1st clip from Alex Gibney’s Eliot Spitzer documentary

Senior Editor
04.15.10 29 Comments

One of the great tragedies of the American political system is that we don’t give our politicians more leeway to bang whores.  Before you dismiss this as a joke, realize that Eliot Spitzer was one of the few people trying to reform Wall Street before the financial crisis, and then we found out he was visiting prostitutes* and he had to resign and let some blind assh*le no one likes take his place.  Anyway, acclaimed documentarian Alex Gibney has a documentary about Spitzer premiering at Tribeca in a few weeks, and Fortune/CNN (via Cinematical) just released this first clip.

In it, some chick with an obnoxious voice sets up the “vice vs. virtue” theme before Spitzer jumps in to answer some questions himself.  In yet another cheesy metaphor I could do without, he compares his meteoric rise before his eventual fall to that of Icarus.  Uh huh, sure, buddy.  More like DICKarus, amirite?  (Amateur mistake lobbing that softball up there like that, dude, seriously).

*Something interesting that no one talks about in all this: Spitzer got caught because of “suspicious wire transfers.”  The bank reported those wire transfers to the IRS, who reported them to the FBI, who began investigating Spitzer for taking bribes.  Why they still went public with the investigation after they found out it was whores and not bribes is another story.  But one thing interesting to note is that the bank filed a “Suspicious Activity Report”, which they say they are required to do in case of any “suspicious transaction.”  Only they never say exactly what makes a transaction “suspicious.”

And no, it’s not the size of the transaction itself, though that is a separate transaction they have to report.

“Banks file two forms that help investigators detect suspicious activity: currency transaction reports, which recount any transaction larger than $10,000 in cash, and suspicious activity reports, which speaks for itself.” [Ed. Note: No, it doesn’t.]

“The $10,000 threshold does not apply to suspicious activity reports. If a bank feels suspicious behavior has occurred involving a transaction of any size, they are required to report it or face potential stiff penalties.” [And required to make a qualitative judgment about what’s suspicious, apparently.]

“The best way to avoid showing up on a suspicious activity report is to explain to your bank the reasons for any changes in transaction patterns, Comisky said. If a customer is planning a big purchase, say a house or a car, the customer should tell the bank why such a large sum of money has been deposited or withdrawn. If the bank knows why such an irregular transaction has occurred, they are less likely to file a report.  ‘Give them a reasonable explanation,’ Comisky said.”  [Source]

So yeah, good to know. Lesson: next time you want to pay money to your whore, make sure you notify the bank first.  Glad to see our priorities are in order.

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