Eight months after Eliot Spitzer resigned from his post as New York governor, questions remain about how he was caught. Though no evidence has ever shown that Spitzer was the victim of some sort of federal government hit job, persistent rumours claim otherwise. The man had a lengthy list of enemies.
Now the government is looking into the matter:
NY Times: The House Financial Services Committee intends to take up the matter early next year and tentatively plans to hold hearings that could include testimony from the United States Treasury’s law enforcement unit, along with Mr. Spitzer’s bank, North Fork, and HSBC, a bank used by a company connected to the prostitution service.
“The question was: Why were they looking for this? Is this political retribution?” said Representative Michael E. Capuano, a Massachusetts Democrat and a member of the committee who has been critical of the increased scrutiny of banking transactions, which increased greatly under the passage of the Patriot Act.
“It raises questions in my mind that he may have been targeted for political purposes,” he said, adding that he had no evidence that suggested as much.
The committee will open the investigation up to look at more than just what happened to Spitzer. With George W. Bush on his way out, and a new era in government about to begin, will we see the unwinding of one of the more controversial Bush acts?
The committee also plans to more broadly examine the government’s practice of reviewing hundreds of thousands of suspicious activity reports filed by banks each year and whether such reports are being used appropriately.
Use of such reports was expanded by the Patriot Act and has previously been a subject of inquiry for the House Financial Services Committee, whose chairman is Representative Barney Frank. The committee made its initial inquiries into the Spitzer case over the summer, but its review has been put on hold amid the financial crisis. The committee has played a central role in oversight of the federal bailout of Wall Street.
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