If not race, then sex!

Meanwhile, in a gubernatorial sex show, we see the new New York governor governor newly admitting to having had an old affair, as the old New Jersey governor rehashes his old gay affairs, while new conspiracy theories circulate about the Eliot Spitzer bust.

No really. Over the weekend I received an email stating the following:

Why was Spitzer busted? Is he the only politician patronizing high-priced call girls?

Why did the indictment occur just one month after his controversial editorial in the Wash Post about sub-prime lending?

Take a look at Spitzer's Valentine's day editorial.

I did, and it's a searing indictment of the Bush adminstration, published on March 14, 2008.

Without getting into the merits of Spitzer's claims (some of which may be valid), I'm not convinced that there's a relationship between the timing of the editorial and the timing of the Spitzer indictment, which involved an international call girl ring. The investigation was a lot broader in scope than Eliot Spitzer, as thousands of calls and emails were intercepted and the ring had been operating for four years:

As part of the investigation, federal agents worked with a woman who claimed to have worked for the Emperor's Club as a prostitute in 2006, according to court papers. An undercover agent posed as a potential client and arranged appointments by phone and online.

After obtaining authorization to tap the club's phones, federal agents recorded more than 5,000 calls and text messages and had access to 6,000 e-mail messages, court papers said. Many of these were somewhat mundane requests for appointments. The authorities -- the case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service and the F.B.I. -- did not identify any of the clients.

Ms. Lewis and Ms. Hollander were charged with a conspiracy to violate federal prostitution laws. Each faces up to five years in prison if convicted.

Mr. Brener and Ms. Suwal were accused of prostitution and money laundering: The complaint says they funneled profits through bank accounts in the names of two front companies, identified as QAT Consulting Group and QAT International. They face maximum penalties of 25 years in prison if convicted.

To accept the argument that the indictment of Spitzer -- aka Client 9 -- was in retaliation for his Valentine's Day editorial assumes that he would otherwise have been left alone -- presumably because he was the governor of New York. It also assumes an amazing degree of conspiratorial competence -- at the highest levels of the Bush administration -- to take out a powerful New York governor for criticizing a lame duck president, and to do so with breathtaking speed, right after the appearance of a critical editorial.

The retaliation theory also ignores the fact that Spitzer was under investigation months before the Valentine's Day editorial, and that it was his wire transfers (initially suspected to involve the hiding of bribes) which had attracted federal interest in the prostitution ring in the first place:

The federal investigation of a New York prostitution ring was triggered by Gov. Eliot Spitzer's suspicious money transfers, initially leading agents to believe Spitzer was hiding bribes, according to federal officials.

It was only months later that the IRS and the FBI determined that Spitzer wasn't hiding bribes but payments to a company called QAT, what prosecutors say is a prostitution operation operating under the name of the Emperor's Club.

The affidavit is detailed here, and it contains a log of events on March 13 -- the day before the editorial was published.

However, Saudi conspiracy theorists have nonetheless implicated the Israelis -- and of course the Mossad:

...Spitzer "spearheaded the 2004 investigation into financial misconduct in the World Jewish Congress, publishing a damning report about WJC mismanagement and unregistered payments to senior officials. The investigation led to a deal which barred then WJC Executive Director Israel Singer from being in charge of its finances." Singer was later fired.

Now Internet journalists are suggesting that Spitzer may have been targeted. FreeMarketNews.com says "Spitzer took on Wall Street like no other attorney general before him... His targets in the past have included everyone from big Wall Street investment banks and the $7.5 trillion mutual fund industry to polluting power plants and supermarket chains that underpaid delivery workers."

Wayne Madsen says Emperor's Club VIP, the prostitution firm that entangled Spitzer in a call girl ring, is viewed by US intelligence as a front for Israel's intelligence agency, the Mossad.

"The sources claim that Spitzer was 'outed' for his aggressiveness in attacking money launderers connected to Russian-Israeli organized crime syndicates and other Wall Street malfeasance."

Internet journalist and ContrarianCommentary.com Executive Editor Andy Martin said: "Spitzer may have stumbled into a prostitution ring run under the auspices of the Israeli government, namely the Mossad. It is entirely possible that Spitzer was assured that his participation in the prostitution ring was protected precisely because it was run by an Israeli asset."

On top of all that, TNR's Scott Horton has advanced a long argument that the Spitzer case was politically motivated:
How did the case against Spitzer get launched? Was he brought down by a politically motivated investigation?

The integrity of our criminal justice system rests on the notion that we investigate crimes, not people. As Robert Jackson, probably the greatest attorney general of the last century, put it:

If the prosecutor is obliged to choose his cases, it follows that he can choose his defendants. Therein is the most dangerous power of the prosecutor: that he will pick people that he thinks he should get, rather than pick cases that need to be prosecuted. With the law books filled with a great assortment of crimes, a prosecutor stands a fair chance of finding at least a technical violation of some act on the part of almost anyone. In such a case, it is not a question of discovering the commission of a crime and then looking for the man who has committed it, it is a question of picking the man and then searching the law books, or putting investigators to work, to pin some offense on him.

The way prosecutorial power is wielded divides a real democracy from a banana republic.

The story emerging around the fall of Eliot Spitzer suggests that the case did not start with the report of a crime. Rather it started with a decision to look into Spitzer and his financial dealings. In the course of an open-ended investigation, information about a prostitution circle surfaced. That looks abusive. An investigation like that provides no basis to acquit Spitzer. But it suggests that when his case is done, the public should be pressing some tough questions about why this investigation was launched and pushed forward.

Spitzer's enemies may very well have had him in their sights, just as Larry Craig may have been set up. But that doesn't mean he didn't have sex with the prostitute.

While I think Spitzer ran afoul of his own prosecutorial "gotcha" system, I think prostitution should be legal and all this sex is a big "so what."

And so what? I guess the message is that if the war between the races and the sexes gets boring, the tried-but-true war on sex is always there to draw from.

I still think they ought to be investigating this dreadful sex scandal:

Glenn Reynolds has weighed in on the Name-That-Party sexathon:

We're approaching a national Too Much Information crisis. It's almost enough to make you long for the reticence and hypocrisy of the Victorian era. But it's not too much information in every respect, since the story offers another chance to play Name That Party! -- though a close reading of the sidebar sort of answers the question. But only sort of . . .
The problem with Too Much is that once you have Too Much, Too Much becomes Never Enough.

And the problem with reticent Victorian hypocrisy is the complete and total lack of privacy makes it impossible.

Victorian gentlemen could discreetly visit the discreet bordellos that were tolerated by the ruling hypocrites who looked the other way.

With everyone and his money (and his comings and goings) under surveillance, how might sexual discretion be acheived today?

I don't blame the new governor for blabbing his personal sex life to the world. He probably thinks the best defense is a good offense.

posted by Eric on 03.18.08 at 09:47 AM


I question the timing of this post. It's clearly just before or just after something important.

Assistant Village Idiot   ·  March 18, 2008 12:56 PM

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