(NEW YORK CITY) – “You just can’t play by your own rules.”
That is how Scott Stringer, Eliot Spitzer’s primary adversary in the race for New York City comptroller, described the disgraced former Governor’s refusal to release his taxes for the last five years. Well, maybe it worked because Spitzer finally released his last two years’ tax returns Wednesday afternoon, along with a required financial disclosure form.
Dan Gerstein is a political operative based in Midtown who describes Spitzer’s lack of transparency by saying, “There is some information they don’t want public. How damaging that is? We don’t know. But the way the fact that they’re hiding it always raises that suspicion among voters.”
The records reveal that Spitzer’s disgrace has niftily been turned into financial success — he and his wife made more than $8 million last hear thanks to a lucrative contract with CNN and multiple real estate deals. However, the forms disclose only his federal 1040 forms and leaves out figures outlining is income from interest, deductions, etc.
The spotlight now focuses on Spitzer’s business affairs and not the affairs that forced him out of the Governor’s mansion. Gerstein, who served as a senior aide to Senator Joe Lieberman and who also had client run against Spitzer in 2006, says that when it comes to the office of the Comptroller and the management of $140 billion in pension funds a politician cannot have any shady questions pop up in their tax history, “Financial wrongdoing is much more damaging than personal or sexual wrongdoing.”
Since Spitzer launched his campaign there has been chatter about the infamous pillow talk with hookers, the 54-year-old’s hypocrisy for writing about voting for Obama then not voting, and for dodging questions about his marriage on PIX 11 News. Spitzer, the former broadcast anchor, pontificated last year on the tax issues that crippled Mitt Romney’s campaign, criticizing the former governor for not releasing his records.
The Stringer campaign, who is trailing by double-digits in the polls, released a rapid-response attack video Thursday morning in which they interrogate Spitzer with his own words.
For Stringer, who has released his entire five-year tax history, it’s a strategy of portraying Spitzer as a hypocrite who only worries about himself, “I want to be the controller that watches out for the backs of working people and if you can’t release your taxes, and you can’t vote for Barack Obama and you can’t get your conflict of interest form in on time, then what are we talking about here.”
An email to Lisa Linden, Spitzer’s spokeswoman, went unanswered.