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Eliot Spitzer

I first started noticing Eliot Spitzer when he was going after NYSE head Richard Grasso for making too much money. Grasso was making a lot of money...$193 million a year. I didn't understand why it was a crime. I still don't. I had recently gotten my inheritance for my father and was actively involved in the stock market. In other words, I was a small individual investor, the kind of person Spitzer was supposed to be protecting from people like Grasso. Except I was making money and could not for the life of me see why I needed protection from Grasso.

Over the years, his strong arm tactics made him a lot of enemies. That by itself doesn't make him a bad guy, but the criminality of many of his targets was questionable. A lot of them, like Grasso,  were only guilty of being rich.

Spitzer himself was guilty of the "crime" of being rich. His father was a wealthy real estate developer and he was worth hundreds of millions of dollars. And he didn't always meet the pristine standards he demanded for others. In fact, he funded his first campaign for NY Attorney General by playing fast and loose with campaign finance laws.

Ironically, he was ultimately done in by the same kinds of laws he used against his own prey. No one cared about prostitution or had any idea Spitzer was involved with it. He got caught because he  was suspected of "structuring" bank withdrawals, which basically means taking money out in a way designed to evade federal reporting requirements. (Which confuses me...it seems that withdrawals are either legal or they're not). The laws against it are designed to help prosecute the kinds of white collar criminals Spitzer went after.

Even though I am just a puny little individual investor, I can share the schadenfreude experienced by all the floor traders on hearing the news about Spitzer. Spitzer's a bully, and makes it worse by pretending he's defending the little guy. That makes him the worst kind of bully and the worst kind of hypocrite.


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