Tuesday, September 05, 2006

A Spitzer Misstep

The New York Daily News reports that New York State attorney general Elliot Spitzer, running for the governor's post, accepted grossly underpriced air travel from a man whose business affairs are already, at best, a conflict of interest for Spitzer as attorney general and would be the same if he becomes governor.
Spitzer was on a two-day fund-raising swing out West and needed to get from Phoenix to Tucson to Cincinnati and back to New York in a hurry. Casino developer Richard Fields got wind of his predicament and offered the use of his corporate jet. Thanks to him, Spitzer and his aide could meet their tight schedule, skip the long check-in lines and fly in style.

The offer practically screamed "conflict of interest." Fields is part of a group bidding to take over the Aqueduct, Belmont and Saratoga horse tracks. He also represents developers working with the Oneida Indians of Wisconsin to build a casino in the Catskills. Both issues will fall squarely on Spitzer's plate if he wins in November.
But will it matter to front-runner Spitzer in the Fall? Probably not. The governor's election will turn on the votes of New York City voters, who are notoriously incurious about the pecadilloes of Democratic candidates.