Law Practice

Spitzer Probe Spotlights NY Ethics Group


The ongoing investigation of New York Governor Eliot Spitzer’s office concerning a reported effort by his aides to discredit the Senate majority leader has put an unaccustomed spotlight on what until now was a low-profile government group–the State Ethics Commission.

On the verge of a major reorganization, the commission is about to take on a bigger role and broader powers–with the help of a larger 13-member board, seven members of which are to be appointed by Spitzer himself, reports the New York Times.

“Obviously this is a tricky situation,” says Russ Haven. He is legislative counsel for the New York Public Interest Research Group.

But as Herbert Teitelbaum, a longtime litigator who became executive director of the State Ethics Commission last month, puts it: “I say to clients, ‘I take the case wherever it goes.’ ”

The investigation of Spitzer’s office has been discussed in several previous ABAJournal.com posts. Andrew Cuomo, who replaced Spitzer as attorney general when he became governor this year, has concluded that Spitzer aides committed no crime. However, he may not have seen all the relevant evidence at that point, as a more recent ABAJournal.com post discusses.

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