Friday, June 03, 2005

WSJ: Spitzer Calls in Favor from McCall

Tom Suozzi has become a thorn in Eliot Spitzer's side and now Spitzer's past political favors to fellow Democrat Carl McCall is paying off to help Spitzer deal with a potential Suozzi run.

Today the Wall Street Journal editorializes (subscription required) about former Pataki challenger Carl McCall's warning (or should we say threat) to Suozzi not to challenge Spitzer in the Democratic Primary from yesterday's NY Times:
"Tom already has his problems in the party, and a primary run would drain resources, create divisions and not be well received," said H. Carl McCall, the Democrats' last nominee for governor, who has warned Mr. Suozzi about the 2002 primary fight with Andrew Cuomo that cost Mr. McCall millions.

"I've told Tom, and others have told him, that he should forgo the race," Mr. McCall added.

"He has a real future in this party. A run against Eliot Spitzer, especially if it goes badly, could harm Tom's career, maybe permanently."

Back in May 2005, Spitzer was widely criticized for giving McCall a pass while pursuing NYSE head Dick Grasso for his "excessive" $187 million pay package that McCall approved. At the time McCall was the head of the compensation committee and other committee members felt he was to blame because he "didn’t do enough work in preparing the committee to vote on the pay deal".

When Grasso refused to back down The Economist described Grasso's countersuit and Spitzer's own conflicts the following way:
Mr Grasso has not taken this lawsuit lying down. He has tried to turn the tables on Mr Spitzer, saying that the decision by the Democratic attorney-general to sue “smacks of politics”. In particular, Mr Grasso has asserted that Mr Spitzer chose not to go after Carl McCall, a fellow Democrat who had chaired the exhange's compensation committee, or the “powerful CEOs who voted for my compensation year after year [because] Mr Spitzer is running for governor, and running hard”. Mr Grasso is also reported by the Wall Street Journal to be threatening to bill the exchange for his legal fees under an indemnity clause in his employment contract.

The Wall Street Journal nicely sums up Spitzer's conflict in its editorial titled "A Friend in Need":
The decision to spare Mr. McCall looked selective and suspicious to everyone who understood Mr. Spitzer's gubernatorial ambitions and his desire to please party elders when it looked like Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer might also enter the race. Mr. Schumer later decided against a run, but now we have Mr. McCall riding to Spitzer's rescue to help fend off a different primary challenger. A friend indeed.

Eliot Spitzer's numerous conflicts of interest are becoming the theme of his campaign. While there is nothing he can do about his past conflicts (thought the NY voters hopefully will see that they make him unfit to hold the Governor's office) Spitzer Watch continues to call for Spitzer to resign from his position as NY Attorney General.