Eliot Spitzer, the disgraced New York governor who resigned amid a prostitution scandal, will give a lecture this afternoon at an ethics center at Harvard University.
"He's not speaking about ethics. He's here to talk about a research project we're launching on institutional corruption," said Lawrence Lessig, director of Harvard's Safra Foundation Center for Ethics. Spitzer "may be the most influential living prosecutor on these issues, so adding his perspective seems valuable."
The talk is titled, "From Ayn Rand to Ken Feinberg – How Quickly the Paradigm Shifts. What Should Be the Rationale for Government Participation in the Market?" All tickets are gone for the free event, according to Harvard's website.
Spitzer, a Harvard Law School alumnus, left office in March 2008 after it become public that he frequented an upscale prostitution service.
The madam who says she supplied Spitzer with high priced escorts for five years wrote a letter to the ethics center objecting to Spitzer's speech because as New York attorney general he broke the same laws he enforced.
"I am greatly intrigued as to what Mr. Spitzer could contribute to an ethical discussion when as Chief Executive Law Enforcement Officer of NY he broke numerous laws for which he has yet to be punished," the madam, Kristin Davis, wrote in the letter, which is posted on her website. "As Attorney General he went around arresting and making examples out of the same escort agencies he was frequenting."
Davis wrote that she would have attended Spitzer's lecture today "but the restrictions of my probation won't allow me to travel out side New York City."
Lessig said he never received a letter from Davis, and that the invitation to speak at Harvard was unrelated to the actions that forced Spitzer to resign as governor.
"There should not be any doubt about the behavior," said Lessig. "It was wrong - to himself, to his family, and to supporters. But we're not asking him to give theories on personal ethical behavior."
The Edmond J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics was founded in 1987 and, according to its website, "is actively involved in the growing ethics movement, providing counsel to many programs and centers at colleges and universities throughout the United States and around the world."
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