Thursday, June 26, 2008

Delayed Reaction 

It is hard to believe that this case is still churning through the courts of New York State. It is less difficult to believe that the former attorney general, Eliot Spitzer, over-stepped his authority when he brought the case against Richard Grasso. Spitzer used the lowest form of publicity and class warfare to justify illegal action. This was his modus operandi. He wrapped himself and his office in the mantle of "fighting for the little guy" and proceeded to play a media game against the financial services industry. Few of his cases went to trial. He went for big headlines followed by settlement with the individual or company. Grasso is notable because he called Spitzer's bluff and challenged his tactics.

Whether Grasso deserves his large payday or not is another question. The issue here is abuse of authority. Spitzer showed his true colors as a short-term governor forced to resign for personal misbehavior. It is sad that the media for the most part went along with Spitzer during his time in the spotlight. It is also a warning to any organization or individual who would fight the government. It is hard to win against bureaucrats who are skilled "media spinners."

The Grasso case is not over. In the end, he may be forced to return some of his compensation, but one hopes that it is done legally this time.


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