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Eliot Spitzer


Eliot Spitzer is a Jewish American lawyer, political commentator and Democratic Party politician who served as New York's 54th governor from 2007 until his resignation in 2008.

In his inaugural address, Governor Spitzer said: “Every policy, every action and every decision we make in this administration will further two overarching objectives: We must transform our government so that it is as ethical and wise as all of New York, and we must rebuild our economy so that it is ready to compete on the global stage in the next century.”

Prior to being elected Governor, Spitzer served for eight years as New York State Attorney General, where he won national recognition for landmark cases protecting investors, consumers, the environment and low-wage workers.

Before he ran for Attorney General, Governor Spitzer worked as an attorney in both the public and private sectors. From 1986-1992 he was an Assistant District Attorney in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, where he rose to the Chief of the Labor Racketeering Unit. He also worked for the New York City law firms of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison; Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom; and Constantine & Partners.

Spitzer was born on June 10, 1959 in the Bronx. He graduated from Horace Mann School, received his undergraduate degree from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University and his law degree from Harvard Law School, where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review.   After law school, he clerked for U.S. District Judge Robert W. Sweet.

In his third year of law school, the Governor met his future wife, Silda Wall. They were married in New York City in 1987. In 1996, Eliot and Silda founded Children for Children, a not-for-profit that fosters community involvement and social responsibility in children and adolescents. 

The Governor and First Lady have three daughters: Elyssa, Sarabeth, and Jenna.

Spitzer was born to Austrian Jewish parents, and raised in the affluent Riverdale section of the Bronx in New York City. His family was not particularly religious and Spitzer did not have a bar mitzvah. With a score of 1590 on the SAT exam, Spitzer attended Princeton University, where he was elected chairman of the undergraduate student government, graduating in 1981. He scored a perfect score on the LSAT, and went on to Harvard Law School, where he met and married Silda Wall. Spitzer was an editor of the Harvard Law Review. One of Spitzer's classmates at Harvard Law School was Jim Cramer, host of CNBC's Mad Money, on which Spitzer has appeared or called in on three occasions.

Upon receiving his Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree, Spitzer clerked for Judge Robert W. Sweet in Manhattan, then joined the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. He stayed there for less than two years before leaving to join the Manhattan district attorney's office.

Spitzer joined the staff of Manhattan District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau, where he became chief of the labor-racketeering unit, spending six years pursuing organized crime. His biggest case came in 1992, when Spitzer led the investigation that ended the Gambino organized crime family's control of Manhattan's trucking and garment industries.

Spitzer devised a plan to set up his own sweatshop in the city's garment district, turning out shirts, pants and sweaters, and hiring 30 laborers. The shop manager eventually got close to the Gambinos, and officials were able to plant a bug in their office. The Gambinos, rather than being charged with extortion, which was hard to prove, were charged with antitrust violations. Thomas and Joseph Gambino and two other defendants took the deal and avoided jail by pleading guilty, paying $12 million in fines and agreeing to stay out of the business.

Spitzer left the DA's office in 1992 to work at the law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, where he stayed until 1994. From 1994 to 1998 he worked at the law firm Constantine and Partners on a number of consumer rights and antitrust cases.

In 1994, Spitzer put aside his private practice to concentrate on attaining the elected office of New York State Attorney General. He lost in the 1994 election but was successfully elected in the next election in 1998. He has since become one of New York's most recognizable Democratic politicians. On November 7th, 2006 he was elected Governor of New York.

Sources: New York Governor's Site; Wikipedia