Six months ago New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer declared he would “change the ethics of Albany.” But yesterday Spitzer was reduced to apologizing for a scheme that seemed straight out of the political playbook he pledged to rewrite. A report by the attorney general's office concluded that Spitzer's aides improperly used the State Police to try to tarnish a political foe. It documented a series of damning e-mail messages, conflicting accounts and abuses of power among the governor's top staff members, reports the New York Times.
It read like something Spitzer, a crusading attorney general who built a reputation as the “Sheriff of Wall Street” before being elected governor last year, could have assembled in his pursuit of corporate malefactors or greedy chief executives. More significantly, the report has emboldened Spitzer's enemies and threatens to derail his entire legislative agenda, starting with one of his major objectives: overhauling Albany's notoriously lax ethics. Already, a deal the governor announced last week with legislative leaders that would tighten state campaign finance laws seemed in jeopardy of unraveling, Republican lawmakers said on Monday.