Eliot Spitzer is somehow the governor of the Empire State, and we’d be tempted to call him Emperor Eliot for his bullying ways. But he’s too weak now to be called Emperor. He’s got few allies in the state capital, and even the press—once his loyal lapdogs when he was Attorney General—seem to be turning against him. Only 25% of the public say they’d re-elect him, and his own party recently undermined his efforts to hand out drivers licenses to illegal aliens. So we’re sticking with the nickname we coined when we first started paying attention to his prosecutorial tactics—Loathsome Eliot.
All this comes to mind this morning because while we were catching up on our reading over the weekend, we noticed a Wall Street Journal editorial on “Spitzer’s Fall.” It runs through his political troubles before it gets to the heart of the matter—Spitzer’s ethical mess.
But Mr. Spitzer's biggest problem remains the ethics probe, which is getting more serious now that the state's ethics watchdog has found inconsistencies in a top aide's testimony and referred that matter to a prosecutor for possible criminal charges. Mr. Spitzer must have thought he'd put this scandal behind him when his successor as Attorney General, Andrew Cuomo, issued a tough report this summer but found no criminal wrongdoing. However, the inquiries have continued in the state Senate and at the Public Integrity Commission despite Spitzer Administration stonewalling.
Darren Dopp, a confidant and spinmeister from the Governor's days as AG, resigned under an ethical cloud last month. But now Mr. Dopp faces possible perjury and obstruction of justice charges for his role in what New Yorkers call "Troopergate." In that scandal, Mr. Dopp and other senior staffers were found to have ordered the state police to collect data on the travel patterns of the state Senate's GOP leader with an eye toward embroiling him in a scandal.
Mr. Spitzer defended Mr. Dopp and said he knew nothing of the scheme at the time. These days, the Governor is still doing the latter, but not much of the former. If Mr. Dopp is charged, he might shed some light on who knew what, and when.
You’ll recall that a couple of weeks ago we fingered the same Dopp as the guy who was spreading the worst smears against another target of Loathsome Eliot, Dick Grasso. On the bright side, at least Spitzer’s battling folks up in Albany rather than Wall Street these days.
Spitzer's Fall [Opinion Journal]