations. The Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) has already begun training for prosecutors and law enforcement agencies.
    * Clarifying in statute that knowingly selling travel-related services to facilitate prostitution - a business known as "prostitution tourism"- is the class D felony of Promoting Prostitution in the Third Degree.
    * Suppressing the demand for prostitution by elevating the lowest-level patronizing a prostitute crime from a B to an A misdemeanor.

    "Updating and enhancing our human-trafficking laws to adequately punish the perpetrators of these unspeakable crimes and sufficiently support victims is critically important," said Governor Spitzer. "New York is finally joining the ranks of other states in ensuring that those who exploit
    innocent people and children and cause extreme suffering are subject to strict punishment under state law."

    Lieutenant Governor David A. Paterson said: "This legislation does more than protect victims and punish perpetrators. This law sends a clear message to those who suffer this form of modern-day slavery: you are not at fault, you can start over, and you are not alone. Empowering victims by providing access to services for which they might otherwise be ineligible gives them a real chance to overcome their hardship."

    Speaker Sheldon Silver said: "Human trafficking is an international scourge that defies human decency. As a society, we are all diminished when human suffering goes unchecked. This agreement sends a crystal, clear message to those who prey upon the innocent: this abhorrent, criminal behavior simply will not be tolerated in New York State. I commend the determined efforts of Assembly Codes Committee Chair Joseph Lentol, bill sponsor Jeffrey Dinowitz and Assembly member Amy Paulin in bringing this agreement to fruition. The Assembly expects to move swiftly to ensure this bill becomes law so that victims are protected and criminals receive harsh punishment."

    Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno said: "Human trafficking is nothing more than modern-day slavery. The Senate has passed human trafficking legislation unanimously for three years in a row. This legislation will punish the despicable people who engage in human trafficking and provide assistance and support to the victims. I congratulate Senator Frank Padavan who has championed this issue for five years for his work in reaching this agreement."

    Senate Democratic Leader Malcolm A. Smith said: "The agreement we've reached will not only increase penalties for those who commit the heinous crime of human trafficking, but will also help the victims, who often have no where to go and no one to turn to when they have been rescued. This measure will give them an opportunity to rebuild their lives and regain their dignity."

    Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco said: "This is a good law. Unfortunately this sick practice does exist in the shadows and dark corners of some places in New York. It needs to be exposed. Those responsible need to be severely punished and victims need to be protected and rehabilitated."

    Michael E. Bongiorno, Rockland County District Attorney said: "I am glad that the New York State District Attorneys Association was able to work with Governor Spitzer, the state legislature and victim advocate organizations to draft human trafficking legislation. It may be difficult for the average citizen to comprehend, but even in this day and age there are people who are forced into prostitution or labor servitude. This law will provide law enforcement and prosecutors the tools they need to successfully investigate and prosecute human trafficking cases."

    Executive Director of Equality Now Taina Bien-Aimé said: "Equality Now and the New York State Anti-Trafficking Coalition are delighted to learn that New York State is soon to adopt a strong anti-trafficking law. This bill would not have been possible without the extraordinary leadership of Governor Eliot Spitzer and his deeply dedicated staff, as well as the vision and commitment of Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno. Among other provisions, the New York State bill comprehensively addresses the prosecution of traffickers and the protection of its victims, elements that will make it a model law and the strongest state anti-trafficking legislation in the Nation."

    Chairperson of the Downstate Coalition for Crime Victims Susan Xenarios said: "The Downstate Coalition for Crime Victims supports comprehensive NYS human anti-trafficking legislation which not only criminalizes this heinous act but also addresses the services needed for victims and the training needed for law enforcement and service providers. This bill is the culmination of the collaborative efforts of criminal justice, law enforcement and victim rights organizations in NYS. We applaud the
    > Governor
    > and the state legislature for respecting the urgency and moving
    > quickly on
    > this bill."

  8. ibanker  

    spitzer gets his comeuppance at last!

    wall street is celebrating!

    joy! glee! happiness!

