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May 15, 2007

Wolfowitz guilty!

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An internal investigating committee has determined that World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz violated ethics guidelines when he secured a huge tax-free raise for his girlfriend.

Wolfowitz claims that he was FORCED to intervene on his girlfriend's behalf because the investigating committee was too scared to approach her.

Poor pitiful Wolfie: The big boss of the bank was forced to violate ethics guidelines because his wimpy underlings were afraid to approach his girlfriend. As the investigating committee noted, Wolfowitz didn't have to negotiate the package himself, he could have delegated the job to a vice president. His excuse comes down to the claim that Riza wouldn't negotiate with anyone else except her boyfriend. Caving to her demand is textbook conflict of interest.

Riza knew she would get a better deal from Wolfowitz than she would with an impartial arbiter. That's why she raised hell until she got what she wanted from Wolfowitz.

A lot of the discussion of the Wolfowitz scandal seems impervious to the fact that Wolfowitz was running the whole show. His employees balked at negotiating with Riza. Instead of making his staff follow orders, Wolfowitz knuckled under to requests he knew to be illegitimate. Having done so, he proceeded to abuse the trust of his underlings by negotiating a salary and benefits package that violated Bank guidelines.

Wolfowitz admits that didn't tell the Ethics Committee or even the World Bank's lawyer about the details of Riza's raise. This secrecy undermines Wolfowitz's claim that he gave Riza the absurdly generous compensation package in good faith, unaware that his sweetheart deal gave Riza twice as big a raise as bank rules allowed.

In his defense, he claimed that he couldn't tell the EC because salary negotiations are confidential, and he couldn't tell the general counsel because the Bank's lawyer sat on the EC and this would be...wait for it... a conflict of interest.

Yet, Wolfowitz also maintains that he didn't intend to hide Riza's pay deal from the EC indefinitely.

Wolfowitz said it was not his intent to keep Riza's raise secret: He said he assumed the ethics committee and Danilo would ultimately review it. He said he was told by Xavier Coll, the bank's vice president for human resources, who negotiated with Riza, that her final "compensation package would be entered into the bank's personnel system and many people inside the bank would have access." [WaPo]

That's just insultingly illogical. If the EC was going to find out about Riza's raise anyway, what possible justification would Wolfowitz have for keeping the details of the package secret in the interim?  Wolfowitz expects us to believe that the Ethics Committee overseeing compensation isn't entitled to know the details of a compensation package ostensibly arranged to avoid conflict of interest.

Wolfowitz is a sniveling disgrace who lacks the leadership or the moral authority to run the World Bank. I hope the bank delivers a vote of no confidence.


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Two words: Im Possible!

How do I know? An unimpeachable source (no, not the one you're thinking of, but thanks for nothing anyhow, Nancy Pelosi):

NPR's "All Things Considered" — which just last week delivered to all of us, since obviously we lacked correct perspective on the matter, a "Commentary" by Dan Goure (one of NPR's regular go-to's) who More In Contempt Than Anything Else And Certainly Not In Sorrow told us clearly (not to mention condescendingly and at great length) that Wolfowitz was simply ... yes ...

Stabbed In The Back By The LIBERALS At The World Bank. Yep — Wolfie is guilty of being too nice and trusting Teh Liberalz.

Thanks, NPR...

With kind regards,
Dog, &c.
searching for home

The Ethics Committee shouldn't have said Shaha Riza had to be transferred in the first place.

It should have just told Wolfowitz to completely stay out of decisions involving her compensation, which she stayed in her job of the time.

Instead, the EC told Wolfowitz that she had to be transferred and that he had to get involved in her compensation.

If Wolfowitz had chosen a vice-president to get involved in her compensation (which is now what the EC retroactively wanted him to do though it doens't seem to have told him to do so at the time), that would have been a conflict, too.

completely off-topic: thank you for choosing my photo, I'm really flattered :)

regards from brazil


The Ethics Committee never said that Riza had to transfer out of the Bank. All they said was that Wolfowitz couldn't supervise his girlfriend. There are other offices within the Bank that aren't under the direct supervisory control of the president. Riza decided that she wanted that highly unusual transfer to State and she refused to negotiate with anyone but Wolfie. Wolfowitz could have refused and delegated the negotiation to a vice president, but instead he acquiesced and gave Riza what she wanted--even though it meant breaking Bank rules.

