Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Should He Stay Or Should He Go // UPDATE: Resigning Eff. 3/17/08

While pressure mounts on Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D-NY) to resign, he is still weighing his options and pondering what he can do to avoid losing his law license. Of course, none of this helps his family, who are living through this painful episode first hand.

His admitted criminality isn't stopping some from proffering up excuses why Spitzer should remain in office. Sorry, but not only did he break the law, but violated his oath as Governor of the State of New York and violated the trust of its citizens.

None of this helps the citizens of New York either, with the state budget due in two weeks and everyone is focused on Spitzer's peccadilloes and legal woes. The fact is that the state budget is done with three men involved - Spitzer, Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno (R-Rensselaer), and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan). With Spitzer damaged goods, Bruno and Silver are going to take serious advantage, much to the detriment of taxpayers, especially if Silver gets his way and pushes through another tax hike.

Spitzer had been against a tax hike, but it remains to be seen whether that falls through the cracks in the process.

Two well placed sources (but unnamed) are saying that Spitzer will resign today. That's not exactly news, as this has been the situation since the whole mess broke.

The Post
is reporting that Spitzer will be resigning within the hour.
Gov. Eliot Spitzer has decided to resign and will begin notifying top state officials of his decision just after 9 a.m., The Post has learned.

Word began circulating of his decision in state political circles just minutes ago, which came after what one source called "an agonizing night," as the governor's wife, Silda Wall Spitzer, and the governor's lawyers went over a possible plea deal offered by federal prosecutors, sources told The Post.

Lt. Gov. David Paterson, who has remained at his suburban Albany home for the past three days, was expected to be notified of Spiter's decision within the hour.

Sources said Paterson has told friends that if he does become governor, he would like Sptizer to hold off his resignation until Monday to give him enough time to prepare for a transition.
That time means that the process is already underway.

Jammie is also on the case, and the cluelessness of Howie Kurtz, who thinks that the most important aspect of the story is that Hillary loses a superdelegate. Let's just ignore the criminal activities Spitzer engaged in (whether you agree with the criminalization of prostitution or not, it is a crime, and there are additional crimes involving transfers of money not to mention the ethical problems and his family woes). Of course, as I mentioned above, there's the not insignificant issue of the state budget due in two weeks time.

Others blogging: Hot Air and Michelle Malkin (who has the countdown clock running).

The AP reports Spitzer will resign effective Monday, March 17. Wow. St. Patrick's Day and my anniversary. How sweet.

Well, what does the AP report that triggered the headline actually say? Well, it's reporting that one of his officials says that he'll be resigning Monday. An official announcement should be forthcoming (maybe?)

Capitol Confidential notes that H Carl McCall and Basil Paterson (David's father) are both now up in Albany, which makes sense if something is going to happen in short order. They also have a good roundup of news and notes relating to the Spitzer mess.

Hot Air is reporting that the resignation will come at 11am. That would jibe with Capitol Confidential's reporting.

The latest - Spitzer will be announcing that he will be resigning this morning at 11:30am, effective Monday, March 17, which gives time for an orderly transition.

Hot Air notes that Spitzer may have used an appearance before Congress as cover to go to one of his sessions, which begs the question over whether Spitzer used state money to pay for transportation to and from his DC sessions. And here, you thought it was just about the sex? The whole scandal broke because the feds were tipped off about money transfers, which turned out to be structured payments to shell companies of a prostitution ring, and now we need to know whether state money was used to pay for transportation to and from his call girl visits in DC.

The resignation speech will be at 11:30am - and you can listen to it here or watch it here.

Meanwhile, the Times reports that Silda Spitzer had reservations about Eliot's political career. That seriously conflicts with reports from the other day that claimed that she was pushing for Eliot to fight to stay in office.

Page Six wonders if this is Kristen mentioned in the various reports. I don't know, but it looks like she could use a nice bustier - something that lifts and separates.

He came to the podium and produced the following statement. Once again, he's referring to his utilization of a call girl service as a private matter, but that's to be expected. It doesn't matter how he characterizes what he's done - the feds will be doing that for him.

He also noted that Governor in waiting David Paterson chose March 17 to be the date the resignation becomes effective to effectuate an orderly transition. Fair enough.

Full text of his resignation speech is here.

Spitzer is being represented by Ted Wells of Paul, Weiss.
In addition to his wife, Spitzer was accompanied by top white-collar defense attorney Ted Wells of the firm Paul Weiss, who most recently defended Scooter Libby and who successfully defended former U.S. Sen. Robert Torricelli, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Michael Espy and U.S. Labor Secretary Ray Donovan against state prosecutors.
Prosecutors also say that there's no deal between them and Spitzer relating to the resignation or any other matter, which makes sense if you want to use Spitzer as a witness in future prosecutions.

So what does Joe Bruno have to say about all this. I'm sure he's giddy on the inside at the fall of his arch-foe, but he had this to say:
Shortly before Spitzer spoke, a top Republican urged his resignation.

"It's now time for us to move forward," said State Senate Republican leader Joseph Bruno, speaking to reporters in the state capital Wednesday.

Noting reports that Spitzer's resignation was imminent, Bruno said the news "just underscores the severity of the crisis that we have in New York State."

"At times like this it is imperative that we join together and do what is best for the 19 million people of this state," Bruno said, also calling for a resolution to a state budget crisis.
I wonder what Andrew Cuomo is thinking. He's the current State Attorney General, and lost to Spitzer in the gubernatorial primaries. Schadenfreude?

With Paterson becoming Governor on Monday, that means that Joe Bruno will be assuming the duties of the Lieutenant Governor. For those who aren't paying attention, that means that if and when Gov. Paterson leaves New York, Bruno becomes acting governor. Not bad for a guy who Spitzer targeted.

File these in the humor category: Spitzer's decision making flow chart (HT: Distant Thunder at LGF) and Jules Crittenden spares no expense.


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