Eliot Spitzer on the Ethics of Certain Financial Transactions


Disgraced former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer will be speaking today at Harvard's Edmond J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics on the topic of "What Should Be the Rationale for Government Participation in the Market?" And as Gothamist reports, one of Spitzer's most prominent former business associates is none too happy with the news:

But given Spitzer's past, from Troopergate to Hookergate, one person is very upset—a madam who had Spitzer as a client. In a letter to Professor Lawrence Lessig, Kristin Davis wrote, "For nearly 5 years, I supplied Mr. Spitzer with high priced escorts while he was both Attorney General and Governor. For this crime, I served four months on Rikers Island, had all of my assets confiscated and am now considered a sex offender on 5 years probation. Mr. Spitzer broke both state and federal laws and walked away free."

She also adds, "I am greatly intrigued as to what Mr. Spitzer could contribute to an ethical discussion when as Chief Executive Law Enforcement Officer of NY he broke numerous laws for which he has yet to be punished. As Attorney General he went around arresting and making examples out of the same escort agencies he was frequenting."

Read the rest here. Reason on Spitzer's life and crimes here.

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  1. “As Attorney General he went around arresting and making examples out of the same escort agencies he was frequenting.”

    If so, why didn’t said agencies threaten to blow the whistle on him unelss charges were dropped?
    I would think he would have carefully avoided bringing charges against any of the girls or agencies that knew he was a patron.

    1. Because I’m sure they’d love to add blackmail to that list of charges.

  2. LOL, sorry but that due just looks corrupt as the day is long! LOL


  3. Yeah, but that hooker was hot! And Spitzer is so ugly he hasn’t got much of a shot otherwise so I think he acted appropriately. And besides, the stimulus is working.

    1. Yeah it’s bad enough to have to look at him with his clothes on. Excruciating to think about him having sex with anyone.

  4. This all seems so familiar to me, somehow.

    We also discussed this in a Hit & Run thread. I believe Commenter Paul planned to attend with great heckliosity.

    1. Spitzer should be mercilessly heckeled wherever he goes. Too bad I don’t live in Boston and have a job. It would be fun to showup and harrass him.

      1. I told Paul he should hire Ashley Dupr? and take her as a date to the lecture. Hijinks would ensue!

        1. by hijinks you mean “paul would never show up at the lecture, because Dupr? is a megahottie”?

          1. I think Paul could restrain himself enough to only making out with her during the lecture, saving the actual sex for the Q-and-A session.

  5. By the way, the full title of the lecture when I saw it should be quite interesting to the Reason crew. It’s “From Ayn Rand to Ken Feinberg ? How Quickly the Paradigm Shifts. What Should Be the Rationale for Government Participation in the Market?”

    So we went from Rand to the Pay Czar? When, precisely, were we in Rand World or anything resembling it?

    1. Ya know, during that same time period where health care was actually a free-market commodity.

      Or maybe it was during those “good ole days” for which the elderly are so nostalgic.

      *insert more examples of time periods that never happened in reality*

  6. Spitzer figures that if Nixon could come back, so can he.

    1. Nixon at least waited a few years. No, Spitzer doesn’t figure anything. He is just craven and devoid of shame.

      1. Spitzer can have a second chance a 1,000 years from now when he’s just a head in a jar.

        1. You know he’s just going to go right back to banging high priced fem-bots.

          1. Or 300 $1 hooker bots.

            1. “Yes! Front row!”

  7. Off topic, but to good to ingore:

    Irish priest Father Michael Sinnott, who had been kidnapped by militants in the Philippines, was released Wednesday night to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which handed him to the Filipino government as a goodwill gesture.

    Don’t those guys know what MILF means in American?

    1. That is funny. Militant MILFs running around the Phillipenes. I hear Sarah Palin is a leader of the Alaska faction.

      On a related note the Wisconsin Tourism Federation recently changed its name. No kidding.

      1. WTF is with Wisconsin is too perfect a slogan.

        1. Moro Islamic Liberation Front

          Talk about leaving yourself wide open. All you need is a “N.”

      2. I believe that Palin is now a GILF.

  8. Law Professor Lawrence Lessig, the Director of the Safra Foundation Ethics Center, is quoted in the linked article as saying:

    ‘We chose [Spitzer] because his experiences and perspective would be valuable to the study we’re conducting…We don’t have a moral test for listening to people’s perspectives.’

    Yeah, we don’t have moral tests – we’re an *ethics* center!

