Liberally Conservative

"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free....... ~Ronald Reagan~

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Eliot Spitzer - Overly Ambitious Attack Dog

New York Attorney General, Eliot Spitzer, is running for Governor and it's no secret he has passions for residence at the White House. More than the top law enforcer in New York state, Spitzer has a record for private threats to future victims, while the AG enjoys promising headlines.
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Unfortunately for Mr. Spitzer, he is on record with some remarkably candid comments reference about or said directly to people he wishes to "destroy" for political gain.
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Kimberly Strassel, a member of Wall Street Journal's editorial board writes about Spitzers conflicting statements.
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Dick Grasso:
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Former New York Stock Exchange chief Dick Grasso was sued over his $140 million pay package. In February, Mr. Spitzer appeared on CNBC's "Mad Money," and told his audience: "I had a duty to bring it when John Reed, who was then the CEO/chairman of the board of the NYSE . . . walked into my office and gave me the Webb report [a NYSE investigation into Mr. Grasso's compensation] and said 'Eliot, our board doesn't want to handle this, you have to.' "
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Inconveniently for the AG, Mr. Reed has a different recollection. In a recent deposition, he was asked if Mr. Spitzer's description on "Mad Money" was "true." "No. No. It's--I don't want to get into truth or not-truth--it is not a good description of what happened." Mr. Reed went on to say that it was he who'd received a call from Mr. Spitzer saying he'd be "happy" to receive the Webb report.
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H&R Block:
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H&R Block CEO Mark Ernst wrote an op-ed in March in these pages defending his company against Mr. Spitzer's lawsuit over Block's retirement savings plans. The suit was designed to generate headlines, coming at the height of tax season, but the facts in the op-ed also suggested it was vastly inflated. While Mr. Spitzer is suing for $250 million, Mr. Ernst noted that the AG had earlier offered to settle for less than $30 million.
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Later that very day, the AG told Reuters that Mr. Ernst's claims of settlement demands were "flat-out false." Yet H&R Block had already released a letter that its chief legal officer had sent to Mr. Spitzer weeks before the lawsuit was even announced, which made specific reference to Mr. Spitzer's settlement demands.
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AIG and Hank Greenberg:
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And then there's the AIG case, in which a Journal news reporter last year revealed that Mr. Spitzer had threatened to indict the giant insurer (a death sentence) unless the board fired its longtime CEO, Hank Greenberg. Mr. Spitzer has increasingly come up for criticism for that threat, smacking as it does of a complete lack of due process. Surprise! In March a Business Week story reported that "Spitzer's deputy, Michele Hirshman, denies that such a threat was ever made."
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Spitzer likes to use his power to threaten people, in private, to conveniently cover his tracks while getting what he wants through character assassination.
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Former Goldman Sachs Chairman John Whitehead wrote on this page [WSJ] in December that after he'd published an op-ed criticizing Mr. Spitzer, the AG had called him to say: "Mr. Whitehead, it's now a war between us and you've fired the first shot. I will be coming after you. You will pay the price. This is only the beginning and you will pay dearly for what you have done."
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Former GE chief Jack Welch confirmed last year that Mr. Spitzer told him to deliver a message to Ken Langone--whom the AG is suing along with Mr. Grasso. Mr. Welch couldn't remember the precise words, but broadly confirmed a Newsweek account that the AG had threatened to "put a spike through Langone's heart." (A Spitzer spokesman later said this was a "hearsay account from a hallway conversation.")
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A spokesman for New York Congresswoman Sue Kelly reported in 2003 that after Ms. Kelly disagreed with Mr. Spitzer over legislation that he felt would hamper his investigations, he hit her with a "slew of political threats and personal insults," warning he'd come to her district and "cause problems." Mr. Spitzer's office described the event as "spirited and frank." To which Ms. Kelly's spokesman bluntly replied: "The attorney general acted like a thug, and his office can try to spin it any way they want to."
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When Mr. Spitzer is called on his comments the message from his office is denial. Adjectives like, spirited, passion, and frank attempt to explain away the comments about his destructive actions. Or innuendo, out of context, no recollection. Sounds almost Clintonian.
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Spitzer has created a trail of success but through his greed for power he also laid train tracks to his door. Hopefully a freight train will run over his ambition and Mr. Spitzer will become an afterthought in Democratic politics.

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