wtf (literally?)

March 11, 2008 at 8:40 am | Posted in law school, politics, tax law is sexy | 6 Comments

Oh, Eliot Spitzer. While countless bloggers wittier and more well known than I will have a field day with you today, thank you for allowing me to continue yesterday’s discussion on professional ethics.  As I learned while studying for the MPRE, soliciting a prostitute is not considered to be “moral turpitude” to the extent that it will get you disbarred (for an application to legal ethics, for anyone who really cares, see this paper).  (Remember, however, that prostitution is illegal for the woman but not for the man soliciting her…) 

But what if you are the governor? Or the president?  In general, consenting actions between adults don’t really phase me and perhaps do not necessarily interfere with one’s professional duties. But flying a prostitute to D.C., or thinking that you won’t be recognized, or dallying with an intern in the Oval Office shows a sort of hubris, power-madness, or plain stupidity that does call into question one’s judgment.

I’m more disappointed with the news of Spitzer than I was even with Bill Clinton.  Because I had more faith in him as a lawyer, a reformer?  Because he has three teenage daughters?  Because soliciting a prostitute is somehow more morally unnerving than having an affair (even with an intern?)  Here’s what I really don’t understand about these public officials who get caught in sex scandals (from Clinton to even Mark Foley and Larry Craig):  aside from the disrespect shown to your wife, your daughter(s), and to the public who elected you – can’t you just reign it in for four years?  Seriously. 

NB: Spitzer’s transgressions were discovered through a tax inquiry.  Tax law is sexy!

Update:  the Times tries to parse out the whole sex-and-politics thing.



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  1. I struggle with this. Should our leaders be expected to be moral, even in ther private lives? More and more I think the answer is yes, because their private lives bleed into public life. Clinton did bad things with a cigar and Ms. L in the Oval Office, on government time. Who knows what pressing matters of international importance were back-burnered in favor of a thong and a little blue dress? And the worst part of this Spitzer thing is that after this, he will make a choice — go easier on prosecuting corruption or tacitly admit to the public that he is a hypocrite who plays by different rules in his own life.

  2. Why does it say “no comments”? I commented! Feeling v. inadequate…

  3. That’s better.

  4. Totally depressing. Do you know that he got caught by special software that flags suspicious transfers of money – either really large amounts or, as in his case, bundles of small amounts that follow a specific pattern? This is special software, that only a few years ago HE insisted banks must have.

  5. Pax Arcana, that’s some heavy shit. Talk about being caught in one’s own web.


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