Skip to comments.Ethics Commission Will Investigate Eliot Spitzer Scandal
Posted on 07/26/2007 5:39:22 PM PDT by LdSentinal
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- The state Ethics Commission will investigate the scandal in which top aides to Gov. Eliot Spitzer used state police in a plot to discredit Republican Senate leader Joseph Bruno, according to a letter obtained by The Associated Press.
The letter dated Thursday says the state Ethics Commission, which has subpoena power, will investigate the case that has dominated the Albany agenda since an investigative report was released Monday by state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.
The letter addressed to Cuomo was provided by a state official on the condition of anonymity because the investigation hadn't been officially announced. When told of the letter, state Ethics Commission spokesman Walter Ayres confirmed it came from the investigative agency.
The commission seeks all interview transcripts, notes, e-mail and other material from Cuomo's investigation, but it can compel testimony under oath. Cuomo's interviews were voluntary because he lacked subpoena power in this case.
Cuomo's report released Monday concluded that Spitzer's Communications Director, Darren Dopp, and William Howard, assistant deputy for public safety, compiled and created records with the direct involvement of the acting superintendent of state police to show Bruno used state aircraft on days he attended Republican fundraisers in New York City. Dopp and Howard planned to release the records to a reporter, the report concluded.
Neither Dopp nor Secretary to the Governor Rich Baum, mentioned in the report as receiving e-mails from Dopp and Howard, gave testimony to the attorney general.
The letter was written the same day Spitzer, a former prosecutor, in a news conference refused to say whether it was appropriate that his top aides failed to fully cooperate with investigators looking into their use of state police against Bruno.
"I was not involved'' in the decision, Spitzer said at a raucous news conference. He said he knew of the request that the aides testify. Spitzer has repeatedly denied knowing about the plot to discredit Bruno, the state's top Republican.
On Sunday, the day before the report was issued and after the Cuomo investigation was largely completed, Baum and Dopp submitted sworn statements through the governor's counsel's office.
Spitzer, the former crime-busting attorney general who made international headlines as the ``Sheriff of Wall Street,'' defended the decision not to provide testimony.
He said Thursday that it wasn't necessary for Baum and Dopp to be questioned after Cuomo determined no crime was committed.
Baum, in an interview Thursday, said the decision was consistent with policy.
"The Attorney General's Office asked the counsel's office for testimony from me, and I guess from Darren Dopp,'' Baum said. ``In general, the counsel's office frowns on sworn testimony of people in the executive chamber who advise the governor because they prefer to not have wide reaching questions about the advice to the governor.''
"It was all done through counsel's office,'' Baum said.
Hours before, Spitzer was pressed in a news conference on whether refusal to testify would have been acceptable if he was still attorney general.
"As a prosecutor, I will tell you (that) you pursue facts until it's your conclusion, unquestioned, and you reach the legal determination that needs to be made,'' he said. ``The attorney general reached its conclusion, and without any hesitancy or doubt, there were no violations of the law. There were judgment errors that were made that were egregious.''
Spitzer said Thursday that the written statements by Baum and Dopp were "sufficient for the attorney general to close its investigation.''
But the statements weren't accepted for use in the report.
"We told the governor's counsel's office that we wanted to interview Darren Dopp and Richard Baum,'' Cuomo spokesman Jeffrey Lerner said Thursday. ``Our investigators decided not to include the written statements as they did not have the chance to interview Dopp and Baum.''
Baum said the decision by the counsel's office not testify isn't in writing. He also said he doesn't know why Howard's interview with investigators was approved.
"The counsel's office offered a sworn statement from me that spoke to the core accusations or the core questions being posed by the report and the sworn statement spoke to those questions,'' Baum said. ``And they received that and closed the investigation. That's what I know.''
Baum said he received two e-mails from Howard and Dopp apparently regarding the political scheme, but ``I didn't respond or engage ... I have no recollection of engaging.''
Baum said neither he nor Spitzer knew of the political scheme underway by Dopp and Howard.
Spitzer also refused to comment on what he would do if subpoenaed by the Legislature to compel testimony about how much the governor knew about the political plot.
"We have not gotten there,'' Spitzer said before the Ethics Commission probe was confirmed. "It is not necessary at this point.''
spitzer could be on audio and video tape ordering this effort to destroy Bruno and nothing would happen to him.
Nobody gets to throw water on this witch and expect a much-deserved result...
No leftist would do a thing to a fellow leftist — not if he was caught on tape murdering someone.
But he's a dem and scandal is just a resume enhancer for the left
I have to totally agree with you. Before the election Spitzer was caught shaking down companies and would drop the case if they donated money. Enough of my fellow New Yorkers voted for him to get elected. The also elected another crook that got tossed after the election. I can’t remember his name now....
The voters of New York sowed the wind and they are now reaping the whirlwind.
He could toss a grenade in a preschool filled with two year olds and get the nobel peace prize. He’s got good intentions.
Does anyone know what he used the State Police to do in regard to Bruno? I haven’t followed this N.Y. scandal (?) and wonder if anybody can explain what Spitzer was up to. Thanks.
The sleeping tax, without snoring, only 30 dollars a night. Not too bad
But the Death tax, that’s a big one here. Its all you own plus 10 percent. If you cant pay it they take the pillow in the coffin, spit in your face and then bury you upside down.
So sorry to hear that. My mother grew up in Schenectady but was born in Vermont. And she has lived in New Hampshire since 1945. Her sister lives in Geneseo.
New York is such a beautiful place. It’s too bad that the politicians/bureaucrats have messed it up so bad.
Spitzer’s guys used the state police to create a phony investigation of Bruno. They then passed the story of the investigation to an upstate paper and tipped the reporter to file a Freedom of Information request for the data.
But they hit a buzz saw when it was discovered the newspaper had run the story (supposedly based on the data) weeks BEFORE they had even filed the FOI request for the Bruno data. It was all an attempt to smear Bruno in the press on made-up allegations. The head of state police helped in the scheme.
Bruno was cleared of all allegations.
Anyone want to bet Spitzer’s got an inside track with someone at the Ethics Commission?!
Couldn’t follow exactly what went on from the article. Your explanation does the job. Thank you.
Sounds like a New York Nixonian to me!!!
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