Spitzer directed effort to smear Bruno

I can’t say I’m surprised by the revelation that Eliot Spitzer, his denials to the contrary, personally directed his administration’s wrongdoing in “troopergate.”  What does surprise me is his degree of emotional involvement in it:

Around June 25 or June 26, Mr. Dopp [Spitzer’s former communications director] told prosecutors, he first met with Richard Baum, the governor’s chief of staff, who told Mr. Dopp that the governor wanted the records on Mr. Bruno released to the media. “Eliot wants you to release the records,” Mr. Baum told him.

But Mr. Dopp, mindful of the political war that would erupt between the governor’s office and Mr. Bruno, hesitated and decided to check with the governor.

He told the governor that Mr. Bruno would be furious, according to people familiar with his account. Mr. Spitzer responded with expletives about Mr. Bruno and belligerently dismissed the warning.

The governor was so angry, Mr. Dopp recalled, that he turned red and spit out coffee he was sipping as he directed him to release the records immediately. “As he was saying it, he was spitting a little bit,” Mr. Dopp said. “He was spitting mad.”

Not only was this man willing to use the power of his office to spy on his political opponents, but he became furious when Dopp had the temerity to counsel against it.  Then, when he was found out, he pinned the blame on Dopp:

A report by the attorney general, Andrew M. Cuomo, on July 23 said that the Spitzer administration had improperly used the State Police to assemble records on Mr. Bruno’s flights. Mr. Spitzer apologized, placed Mr. Dopp on indefinite unpaid leave, and said he would not tolerate such behavior.

One usually imagines this sort of conduct being of a cold, calculating, ruthless sort.  But for Eliot Spitzer, it was more like “How dare you oppose my rule!”  He truly was a scoundrel of the first order.

ASIDE: With Spitzer out of office now, the political damage of this revelation to the Democrats is largely contained.  (Although the New York Times article does not let on, Spitzer was, in fact, a Democrat.)  So I’m curious: Did the New York Times really come into this information during the past week, since Spitzer resigned?

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