Monday, July 16, 2007


The Stoning of Spitzer

Some actual news to report here at RT.

About a week or so a go, various New York area bloggers and journalists -- including yours truly -- began receiving these odd anonymous emails.

The sender was a previously unheard of organization called Visiting that site only rendered a blank Web page.

The e-mails were all just cut-and-pasted fully reprinted news articles (not links) -- specifically negative stories about Gov. Eliot Spitzer. The first few all were stories written by my Post colleague Fred Dicker on Spitzer's apparent using State Police
to spy on his political adversary, Majority Leader Joe Bruno.

Bruno denied knowing anything about the e-mails.

this blogger, a Democrat, assumes that the sender is a politically active Democrat. Now, it's true that Spitzer likely has quite a few enemies within the Democratic party, but generally a Democrat wouldn't be using a New York Post report to try to bash another Democrat.

I was puzzled by the e-mails, but didn't give them much more thought until this morning.

I got a "StoneZONE" e-mail -- a semi-regular update on the media appearances and other work of long-time GOP strategist Roger Stone. Usually, these e-mails tell the recipient when Stone is appearing on MSNBC or has written some column. This one was different: It (fully) reprinted a Daily News blog item (not a link) that Stone has been hired by the NY state GOP:

Stone, whose client list has included Manhattan real estate mogul Donald Trump, the late President Ronald Reagan and failed billionaire gubernatorial candidate Tom Golisano, will be conferring privately with the GOP majority Monday when the Senate returns to Albany to take up congestion pricing, yet-unconfirmed Spitzer nominees and property tax rebates, insiders say. Stone's assistance was reportedly sought by the Senate Republican Campaign Committee. Stone himself did not return a call for comment.
A source said Stone last spoke to GOP senators several weeks ago and provided advice on "what we need to be doing to take it to the governor."
Since then, Senate GOP Leader Joe Bruno has sharpened his attacks on Spitzer, who in turn has vowed to play "hardball" against the Senate Republicans.
Now, here's the kicker: I've been getting these "StoneZONE" e-mails regularly for some months, in both my New York Post account AND my personal "home" account (NOT the e-mail linked to this blog). For the first time today, I also received a e-mail to that same home account (previously, had only been coming to the Post).

I went to the "" e-mail and noticed this "disclaimer" at the very top:

NYFacts is a news service. Our goal is to inform civic, government, community, and political leaders about the news-of-the-day. NYFacts is not affiliated with any corporation, political party, or candidate. The viewpoints and contents of the news stories we commend to you are obviously that of the reporters and news organizations. All other editorial comments are ours.
Michael Caputo
Buffalo, NY
Acting on a hunch, I did a quick Web Search of "Roger Stone, Michael Caputo." That brought up this Village Voice story from 2004. It's actually a harsh piece slamming of Al Sharpton for working with Republican strategists -- like Roger Stone.

But look who pops up (emphasis added):

Two vendors for a current campaign assisted by Stone—the senate campaign of Larry Klayman—also donated in Florida, with public relations consultant Michael Caputo and Tasmania Productions owner Teddi Segal donating $250 (she says she doesn't know Stone). Caputo, ironically, was Stone's spokesman in 1996, when Stone was embroiled in the most embarrassing scandal of his career—the much ballyhooed revelation that he and his wife had advertised, with photos, for swinging partners in magazines and on the Internet. Caputo has, until recently, been handling press inquiries for Klayman, an evangelical who led the sex assault in Washington on Bill Clinton and is running a moral-majority, retake-Cuba campaign for senate. Stone volunteered behind the scenes for Klayman too, and several Stone-tied vendors, like Baynard and pollster Fabrizio, McLaughlin & Associates, have been retained.
Hmmm...seems pretty clear where originated. Eliot Spitzer apparently wanted hardball; it looks like he's now got it. And Mr. Bruno's comments that he didn't know anything about the e-mails seems a bit, well, disingenous.

UPDATE: The Albany Times-Union contacts Michael Caputo who discusses his plans for "NYFACTS":

“NYFACTS goes out to a large group of interested “grasstops” activists and decisionmakers. Beyond vital news clips, NYFACTS will be communicating stories from other publications and some orginal writing and cartoons. I have further aspirations for NYFACTS, but for now
it is what it is.
“Time and the truth will prove Eliot Spitzer is a capricious man of questionable ethics - and I want to help nudge that news around.”
Caputo sounds like he's doing this by himself. The timing of his new project, happening just as his erstwhile colleague, Mr. Stone (who, like Caputo, also splits his time between New York and Miami) signs a contract with NY state Republicans is curious, to say the least.

UPDATE II: I should make another obvious point: If Stone and Caputo aren't working together in some fashion, how did both of my accounts end up on Caputo's mailing list. I've never previously received e-mails -- to any of my accounts -- from Michael Caputo. On the other hand, as noted above, I have gotten them from Roger Stone.

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