Eliot Spitzer Resigns

March 12, 2008 10:55 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Gov. Spitzer announced his resignation today, saying, "I believe ... that people regardless of their position or power take responsibility for their conduct."

30-Second Summary

With his wife Silda beside him, Eliot Spitzer announced his resignation as governor at a New York City news conference just before noon today. Spitzer said, "I cannot allow my private failings to disrupt the peoples' work."

To streamline the transition of power, Spitzer said that he would officially hand over the position of governor to Liutenant Gov. David Patterson on Monday, March 17.

Spitzer first addressed accusations that he had solicited a prostitute during a March 10 press conference in which he said, "I have acted in a way that violated the obligations to my family.” He added, “I apologize first and most importantly to my family. I apologize to the public, to whom I promised better.”

An FBI wiretap recorded a person arranging a liaison with a prostitution ring last month in a Washington, D.C. hotel. The transcript of the conversation formed part of the complaint in a federal indictment of four members of the prostitution ring. Several media reports alleged the client was Eliot Spitzer, and the prostitute was affiliated with The Emperor's Club, whose supposed organizers were arrrested last Thursday.

ABC News wrote that the investigation started when Sptizer's bank reported a suspicious series of wire transfers from Spitzer to an assumed name of the prostitution ring. Federal law requires U.S. citizens to report all currency transfers in excess of $10,000, and makes it illegal to engage in "Structuring," which occurs when a series of payments is made to avoid the reporting requirements. Banks are required to report such a series of payments to the IRS.

As New York State Attorney General, Spitzer made a career out of stamping out corruption, building a reputation as a modern-day crimefighter.

Throughout his troubled tenure as governor, Spitzer had clashed with Republican Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno. In one infamous incident,  New York State Troopers monitored Bruno’s movements, at the request of Spitzer's staff.

David Paterson will become governor for the remaining 33 months of Spitzer's term.

Spitzer is the third governor in the Tri-State region to resign this decade, following New Jersey's Jim McGreevey and Connecticut's John Rowland, both of whom stepped down after scandals in 2004.

A pressing question for Democrats was whether Spitzer should have resigned for the good of the party. George Ryan of Illinois finished his second term as governor of Illinois in 2002 despite a corruption scandal that eventually led to his post-term indictment and conviction. Bob Taft finished his term as governor of Ohio in 2006 despite a cloud of ethics violations.

In both cases, the governor's party lost the next gubernatorial election, while in the cases of both McGreevey and Rowland, their party retained the governor's office in the special subsequent election

Watch AP coverage

Headline Links: Eliot Spitzer to resign

Key Player: Lt. Gov. David Paterson

Reactions: The public's response

Background: 2007, Spitzer’s difficult year

Spitzer backs down
The ‘steamroller’
When Spitzer was king in the media

Biography: Eliot Spitzer (1959–)

Related Topics: Other scandals and the cost of not resigning

Reference: FBI complaint, press release and the Mann Act


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