Saturday, March 15, 2008

Is political morality on the decline?

NYT has an Q&A everything you want to know about Spitzer.

Q. Why did Eliot Spitzer’s banking activities prompt the attention of authorities?

A. Under the Bank Secrecy Act, all financial institutions are required to file currency transaction reports with the Treasury Department for any deposit or withdrawal of more than $10,000 or questionable banking activities of any kind. As articles in The Times by David Johnston and Stephen Labaton and Don Van Natta Jr. and Jo Becker have reported, bank employees detected that Mr. Spitzer was moving around thousands of dollars in what they thought was an effort to conceal the fact that the money was his own. An audio interview conducted by Jane Bornemeier on Tuesday (available to listen online here) with Gerald L. Shargel, a criminal defense lawyer in New York, explains why the crime known as structuring, or making payments in such a way as to conceal their purpose and source, is illegal.

Q. What was the nature of the “unsafe” sexual practices that Client 9 — identified by officials as Mr. Spitzer — is said to have requested in the court affidavit unsealed last week?

A. The Associated Press has reported that the unsafe sexual practices referred to Mr. Spitzer’s preference not to use a condom, contrary to the prostitute’s wishes, but The Times has not independently confirmed this.

Q. Mr. Spitzer was a superdelegate supporting Hillary Rodham Clinton. What happens to his vote?

A. She loses it. David A. Paterson, the governor-designate, was already a superdelegate because he is a member of the Democratic National Committee. He has endorsed Mrs. Clinton. As governor, he still gets to vote at the convention, but only once.

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