    According to its mission statement, ‘The Edmond J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics seeks to advance teaching and research on ethical issues in public life. Widespread ethical lapses of leaders in government, business and other professions prompt demands for more and better moral education. More fundamentally, the increasing complexity of public life – the scale and range of problems and the variety of knowledge required to deal with them – make ethical issues more difficult, *even for men and women of good moral character.* Not only are the ethical issues we face more complex, but the people we face them with are more diverse, increasing the frequency and intensity of our ethical disagreements.’ [emphasis added]

    So it seems that good moral character is a nice thing to have, even if it needs to be supplemented with a properly rigorous education in ethics, such as Harvard provides:
    ‘. . . the [Safron] Center seeks to help meet the growing need for teachers and scholars who address questions of moral choice in architecture, business, education, government, law, medicine, public health, public policy, and religion. By bringing together those with competence in philosophical thought and those with experience in professional education, the Center promotes a perspective on ethics informed by both theory and practice.’ [Practical experience in ethical affairs is important!]
    ‘The Center stands at the core of what is now a well-established movement at Harvard and throughout the world that is giving ethics a prominent place in the curriculum and on the agenda of research. . . .
    ‘The Center has also been actively involved in the growing ethics movement beyond Harvard, providing information and advice to many other centers at colleges and universities throughout the United States and in other countries.’ [As goes Harvard, so goes the nation?]

  9. If the Ethics Center doesn’t have moral tests, but is simply seeking to expose students to different perspectives, why not invite Kristen Davis to give *her* perspective on ethics? She certainly seems eloquent and passionate.

    And she could probably stop over at the Medical School to give a talk on sexual health. I mean, why should the Medical School have some kind of ‘healthy activity test’ for people who speak about how to stay healthy?

    1. Thanks for the tip. Kristin Davis licking a dick is hawt!

    2. I think they stole my idea about how bad role models are more effective than good ones.

      “Don’t do what Donny Dont Does” etc

  10. Next week: Dan Rostenkowski and Marion Barry on “Ethics in Politics: The Bitch Set Me Up!”

    1. Remember this one?

      “Re-elect Marion Barry: He got drugs off the streets.”

  11. And Lindsey Lohan will be establishing a new center at Emory University dedicated to chastity and moderation.

    1. *runs to get on the waiting list*

  12. Lessig’s recent inaugural lecture as Director of the Safra Center (as paraphrased in the Center’s own summary) has these gems:

    ‘In his inaugural lecture as director of the Edmond J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics, Professor Lawrence Lessig presented both a plan of and call to action as the Center embarks on its five-year investigation of the problem of institutional corruption. Professor Lessig described the general methodological framework within which the Center’s “Lab” will operate as they engage in this inquiry, as well as the stages through which their research is intended to progress. Finally, Lessig tried to impress upon the audience that, as members of the University community, they are subject to a moral obligation to assist in the project of identifying and proposing remedies to this problem of corruption in its various manifestations.’

    Institutional corruption is more worthy of attention than individual corruption: ‘for both philosophical and pragmatic reasons, Lessig argued that we do would do well to shift our attention from bad actors to (morally culpable) facilitators when investigating the problem of institutional corruption.’

    Spitzer may have been an individual bad actor in his private capacity, but in his public capacity he was crusading against institutional corruption!

    (Incidentally, it was very open-minded of the Ethics Center to book a speech by its own director, illustrating Lessig’s point that the Center is totally neutral is selecting its speakers!)

  13. He probably went after their competitors so they enjoyed the rent seeking until he got caught. They should quit bitching unless their argument is that prostitution should be legal because when it is a consenting adult relationship there is no victim.

  14. ‘its five-year investigation of the problem of institutional corruption’

    Its five-year mission: to explore strange new ethical paradigms; to seek out new fields of study; to boldly go where no man has gone before – because nobody had the chutzpah before.

    1. So maybe it will get cancelled after only 3 years?

  15. I can only hope he winds up like Kevin Kline’s character in A Fish Called Wanda. Worthless, hypocritical, authoritarian fuck.

    1. You don’t really think Otto was killed, do you?


      1. It’s K-k-k-ken! He’s c-c-c-coming to k-k-k-kill me!

  16. My favorite post-Hogate gig for Spitzer was Whore Critic for The New York Times.

  17. eddie munster

  18. Lessig is an incredible (in every sense) kiss-ass to the state and all its corporeal embodiments. More libertarians should hate him. It’s lonely over here, understanding what a total shit he is.

    If so, why didn’t said agencies threaten to blow the whistle on him unelss charges were dropped?

