The future of New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer is clouded with uncertainty today, after Monday's bombshell allegation identified him as a client of a high-priced prostitution ring.
The immediate question is will he step down?
New York Republicans offered a ultimatum Tuesday, threatening to seek impeachment if he does not resign in with 48 hours, a spokesman for a leading assemblyman in the minority said Tuesday.
"The governor has 48 hours to resign or articles of impeachment would be introduced," Josh Fitzpatrick, spokesman for Assembly Republican Minority Leader James Tedisco, told Reuters.
Spitzer issued a general apology Monday at a hastily organized news conference in Manhattan but did not respond in detail to mounting allegations of his involvement in the ring. He also declined to say whether he would resign.
"I have acted in a way that violates my obligation to my family and violates my or any sense of right or wrong," he said at an afternoon news conference with his wife, Silda, at his side.
"I apologize first and most importantly to my family. I apologize to the public to whom I promised better. I have disappointed and failed to live up to the standard I expected of myself. I must now dedicate some time to regain the trust of my family."
Spitzer's apology came after The New York Times reported on its Web site the governor had admitted to senior advisers that he had been linked to the prostitution ring. Two federal sources tell ABC News a federal wiretap recorded Spitzer arranging to meet with a high-priced prostitute in Washington, D.C.
Critics of the governor called for a quick resignation.
"The governor of New York should immediately resign from office and allow the people of New York to pursue honest leadership," said Nick Ayers, executive director of the Republican Governor's Association. "The American people are tired of corrupt and hypocritical politicians. The governor of New York is just another in the long list of politicians that have failed their constituents."
If he resigned, Spitzer would be replaced by Lieutenant Gov. David Paterson, a veteran politician, who would serve the remainder of Spitzer's term.
Whether or not he resigns, the governor may still have to face the legal ramifications of his actions. The U.S. attorney's office refused to comment on the matter Monday but experts say he could be facing serious charges, even though for the moment, he has not been charged with any crime.
"This federal law carries a penalty of up to 20 years imprisonment for knowingly persuading or inducing any individual to cross state lines for the purposes of prostitution," said Naomi Seligman Steiner, of the political watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington . "Gov. Spitzer also appears to have violated District of Columbia law, making it unlawful for any person to engage in prostitution or to solicit for prostitution. This is punishable by up to 90 days in jail, or a fine of up to $500, or both, for the first offense."
Many on Wall Street and the Republican side of the aisle may relish in the allegations against Spitzer. Cheers reportedly filled the floor of the New York Stock Exchange when the news was announced Monday.
But Spitzer has a strong reputation as a family man. He was often seen around the capitol of Albany with his three daughters. Many insiders were shocked.