Spitzer screws up?

Maybe my ethical intuitions aren't as robust as I think they are, but I have no idea why it's considered wrong or shady for the Spitzer for Governor campaign to pay Google for an ad for Spitzer to come up in a sidebar when someone runs a search on AIG. AIG, was of course the recent target of a law suit from the Attorney General's office, so maybe the idea is that Spitzer shouldn't be able to benefit personally from filing law suits as a state agent. But his whole campaign is based on his aggressive pursuit of corporate wrong-doers, and if they really are wrong-doers, why can't the campaign point that out via the method used above.

The campaign obviously did think that it was disreputable, since they blamed it on a junior staffer. But I honestly don't get it. When I run a search on Disney, a sidebar advertisement link comes up for discount tickets. When I run a search on George Bush, a sidebar ad comes up for NPR's election 2004 coverage. It's not as if the sidebar ads are fraudulently passing themselves off as being the results of the search, they appear under the words "Sponsored Links."

So why should someone who doesn't already have negative feelings about Spitzer think that something is wrong here?

Finally, since I'm trying to become more cynical about politics (more on this later), maybe this is exactly the result the Spitzer campaign intended. That is, they felt that Spitzer's takedown of AIG had faded from the public eye, and thought that it would get another surge of attention if there was a story about arguably shady campaign tactics which focused on the connection. Since their actions are actually ethically fine, this ends up reflecting positively on Spitzer overall, though I don't find blaming subordinates for the campaign's action to be very admirable.

Update: I'm still trying to get a better understanding of this, as both an ethical and a public relations matter. Right now, my position is simply to deny the existence of an ethical problem at all, so I'd be interested to hear if anyone can explain what's actually wrong with Spitzer's behavior. On the public relations front, I recognize that it is a problem, but I have no idea why. I think the blind-spot I have on the ethical issue reinforces the PR one. I would assume that it's a larger ethical problem that a google search for Fernando Ferrer includes a sponsored link for Anthony Weiner, one of his competitors for the Democratic Mayoral nomination. I'm not sure I see a problem with that either, I'll have to think about it more.

Update, the Second: For whatever reason, I find this issue disturbingly interesting and have been talking to other people about it for a chunk of the day. The sense I'm getting is that two categorical rules are being conflated. One is that a politician, especially one with the duties of an Attorney General, shouldn't do something merely because it's popular and will advance their career. This is a good principle. The other is that a politician, especially one with the duties of an Attorney General, shouldn't point out things they've done which happen to be popular. This second principle is bizarre. But as far as I can tell, people are seeing an instance which violates the second, and thinking it violates the first. Which is why there's a public relations problem.