Eliot Spitzer, the governor of NY, has just made headlines as an allegedly admitted customer of a prostitution ring. This is the guy who, as NY’s former Attorney General, prosecuted more than his share of sex workers.

This is my Letter to the Editor that Chief Executive magazine published in June, 2005. It was in response to an editorial on Spitzer’s heavy-handed treatment of business.

Spitzer’s Double-Standard

I don’t always get to read all the pages of Chief Executive, but you caught my eye with the reference to Eliot Spitzer. Here’s the question I would have liked to throw back at him: If you are sworn to uphold the laws and the U.S. Constitution, etc., why do you make the knee-jerk presumption of CEO guilt? (Good thing you didn’t sling back…you could have ended up in his court with RICO charges.)

Misuse of power is misuse of power, whether done in the name of a corporation, a government, a family, a religion, etc. This sounds like a massive case of projective identification to me.

The difference between a functional organization and a dysfunctional one is that functional ones have balance between forward motion and thoughtful restraint. With corporations, the board and executive team at least have the option of diversity of style that would create that balance. (Enron didn’t, hence the weak and too-late entry of their whistle-blower.) Government has no such rules.

Most heads of agencies rule with the iron fist they project onto those who work in the private sector, both the managerial CEOs and the entrepreneurial ones. But without the cooperation of the team, nothing good happens in any organization, especially the entrepreneurial ones where people work more for love than immediate compensation. There’s no such need in government, where you’re forced to pre-pay, via taxes, for services you may not want, that aren’t productive, that are run inefficiently at best and are often dangerous and where you can’t even get the protections afforded a minority shareholder.

Keep up the good work. I learn a lot from you.


I’m sorry, Governor Spitzer but I can’t defend you. I just hope you don’t take the sex workers down with you.

Views: 54

Comment by hondo on March 13, 2008 at 1:53am
> If you are sworn to uphold the laws and the U.S. Constitution, etc., why do you make the knee-jerk presumption of CEO guilt?

Are you completely stupid? Prosecuting attorneys HAVE TO presume the defendant is guilty or else they wouldn't prosecute them. You wouldn't prosecute someone you knew to be innocent, right? You prosecute them because you believe them to be guilty. That you didn't pick up on that after re-reading your letter nearly three years later is remarkable. Stick to recruiting because you can't be any worse at it than you are at politics or the legal profession.


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