Long before Kristen and Hookergate, former Governor Eliot Spitzer was embroiled in Troopergate, a spectacularly misguided attempt to smear his rival, State Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, with state police records. Now, the Spitzer aide most identified with the scandal is trying to set the record straight, but the state ethics panel apparently isn't having any of that.
The NY Times speaks with Darren Dopp, former communications director under Spitzer. Dopp, who was suspended and later resigned, believes that the ethics commission is trying to pile most of the blame on him, and not his boss. From the Times:
Mr. Dopp said that during hours of testimony, Herbert Teitelbaum, the commission’s executive director and a onetime political supporter of Mr. Spitzer’s, brushed aside his assertions that he was not acting alone.
“Mr. Teitelbaum kept insisting that I was a rogue and that everything happened because I took it upon myself to release the records,” said Mr. Dopp, now a communications strategist for an Albany lobbying firm.
“When I mentioned the governor, Mr. Teitelbaum was incredulous,” he added. “He didn’t want to hear about it. He would change the topic whenever the governor’s name came up.”
However, the commission's spokesman says Teitelbaum's "work has the full support of all members of the commission, which includes Republicans and Democrats, as well as former judges and prosecutors.”
Earlier this year, Dopp, who was granted immunity for his cooperation, told Albany prosecutors he was asked to release state police records by way of the governor's chief of staff, who said, "Eliot wants you to release the records." Now, having rejected a guilty plea from the ethics commission, Dopp says, "Ultimately, I believe I will be vindicated because I never did anything improper, nor did I ask anyone else to do so."