  9. Elna

    The United States White-Slave Traffic Act of 1910 prohibited white slavery. It also banned the interstate transport of females for “immoral purposes”. Its primary stated intent was to address prostitution, immorality, and human trafficking. The act is better known as the Mann Act, after James Robert Mann, an American lawmaker.

    Just in case you were wondering.

  10. GAHH  


    God, and he went to my high school, too. That dumb bastard.

  11. The Dink  

    How are politicians so dumb?? You're the governor! Why you gotta do that?? What a moron

  12. reader  

    "blind", "appearances". unfortunate pun

  13. ...  

    and the markets still did poorly today?

  14. Alexei Novshinski  

    Spitzer Swallows

  15. does  

    Josh Lipsky really think we care the the CU College Dems have to say about state and national politics?

    Stick to Glass House Rocks parties.

    Oh the arrogance.

  16. Bad Dems  

    "Governor Spitzer's conduct gives the GOP ammunition for the fall campaign..."

    "This is the moment as Columbia Democrats to rally behind ideas, and tell the state GOP that our ideas are the right ones for New York and that these ideas WILL prevail in November."

    Why, dear Democrats, do you have to take on the GOP in this statement? Isn't the youth supposed to be the one ushering in a new era of politics that shuns divisiveness and favors bipartisanship? Our ideas WILL prevail? Who talks like that?

  17. Anonymous  

    His promises to establish robust ethics and campaign reform gave New Yorkers hope that new leadership could create a more effective and more transparent governing system for the state. Today, the Governor's actions have put those goals in jeopardy."

    I'd say those goals were out the window when he paid almost $5,000 for a hooker, but hey, that's just me.

  18. Yeah  

    I think that was the point.

  19. Anonymous  

    No, I mean why not just say that the goals are shitcanned? They are not in jeopardy, they are no more. He now has no credibility because he's a john.

  20. the point

    Democrats talk a great deal about how they're better than or have the moral high ground compared to Republicans (or 'Rethuglicans,' or 'Repugnicans'...) but they're really just hypocritical whore-mongers.

    See also: Lewinsky, Monica.

    • Anonymous  

      Nice try. I give 1/10. I mean, you're trolling so I have to give you a point, but you're only going to get the attention of the truly ornery or bored. A suggestion for the future: Go die.

    • Nope  

      It's one thing to have an affair with a woman out of marriage without having been elected for your family values. It's quite another to front as a crusader against child abuse and then send explicit texts to your 15 year old pages, or to crusade against gay rights and then pull a Larry Craig, etc. To their credit, serious scandals for the Democratic party are much more rare and much less hypocritical than the ones that emerge from the Republican party - it's always just the Lewinsky deal that's cited.

      • hey man  

        don't pull this shit with Larry Craig. Senator Craig already explained, he has a wide stance when he pees. It is mere coincidence that this wide stance is due to the presence of a very large black penis in his anus.

      • please  

        You sound foolish. Don't you know that Spitzer sent people who were involved with prostitution to jail? He wrecked lives over prostitution. Tell me that's not "fronting as a crusader against prostitution" and then pulling a Spitzer.

        I say that as a life-long Democrat, as well. It's not becoming of the party to excuse these kinds of hypocrisies (sp?).

        And Kane, I think the goals of ethics and campaign reform aren't necessarily tied to Spitzer. Just because he turned out to be a hypocrite doesn't mean that we have to somehow sacrifice the goal of having a corruption-free Albany.

        #23, let's not kid ourselves here. Even though Spitzer is gone, the Republicans are still a huge roadblock to any sort of meaningful reform in Albany.

        • thank you

          the more morons like 27 and 30 try to make this partisan the more the problem becomes obvious---neither of them care about corruption---they care their side got caught

          I've voted for republicans and democrats and I get angry every time one of these politicians think they are above the law. Not only are they usually doing illegal things (not to mention immoral considering theyre rats to their spouses/children) but they're also arrogant enough to think they can go under such a fine microscope as politics and escape cause they've been patting people on the back.