    Spitzer was the Attorney General. That’s precisly whose underlings you have to go through to blow whistles on prosecutors — if you’re stupid enough to believe any AG’s office would discipline or restrain any prosecutor for any uncorrupt purpose.

    Politicians are free.

    1. I don’t care much for Lessig’s publications and stated positions.

  19. Nobody should give Spitzer a soapbox to discuss anything at all – regardless of whether it relates to “ethics” or not.

    He should be completely shunned in every aspect of existence in society.

  20. “I am greatly intrigued as to what Mr. Spitzer could contribute to an ethical discussion …”

    Do as I say, not as I do.

  21. You just don’t understand.

    Fucking little people.

  22. Send your donations to: Eliot Spitzer Charitable Trust and Home for Wayward Girls.

  23. I look at the picture of Spitzer and what I see creeps me.

    Eyes of a killer.

    1. I look at that picture and think, “What? They mocked Dubya for looking like a chimp?”

  24. Spitzer is pretty much the picture of what I hate about politicians. As a conservative Christian, most seem to assume that I am overly judgmental, and tend to expect everyone to live up to my moral standards. While I’m certain that my morals, color my world some, I really only get heated over clear hypocrisy. Well, that and people who want to take my freedoms, and refuse to have any personal responsibility. Anyway, Spitzer is pretty nearly the perfect picture of the type of person I like least in this world. I don’t understand why the guy isn’t mocked and doesn’t have rotten vegetables and rocks thrown at him everywhere he goes.

    1. There was a reason why they used to tar and feather pieces of shit like Spitzer. If there comes a revolution, I want him among the first against the wall.

  25. I mock him. Regularly. And did way before Hogate broke.

  26. The best part of the whole Ho-Gate thing was the press conference, where his wife is standing behind and to the side of him, with a look on her face like she was envisioning herself (Peckinpah-slo-mo-style) putting a bullet just behind his ear.

  27. Douchebag pol lies, cheats & blackmails, gets run out of office but does no time. Goes on lecture circuit for big $$$. Meanwhile, his victims get shafted.

    I am so surprised. I may faint from astonishment. I’ve haven’t heard of anything like this…

    … for the past three minutes, anyways.

    1. What’s interesting is that the girl, at least on the surface, appears to be trying to clean up her image and publicly regrets her sordid past. Naturally, no one would have her speak at an ethics center.

      Spitzer, on the other hand, who misused power so much that he was the poster child for the abuse of power, gets paid to show up.

  28. Fuck Eliot Spitzer.

    I will never do a day of time for any crime I commit until that fucker is in jail.

    1. Fuck Eliot Spitzer.


      I will never do a day of time for any crime I commit until that fucker is in jail.

      Don’t count on it. You are not one of the boss class.

  29. I kinda like Lessig–he gave a terrific talk last week on copyright issues at the EDUCAUSE conference. I’m disappointed at his lack of forethought here. Or lack of something, anyway.

  30. “For nearly 5 years, I supplied Mr. Spitzer with high priced escorts while he was both Attorney General and Governor. For this crime, I served four months on Rikers Island, had all of my assets confiscated and am now considered a sex offender on 5 years probation. Mr. Spitzer broke both state and federal laws and walked away free.”

    I have longed shared Ms. Kristin Davis’s outrage.

    J sub D|3.11.08 @ 1:28PM|#

    Hypcritically, I am of only one mind. Fuck that moralistic asshole. I want the prosecutor to reach deep into the prosecutorial bag of evil tricks and pile up the charges. Conspiracy, money laundering, RICO, solicitation, aiding and abetting, the whole ball of wax. I want his life destroyed. I want him in proson[sic]. I want him registered as a sex offender. I want him disbarred. I want him taking piss tests while his parole officer looks on. I want the hammer of the state that he worships so much, that teat he has been sucking for decade, to come down on him like a cartoon safe.

    Then we repeal all of the prostitution laws.

    Obviously, not a lot of the political class, Dem or GOP, agrees with me.

    1. I remember that one 😉

  31. Jeeze, there’s one standard for our betters and another for the rest of us??? Whodda thunk??? The problem is this country is run by scum sucking hypocrites like Spitzer. People want to pretend that corrupt bureaucrats like Spitzer are an exception. Oh, but he’s paid for his “mistake”. He feels really, really bad. Bad that he got caught, I mean. And you know what, the imbeciles in NY will likely elect him again to some position of authority.

  32. Daaaaaamn, he looks like one of those guys in the stupid beer commercials suffering from bitter beer.

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