So, there's a major apparent conflict of interest in Wolfowitz hammering out the deal for his girlfriend. She got twice what the rules allowed. It's hard to believe that she wasn't the beneficiary of favoritism. What other employees can demand to negotiate only with their boyfriend the boss?

She shouldn't have had to change her job at all.

Why not?

The Bank rules are absolutely clear on that point. No one is allowed to supervise someone they're in a romantic relationship with. Wolfowitz and Raza don't deserve special treatment.

I disagree with that rule. As long as someone else decided if she should get a raise, it shouldn't have been a problem.

US Attorney General RFK was the brother of JFK, who had supervisory authority over him, but RFK still did a good job.

Shaha Riza was as capable of doing a good job at her previous job before Wolfowitz was appointed as afterwards.

Wolfowitz's conduct illustrates exactly why Riza should have been transferred with a compensation package engineered by someone other than her boyfriend.

Wolfowitz never should have given direction about how much Riza would be paid or what the terms of her future promotions might be.

Wolfowitz proved that he, like most mortals, isn't up to the task of supervising his lover in a dispassionate and fair manner.

The Wolfowitz case proves that supervisors in relationships should be told to completely recuse themselves from compensation decisions.

They shouldn't be told to get involved in compensation and then be attacked for getting too involved.

I am somehow reminded of the Seinfeld episode where Geroge, while with the Yankees, hire a very conservative looking secretary so he won't be attracted to her. Well, he's George, and he sleeps with her. Then he goes to Big Stein to get her a raise, only to find out his secretary makes more than him!! Classic!!

Oh wait, this is serious business...NO SOUP FOR YOU!!

US Attorney General RFK was the brother of JFK, who had supervisory authority over him, but RFK still did a good job.

When you say RFK did a good job, do you mean before or after he wiretapped MLK?

Alon Levy -

Are you saying that RFK was in control of the FBI?

As Attorney General, RFK did have control over the FBI.

RFK personally authorized the wiretap of MLK's phone:

In October 1963, Robert Kennedy had authorized a wiretap on King's home phone. It was barely six weeks after King had held the crowd on the Washington mall spellbound with his history-making speech.

Granted, RFK may have ordered the wiretap because he had been misled about King.

Eric J., if I were to hire you, I would expect:

That you do not duplicate your key to the building. That you not take company vehicles to shop for groceries. That you do not use company vehicles to transport unauthorized personnel or loads. That you take only what you need from the stationary closet for your job - you can get your own pens, staples, tape, for home use. That you not lift rolls of toilet paper from the can. That you do not use the shop tools for personal use and do not borrow them for home use. That you justify ALL purchases. That anyone you bring into the building sign the log book, without exception. That you get only what you need from the first-aid cabinets. That you use your assigned computer for work, not entertainment, and definitely not for personal profit. That you lock doors and windows. That you do not bring your dog when traveling on company time....

Get the idea? Jesus H. Christ.

Eric Jaffa is 100% totally right! How can you blame Wolfowitz? He's only the President of the World Bank, for Chrissakes. Everything Wolfowitz did was definitely somebody else's fault.

He knew before anybody at the bank he was gong to get this job. An ethical and responsible person would have walked into the bank with a solution.

When I interviewed for a job at my wife's employer, she and I discussed the implications of working for the same employer. Are we to believe these smart people, Wolfie and GF, did not discuss the implications of his new position. If they were unaware or ignorant of the ethical implictaions before he started working, it is no wonder they stumbled.

Also, what does she do?

Andrew Young was on MacNeil Lehrer last night's newshour, defending Wolfowitz. Basically attacking the World Bank as a bunch of bureacrats. I was amazed this democrat came on to do that. Young was with the Carter administration by the way.

Wolfie be toast. Noooooooo!

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