          Whether its mel reynolds, larry craig, spitzer, studds, crane or vitter--if you do something illegal and corrupt you need to get punished and deserve what you get for hiding it when your entire vocation depends on character.

          If its something thats not illegal but is illicit or 'immoral' i don't have as much of a problem (though politicians will rightfully leave themselves open to charges of hypocrisy/poor character) but corruption shouldn't be excused or preface in any way.

          • You jerk  

            I wasn't trying to make this partisan; track back and you'll see I made comment #23. I was responding to 27 who decided that because of this, suddenly the Dems are the party of shaky integrity. There is no excuse for someone like Spitzer - or any politician - to have done this; for me he has let down the public, not his party/supporters, as the Dems statement suggests.

          • fair enough

            you weren't trying to make it partisan but you sure as heck reverted to one w/that bs about how the two parties haven't been equivocally bad in terms of sex scandals

            if it makes you feel better, poster 27 is a bigger jerk than you though

  21. Anonymous  

    I don't see how this is partisan. Each party has their own scandals. The Republicans have people like Larry Craig and Mark Foley. The Democrats have people like Bill Clinton and, now, Eliot Spitzer. How this is even related to partisanship is beyond me (and it's not only Republicans that do it, look at the CU Dems' response to this, calling out the GOP, already on the defensive, etc.).

    At the end of the day, take this story for what it is: another politician who thought he was above the law. It just so happens that this one paid a lot of money to have sex with someone other than his wife. Some politicians just go for it without having to pay, some go the extra mile to get what they want. Partisanship has nothing to do with it.

    And, on a completely different topic, it seems that the CU Dems took part of Spitzer's apology and used it as their own. Spitzer: "I do not believe that politics in the long run is about individuals..." CU Dems: "Politics in this state is bigger than any one man..."

    Just pointing it out as interesting, not making any accusations.

  22. Anonymous  

    Alluding to it, without mentioning that Spitzer had said it. It makes it sound like they came up with it themselves:

    "These are ideas that the Columbia University College Democrats have fought for across the state and will continue to fight for in the months to come."

    That's all I was saying.

  23. Although  

    On the bright side, Hillary Clinton is one less superdelegate away from stealing the nomination, assuming he is resigning. Paterson is a Clinton backer, but he already had a superdelegate vote from being tied to the DNC, so Clinton -1.

  24. Well  

    Here's to hoping that Obama is involved in a prostitution ring. Couldn't say I'd blame him given how obnoxious his wife is. FOUR MORE YEARS

  25. I guess you mean

    abroad where the US and a lot of US NGO's have been instrumental in the fight against trafficking, etc

    I disagree though---a resignation of Spitzer and/or prosecution will be an example to the rest of the world--in fact I was talked to somebody who isn't from the US today and they said one of the differences they see here is that youre not untouchable from prosecution no matter how high you are. I think this cements that and I hope that it reverberates throughout the international community--some of the exploitation around the world occurs with the tacit or back handed consent of government officials.

    As for damaging our reputation, we were able to effectively able to contribute to the international effort after the Clinton Impeachment so I don't think this would be an issue. What's ironic is that nyc has became one of the better places for prosecuting pimps, johns, etc and limiting trafficking in the city and in the local proximity.

  26. win butler

    bwog -- the financial aid story is "breaking news" on the spec site. wake up, kids.

  27. honestly  

    i could care less about what he does in his personal life as long as it doesn't consume taxpayer money and detract from his job. i'm waiting until those accusations come out before i get upset.

  28. Americans

    are full of shit. They focus on a governor for screwing a prostitute and overlook the fact that a president has been screwing the entire country for 8 long, sad years.

  29. Also  

    Do the CU Dems even know anything about New York State Politics?

  30. here's my thought  

    noone cares about your blog.

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