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Beltway Confidential

Eliot Spitzer, prostitutes and me

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Beltway Confidential,Sean Higgins,Analysis,Eliot Spitzer

Eliot Spitzer is trying to make a political comeback, which makes this as good of a time as any to share my story about the ex-New York governor.

Back when I was a correspondent for Investor’s Business Daily, I got a call one day in early 2005 from the National Press Club. They were inviting me to a join a newsmaker luncheon they were hosting for Spitzer. The deal with these Press Club events is that you sit at the head table with the guest of honor and the reporters who cover the person.

This was a bit odd since I wasn’t a financial reporter despite who employed me. (I was IBD’s guy in Washington and had not written one word about Spitzer.) I suspect they were struggling to find people to sit at the head table.

Nevertheless, the club seemed eager to have me, and I was interested enough to say yes. Spitzer was, after all, just gearing up to run for governor at the time.

So, the day of the event comes, and there I am with Spitzer and reporters from Businessweek, Crain’s, etc. I then learned from others there that Spitzer had called the Press Club and said he would be in D.C. this week and could the club please throw an event in his honor? They agreed because his political star was still ascending at the time. And Spitzer did give a speech that did got a lot of media attention.

Later, when Spitzer’s sex scandal broke, one of the things that came out was that he often saw the prostitutes outside of New York, mainly in Washington, D.C., in the apparent hopes of escaping the view of the city’s tabloids and gossip columns. He would have some “official” reason for the trip — appearing before a congressional committee, speaking to a nonprofit, etc. — but this was just a pretext for his real purpose for being in town.

Spitzer, it turned out, was always on the lookout for excuses to travel to D.C., and if he didn’t have one would call a committee chairman or somebody like that and just invite himself to appear. And he was in town a lot in those days.

I cannot actually prove this one way or the other, but I have always assumed that that was the case with his Press Club speech. By attending, I may have unintentionally provided Spitzer with cover to see a prostitute.

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