Good riddance to bad politicians
I go out of the country, and look at what good news greets me when I return! New York governor Eliot Spitzer has been snared in a prostitution scandal, and will be involuntarily resigning from the governorship. I have yet to understand why politicians can't show restraint when their job is on the line. Maybe that explains why they can't stop spending taxpayer money.
An editorial in yesterday's Wall Street Journal suggests that Eliot Spitzer could end up charged under a 1910 federal law, the Mann Act, which forbids transporting women across state line for "immoral purposes." Now, this law isn't normally used against "johns." But the editorial explains the irony of this situation. As attorney general, Spitzer went after big Wall Street firms using the 1921 Martin Act, a law used to prosecute small-time boiler room swindlers.
However, the Martin Act was convenient for Mr. Spitzer's purposes because of the low bar it sets for bringing cases and the ability it afforded him to bring preliminary injunctions without even having to file a complaint first. Violations bring stiff civil and criminal penalties and, most important, do not require prosecutors to prove criminal intent.
It would be poetic justice for Spitzer to prosecuted under a rarely-used old law, just like he used to do as attorney general.
Labels: Eliot Spitzer