- The Washington Times - Friday, July 27, 2007

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — The state Ethics Commission will investigate the use of state police by top aides of Democratic Gov. Eliot Spitzer to discredit the Republican state Senate leader, the panel told the state’s attorney general yesterday.

A letter from the commission, which has subpoena power, to Democratic Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo says the panel will seek all interview transcripts, notes, e-mails and other material from Mr. Cuomo’s investigation into the tracking of Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno.

Mr. Cuomo’s report released Monday concluded that Mr. Spitzer’s communications director, Darren Dopp, and William Howard, assistant deputy for public safety, compiled and created records with the direct involvement of the acting superintendent of state police to show Mr. Bruno used state aircraft on days he attended Republican fundraisers in New York City. Mr. Dopp and Mr. Howard planned to release the records to a reporter, the report concluded.

No one was accused of breaking the law, but the report found that policies designed to protect public officials’ safety were broken for political gain.

Mr. Spitzer, who earned a reputation as a corruption fighter for forcing reforms on Wall Street in two terms as attorney general, suspended Mr. Dopp and will reassign Mr. Howard.

The letter was sent the day Mr. Spitzer, a former prosecutor, refused in a press conference to say whether it was appropriate that his top aides failed to fully cooperate with investigators looking into their use of state police against Mr. Bruno.

“I was not involved” in their decision, said Mr. Spitzer, who has repeatedly denied knowing about the plot to discredit Mr. Bruno.