The Sword of Spitzer

Unfortunately, media, especially broadcast and cable, will overdose on the prostitution issue (it fits the "soap opera" billing they so often seek) and continue miss the main story.

Roger Kimball: “My own feeling is that there are so many reasons to dislike Eliot Spitzer that I would hate the issue of hypocrisy to obscure his many other, more heinous faults. . . . What’s wrong with Eliot Spitzer is not so much that he praised good things and did bad ones. Most of the items he championed in his various moral campaigns were, when you looked behind the rhetoric, of dubious value. Really, he was a power-hungry, regulation-crazed functionary whose chief sin was to harness the power of the state to destroy his enemies and aggrandize himself. Had he been a little more hypocritical he might have been less dangerous.”

[Hat tip: Robert Bidinotto] And from Robert's blog:

"The media are focusing on Eliot Spitzer's most blatant and conventional moral transgressions. However, where were they when he was running roughshod over innocent victims in the business community, and wielding unbridled power as if he were a Roman emperor rather than the paid servant of a limited government?

To the liberal media, that was no "abuse of power"; in fact, they called it "crusading" and portrayed America's Robespierre as an "idealist." Roger Donway, senior editor for The New Individualist, was way ahead of all the Johnny-come-lately's in the press corps when he subjected the then-Ayatollah General of New York State to an embarrassing ideological and political strip-search. Roger further exposed Spitzer's thuggish morals and methods in this insightful review. Read Roger's articles and familiarize yourself with the full background of the power-hungry, sanctimonious s.o.b. who is soon to vacate his Albany governor's office in disgrace. Then asked yourself an important question: Why it is that almost everyone has remained blind or indifferent to the real immorality in the career of Eliot Spitzer?"

In the latter article, Roger draws attention to something truly disturbing: Spitzer's use of the Martin Act. Here is Legal Affair's Nicholas Thompson, on the Martin Act. (Nicholas Thompson, “The Sword of Spitzer,” Legal Affairs, May/June 2004).

It empowers [New York’s attorney general] to subpoena any document from anyone doing business in the state; to keep an investigation totally secret or to make it totally public; and to choose between filing civil or criminal charges whenever he wants. People called in for questioning during Martin Act investigations do not have a right to counsel or a right against self-incrimination. Combined, the act's powers exceed those given any regulator in any other state.

Now for the scary part: To win a case, the AG doesn’t have to prove that the defendant intended to defraud anyone, that a transaction took place, or that anyone actually was defrauded. Plus, when the prosecution is over, trial lawyers can gain access to the hoards of documents that the act has churned up and use them as the basis for civil suits. "It's the legal equivalent of a weapon of mass destruction," said a lawyer at a major New York firm who represents defendants in Martin Act cases (and who didn't want his name used because he feared retribution by Spitzer). "The damage that can be done under the statute is unlimited.....The Martin Act has also given Spitzer the stature he needs to run for governor of New York in 2006—and perhaps, one day, something higher. "

Update/ 12:20 am/3.12.08:

A poster on Henry Blodget's blog notes that the Emperor Club domain registrant's address is...on Wall. St:

Morgan Chang, 65 Wall Street New York, NY 10005 US
The Phone number associated with the address, (646) 299-5708, is linked elsewhere to web ads for the escort service. The former registrant (before it was transferred to Chang), was Lianghui Chen, 250 Gorge Road 12L Cliffside Park, NJ 07010.
“He actually believes he’s above the law. I have never had any doubt about his lack of character and — and he’s proven me correct.”
-Kenneth D. Langone, former director of the New York Stock Exchange.