Three years ago, The Journal News and Lohud.com reported that John Spencer wrote a 15-page letter to Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, in which he alleged that Jeanine Pirro had politicized and corrupted the Westchester district attorney’s office. Spencer, who was then mayor of Yonkers, demanded that Spitzer investigate Pirro who was then the county DA.
In an Oct. 8 column on Pirro, I alluded to Spencer’s charges of corruption, which included a wide array of allegations that Pirro selectively prosecuted people based on personal and political considerations. I noted that nothing came of it, at least not up to this point. Futhermore, I don’t think Spencer ever brought it up again, at least not publicly.
Fast forward to the the present. Today, Spencer is the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate running against Hillary Clinton. Pirro is the Republican candidate, running for attorney general against Democrat Andrew Cuomo. And Spitzer, a Democrar is the overwhelming favorite to defeat Republican John Faso in the gubernatorial race.
In last night’s attorney general debate in Rochester, Cuomo cited a New York Sun story which claimed to be reporting for the first time that Spencer had called for the Spitzer probe. Well, that’s wrong. We’ve been writing about it for years.
In any event, it now comes to light that Spitzer’s office IS investigating Spencer’s complaints, though reportedly only as a civil matter. We also now learn through a ublished report that Pirro herself is not a target of the investigaton.
A few observations:
1) For a brief period, Spencer and Pirro were vying for the GOP Senate nomination. (Remember Spencer’s “Chinaman’s Chance” crack? That was about Pirro.) As we all know, Pirro dropped out when it became painfully clear that she was in way over her head.
Once she was no longer a rival, Spencer had no politiical cause to bring up his letter of complaints about her. Nevertheless, he had every cause to believe that he was blown off by Spitzer in 2003– which he was.
2) But lo and behold, the Spencer letter resurfaces during the attorney general’s race. Why? It’s obivous. Cuomo is a Democrat and so is Spitzer. As a candidate for governor, Spitzer can no longer afford to shove the Spencer complaints under the rug, especially since it’s being brought up by a guy sharing space on his party ticket.
3) And yet, Pirro is not the target of the suddenly active investigation. Why? That’s obvious, too. Spitzer is an ally of Pirro’s and the whole political structure of Westchester County. He’s not going to rock that boat. Remember, Pirro has even praised Spitzer in her own TV commercials for attorney general.
So Spitzer has it both ways. Yes, there’s a probe, but Pirro is not really the subject of the probe. Huh? And Cuomo is happy, too. He gets a sound bite for his debate.
Like I said, something stinks.