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I Think I Can Agree With This

I observed a while back that "Eliot Spitzer has been brought down for a crime most libertarians don't think should be a crime, by federal prosecutors who should not be involved even if it were a crime, and using techniques, such as enlisting banks as government watchdogs of private behavior, that stretch the Fourth Amendment almost out of recognizable shape."

Megan McArdle makes a pretty good point about the last part:

I'm not distressed to hear that the Feds were spying on Eliot Spitzer. No, not because I don't like the man, but because I think maybe we should spy on our politicians, all the time. No probable cause, you say? I fling back at you Mark Twain's observation that America only has one distinct criminal class: Congress. . . . I think it's entirely appropriate that the anti-corruption police watch politicians like hawks. They've chosen public office; that conveys a lot of responsibility to the public, including assuring them that your votes aren't being bought outright. I also think that politicians, when caught in a crime, should automatically get the maximum penalty; if they think the law is such a good idea, they ought to suffer heartily when they disregard it.

Posted on March 14, 2008 at 07:04 PM | Permalink


I have a sneaking suspicion that various injured partied (Dick Grasso, Ken Langone, et al.) covertly employed a small army of private investigators to tail Spitzer, and the arrogant suckwad actually thought he was safe.

Which is the perfect reflection of competition: piss people off, especially the electorate, they’ll probably come after you….

Posted by: Mesa Econoguy | Mar 14, 2008 8:06:46 PM

I also think that being worth about $500 million, conducting covertly illegal behavior and transactions, and being in the employ of the state punishing others for doing exactly as you, entitles you to your severed head on a pike.

Posted by: Mesa Econoguy | Mar 14, 2008 8:47:12 PM

The only disagreement that I have is that it's the federal government spying on local government. Which means, if the feds find something that they don't want to become public, it won't become public.

In a libertarian sense, spying on our government is the duty of every citizen, not something we should be expecting the federal government to do for us.

Posted by: mith | Mar 15, 2008 6:33:06 AM

Megan is on to something. The mere fact that someone is a politician sounds like probable cause to keep them under surveillance to me!

Posted by: Sameer Parekh | Mar 16, 2008 4:18:01 PM

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