Suozzi: Spitzer Shouldn’t, I Can

Today’s lesson from the Suozzi campaign trail: be prepared for questions.

Suozzi appeared in front of Eliot Spitzer’s office to ask why he hasn’t returned a donation by the state teachers union after vowing not to accept contibutions from organizations investigated by the Attorney General’s office.

But the point became somewhat muddled when Suozzi said he would have no problem accepting contributions from the union. The issue, he said, was purely one of a “conflict of interest” for Spitzer, and had nothing to do with accepting money from organizations under investigation.

The problem with that argument, is that ethically, at least, it suggests Suozzi has set lower standards for himself than Spitzer has.

When reporters pressed Suozzi on the point, he argued that he would accept all “legal” donations, and finally added “it’s a moot point — the teacher’s union is not endorsing me.”

Not exactly an ideal message of the day.

- Jason Horowitz

UPDATE: Suozzi aide Dan Gerstein writes in to clarify that the reason for Suozzi’s visit to Spitzer’s office today was to point to the “double standard” of in his handling of the union, and not to urge him to return the contributions, which became the focus of the subsequent Q&A with reporters.

Tom never said the teacher’s union was dirty or their contributions were tainted, all he said was Eliot violated his own standard when it was politically expedient for him and that raises a real question about his independence and integrity.