Politicians and Prostitutes

 I don’t know if anyone has done proper statistical analysis on this subject, but I suspect male politicians more frequently use the services of prostitutes than the proverbial man on the street. It’s easy to explain why: politicians often have to live far away from their families when legislatures are in session, campaigning is lonely work that requires a lot of traveling, and politicians by temperament are the type that like adulation and flesh-pressing, whether provided by a crowd or a paid sex-worker. Anecdotally, I’ve heard there are more escort services in Washington, DC than Mcdonald’s.

Eliot Spitzer, Governor of New York, is the latest pol to be caught in a prostitution scandal. Since Spitzer a Democrat, there is a possibility he’ll survive; Democratic voters are more forgiving on these issues than their Republican counterparts, in part because  the Democratic party is less given to public moralizing on sex matters.

I myself lean to letting matters like this remain private: whatever Spitzer’s extracurricular activities might have been they concern only himself and his wife.

But I have one proviso: Spitzer made his name as a “law and order” man. The legal norms governing prostitution in New York (and most other jurisdiction around the planet) are a real travesty to justice. Except for sex with minors and any activity involving coercion, all forms of prostitutions should be decriminalized. I’d like to see Governor Spitzer take up this cause, although I suspect he won’t.

PS: Ezra Klein rightly highlights the hypocrisy factor: as Attorney General of New York Spitzer broke up at least 2 “prostitution rings”, huffing and puffing moralistically while doing so.


6 thoughts on “Politicians and Prostitutes

  1. According to http://www.stateline.org [http://www.stateline.org/live/details/story?contentId=207914] the anual salary of the governor of New York is $179,000.

    If reports are to believed this is not the first time that ‘Client 9’ has used the services of the Emperors Club. For example The International Herald Tribune reports [http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/03/11/america/york.php]:

    In a wiretapped conversation after the encounter, the prostitute, Kristen, called her booker to inform her that the session had gone well, and that she did not find the client “difficult,” as other prostitutes apparently had, according to the affidavit.

    Clearly ‘Client 9’ was a regular customer.

    At ‘$4,300 plus expenses’ a time where did ‘client 9’ get all of the money ? [http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20080311/spitzer_troubles_080311/20080311?hub=TopStories]

  2. Colin,
    I believe that Mr. Spitzer was wealthy before becoming governor, so he wasn’t spending his salary on prositutes, but his private wealth.

  3. I think Spitzer was more fortunate than Republicans caught in similar scandals. Going down in flames because of a high priced call girl has a certain dignity that getting busted in a men’s room or sending dirty text messages to page simply don’t have.

  4. As far as I can tell Mr. Spitzer spent less than eight years in private practice. It must have been very well paid.

  5. Colin,
    Spitzer inherited most of his wealth. It’s estimated he’s worth half a billion dolars. He didn’t have to steal money to pay for his prostitutes.

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