Monday, July 23, 2007

An apology for releasing politically damaging information

by Michael Gormley
The Associated Press

(July 23, 2007) — ALBANY — Gov. Eliot Spitzer today suspended a top aide and will reassign another following a report by Attorney General Andrew Cuomo that said members of the administration conspired to release politically damaging information about a Republican adversary’s use of state aircraft.

Spitzer said he accepted the findings of the report. He suspended indefinitely without pay his longtime communications director, Darren Dopp, and said he will reassign his assistant deputy for public safety, William Howard, to a position outside the executive chamber. Both are senior staffers for Spitzer and among his closest aides.

Spitzer, a Democrat, said neither he nor anyone else higher up in the administration ordered Dopp and Howard to collect information on Republican Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno. Spitzer said he knew nothing of their plans.

“Clearly this was not part of a broader package,” Spitzer said. “I will not tolerate this behavior.”

Spitzer took no action against the acting superintendent of state police, Preston Felton.

Spitzer said he won’t challenge the findings of Cuomo’s report, which found no violations of law.

“I apologize to Senator Bruno, as I did earlier today,” Spitzer told reporters. “I apologize to the people of the state of New York.”

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