- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 26, 2007

The firestorm over efforts by New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s office to smear a political rival intensified yesterday when his Republican foe demanded a new investigation into the first-term Democratic governor who has referred to himself as a “steamroller.”

“I believe for the first time in the history of this state, an executive — the governor’s office — has seen fit to abuse the power of that office to spy and track and attempt to really destroy what apparently the governor’s office considers a political rival,” said state Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno, New York’s highest-ranking Republican.

“If there are cover-ups, the public has a right to know what has been covered up,” said Mr. Bruno, who insists Mr. Spitzer is trying to run off Republicans to give Democrats control of the state’s considerable purse strings.

While the governor says he knew nothing about the scheme by his top aides to discredit Mr. Bruno, his successor, Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo — a fellow Democrat — found otherwise.

On Monday, he released a report saying punitive action should be considered against Mr. Spitzer’s office for using information from Mr. Bruno’s own state police security detail to track his trips, including fundraisers, and implying in leaks to the press that he improperly used state police aircraft.

The report found that Mr. Bruno used the aircraft within established guidelines, but that policies were broken by Mr. Spitzer’s office for political gain.

New York state Republicans are enraged, and some Democrats aren’t surprised by the revelation.

“The sheriff of Wall Street has had the tables turned on him,” said Democratic political consultant Hank Sheinkopf, referring to a reputation Mr. Spitzer picked up in his campaign against corporate malfeasance while state attorney general.