Eliot Spitzer's Biography
Eliot Spitzer, who was sworn in as New York's 54th governor on January 1 2007, was elected by a record 69% of voters.
Spitzer is a graduate of Princeton University and of Harvard Law School, where he was editor of the Harvard Law Review.
He worked as clerk to U.S. District Court Judge Robert Sweet in New York, and then an associate at Paul Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton, and Garrison.
From 1986-1992, Eliot Spitzer served as an Assistant District Attorney in Manhattan, rising to become Chief of the Labor Racketeering Unit, where he prosecuted organized crime and political corruption cases.
He also worked at the New York law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom, of which he said: "I thought I would become a partner at Skadden, do that for a few years and then go into the family business."
Spitzer's father had established a property business, which runs several Manhattan apartment blocks, including the Fifth Avenue building where Eliot Spitzer lives with his family.
Eliot Spitzer used millions of dollars of family money in his first unsuccessful campaign for Attorney General in 1994. That time he lost by a wide margin, but in 1998 he won a tightly fought contest.
When he was Attorney General of New York, Eliot Spitzer famously pressed cases against major Wall Street firms, most notably Merrill Lynch, when in 2002 he exposed the conflicts of interests in Wall Street stock research.
Henry Blodget, a Merrill Lynch analyst, had described as a "piece of shit" a client's stock the firm was publicly recommending in an email that Spitzer's team discovered.
Merrill Lynch paid a $100m fine, and in total the leading Wall Street banks have settled similar charges for a total of nearly $1.5bn, and have agreed to significant reforms of their practices.
Even his critics admit that Spitzer has exposed serious abuses in many industries, although some suggest that he has been a catalyst for a regulatory overreaction that threatens US competitiveness.
On the wall of Spitzer's office is a photograph of his hero, Theodore Roosevelt, and he has followed in Roosevelt's footsteps by becoming governor of New York State.
Spitzer's first fundraising event after his declaration was attended by actress Glenn Close, and film producer Harvey Weinstein.
In March 2008, The New York Times reported on how Spitzer had told close administration officials of his involvement in a high-priced prostitution ring.
Forbes reported how Eliot Spitzer subsequently apologised although not dealing with specifics:
"I apologize first, and most importantly, to my family. I apologize to the public, whom I promised better. I do not believe that politics in the long run is about individuals. It is about ideas, the public good and doing what is best for the state of New York. But I have disappointed and failed to live up to the standard that I expect of myself. I must now dedicate some time to regain the trust of my family."
The pressure on Eliot Spitzer continued as ABC News reported:
"A 22-year-old escort ... told ABC News ... that Gov. Eliot Spitzer had been one of her customers two years ago when he was New York attorney general and that he was a nice guy who tipped well."
On 12 March 2008, Eliot Spitzer resigned as governor of the state of New York.
In 2010 CNN paired Eliot Spitzer with the conservative columnist Kathleen Parker in a new show format.
Back to Top