Current press reports about how the investigation was initiated are implausible -- the claim is that the IRS was tipped off by Spitzer's banks about some suspicious money transfers (Spitzer was careful not to use his credit card, though it was common practice for other customers of the club) that ultimately led to the prostitution ring. Sounds fishy -- we're talking about no more than tens of thousands of dollars in the accounts of a very rich individual. Why would the banks not contact Spitzer first about the transfers? Don't tell me the IRS is checking out every unexplained transfer of a few thousand dollars from a public figure's accounts. Spitzer had powerful enemies on Wall Street and among the Republican party. Combine that with his holier than thou public persona and it is no surprise that he was a target for this kind of investigation. I hope the guy resigns immediately and disappears from public life.
(The prices quoted below should be enough to convince you that this kind of prostitution is as close to victimless crime as you can get. Nevertheless, Spitzer has been shown to be a liar, hypocrite and violator of the law, so good riddance. Why does politics these days only attract pathological types?)
The WSJ has a nice piece on how the new rich are affecting the escort business.
...the wealth boom — and the explosion in the number of multi-millionaires — has created entirely new pricing levels for escorts. According to the complaint, the Emperors Club escorts charged between $1,000 and $5,000 an hour, depending on their “rankings.” Clients could also pay between $25,000 and $50,000 for a three-day visit. It may be the world’s oldest profession: but the prices reflect the new realities of wealth.
The escorts were well-versed in the lucrative potential of this new market. In the complaint, a prospective escort in London turns down the job based on price, saying that £500 an hour for starting escorts — close to $1,000 an hour — was chump change, especially since it didn’t incldue dinner.
“This is the kind of money I make very easily on photoshoots,” the woman said.
...According to a survey by Russ Alan Prince, president of Connecticut-based wealth-research firm Prince & Associates, in his book “The Sky’s The Limit,” a sizable percentage of the super wealthy use escorts. He surveyed 661 people who owned private jets. It found that 34% of males and 20% of females had paid for sex.
The most popular reason was “unique experiences” (71%), followed by “higher quality experiences” (57%). Conventional wisdom says that the rich visit escorts to avoid messy break-ups or extra demands for cash. But the study shows otherwise: “No strings attached,” ranked last as a reason.
“With the wealthy,” Mr. Prince says “it’s all about power and control and new experiences.”