Bill Thompson Open to Bi-Partisan Probe of Spitzer

Here’s a bit of Bill Thompson’s interview with Jay DeDapper of WNBC in which he discusses Eliot Spitzer’s still-unfolding Joe Bruno problem.

Thompson said that if a circumstance arose in which his own chief of staff failed to inform him that he was doing the kinds of things Spitzer’s top aide, Rich Baum, admitted to doing, Thompson would fire him.

From the interview:

JD: If your chief of staff didn't tell you about something like this that was going on and was actively involved, would he still be working for you?

BT: My chief of staff would not be working for me. I'm not going to commenton what Eliot should do with his staff, at the same point, the one thingthat has to occur, his two staff people, it has come out today that they have not spoken to the Attorney General's office. They have to come forward.

Later in the interview, Thompson says he's open the idea of another inquiry into the whole matter, as long as it's carried out by both houses of the state legislature, not just by the Republican-controlled Senate.

From Spitzer's point of view, it's not exactly clear that getting the Democratic-controlled Assembly involved in this matter would be an entirely good thing.

Here's a longer excerpt:

JD: Do you believe he would not have known about any of this?

BT: Given his comments, he's not going to lie at this point. He said he
didn't know, I believe he didn't. Staff doesn't tell you everything, and
I think something on this level, it's a possibility that staff didn't
tell him, so I'd take him at his word.

JD: Should they have been fired?

BT: That's for the Governor to determine.

JD: Would you have fired them?

BT: I might have.

JD: If your chief of staff didn't tell you about something like this that
was going on and was actively involved, would he still be working for
you?

BT: My chief of staff would not be working for me. I'm not going to comment on what Eliot should do with his staff, at the same point, the one thing that has to occur, his two staff people, it has come out today that they have not spoken to the Attorney General's office. They have to come forward. They have to be honest and just say, 'look, here's what happened, here's what we did, we're sorry, we made a mistake,' and I honestly believe in forgiveness, people do make mistakes, they get overzealous. You see someone as a political enemy for some reason or standing in the way of trying to get an agenda or the people's agenda done, and they overreacted, but they have to come forward, they can't stonewall the Attorney General.

JD: Is using the state police to go after a political enemy, which some
people have called Nixonian, Ed Koch called it Gestapo tactics, is that
going over the top, or is that something more?

BT That is definitely going over the top. It is improper, that's not why
the state police are there, they are not there to be used as a political
tool for anyone, so it was going over the top. I think the governor
responded, suspending people, moving people, so we'll see what else
happens. But those two individuals do have to come forward and be honest and open.

JD: Should there be an independent investigator on this case?

BT: I think the Attorney General did a thorough a job on this one, as
thorough as possible. It said he didn't believe there was any criminal
wrongdoing in this. What the venue is… is it a legislative body, is it
another body, one that is impartial would help. Maybe a joint hearing
between the assembly and the senate that way, issues of partisanship are taken off the table.