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May 01, 2007

Wolfowitz plays the victim

Embattled World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz is going on the offensive. He is now complaining of a "smear campaign" against him.

Disgracefully, journalists are repeating these claims as if they were credible.

We know that Wolfowitz lied about helping to get his girlfriend a raise and he has already apologized for his behavior:

Mr Wolfowitz apologised at a morning news conference and at the atrium meeting after the staff association disclosed that it had found a dated memorandum from Mr Wolfowitz to a vice-president for human resources at the bank, apparently instructing him to agree to the terms of a raise and reassignment for Ms Riza. The transfer and a subsequent raise eventually took her to a pay of $US193,590 ($A234,360) from $US132,660, tax-free because of her status as a diplomat, and exceeding even the salaries of cabinet members.

"In hindsight, I wish I had trusted my original instincts and kept myself out of the negotiations," Mr Wolfowitz said. "I made a mistake, for which I am sorry," he added, pleading for "some understanding" of the "painful personal dilemma" he faced when he left the Pentagon to become bank president.

Mr Wolfowitz said he had been seeking to avoid a conflict of interest by having Ms Riza, with whom he had a personal relationship, transferred away from his supervision.

What drove the anger at the bank was not that Mr Wolfowitz had denied earlier that he had sought Ms Riza's transfer, but that he had been less than fully candid in discussing it until documents surfaced showing his direct role. [The Age]

Wolfie is now claiming that he acted in good faith. Was it a good faith lie, too?

Wolfowitz is now trying to deflect attention from his nepotism by attacking various World Bank officials who may or may not have approved Riza's massive tax-free raise and transfer to the State Department.

Wolfowitz is hoping that the public will lose sight of the core issue: The guy who's supposed to be fighting corruption at the World Bank personally intervened to get his girlfriend a lavish raise and lied about it.

Wolfowitz now claims that he only intervened in the salary negotiations after ethics advisers gave him the go-ahead. Those advisers say they never authorized Wolfowitz to give his girlfriend such a large raise. Wolfie ordered HR to approve double the maximum raise allowed by the bank!

Now, he has the never to blame his employees for approving the package he asked for.

Have the press lost sight of the fundamental conflict of interest here? The President of the World Bank should not dictate the terms of a compensation package for the woman he's schtupping. It's not complicated.

Allegedly, the girlfriend was transferred to the State Department to avoid a conflict of interest. If Wolfowitz felt he couldn't ethically supervise his girlfriend at the bank, what justification did he have for negotiating her compensation at the State Department? 

Wolfowitz's credibility is shot and he needs to resign.


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"Wolfowitz's credibility is shot and he needs to resign."
The above comment puts him in the same category is every member of the current administration. Damn few of them flocking to the exits either (although the door is a bit busier lately).

Perhaps the Iraqi's hung the wrong group of men?

Sorry, Wolfie, I've invested all my tender emotions this week into mourning for George Tenet's lost reputation.

It's worn out to say that : man, he's got balls.
That's an obscene amt. of money for a blow-job. So, my problem is his lack of integrity as well as his not so finely tuned idea of what a good market value is. Wait, I thought he was a banker?!?!?
Maybe the Republicans can impeach him?

now voxpop, you know it wasn't just a blowjob, or even just the schtupping. (Kudos to Lindsay for using a word that needs to be in print more often) For all we know, it could be lovelovelove. She does seem like an impressive woman--speaks a million languages, etc.

At the very least Wolfowitz was motivated the hope of returned favors in the diplomatic world. That's how cronyism works, after all.

There is something a little sexist about assuming a favor done for a female companion is done just for the blowjobs.

The hidden sentence: "he [Wolfe] also hinted that he would discuss whether to resign as bank president if the board cleared him of misconduct." So which comes first, the resignation or the exoneration? Not fair, I saw you cheat.

"...[H]e had been less than fully candid". I like that. There must be a million ways to euphemize "He's a lying motherfucker."

Jesus Christ. For what would have gotten almost anyone else fired on the spot, this asshole still gets to hang on, at least for now. Can someone please tell me with a straight face that the rich and powerful DON'T have their own set of rules that don't apply to the rest of us peons? Duke Cunningham and Jack Abramoff are the exceptions, NOT the rule.

Wolfowitz being a scum aside, let's think about the world bank for a minute. This is one of the most oft maligned, distrusted, anti-democratic and outright powerful organizations in the world. Arguably, it has caused as much harm as it has ever prevented or alleviated and it was run for thirteen years by Robert Fucking McNamara.

Are we at all surprised?

The question a week ago was more damning than whether there was out and out nepotism in getting a wad of company money for his girl friend: It was "how was she granted a secret clearance in a thrice"? Yes, Wolfie has the clout with Bush but that does not change the laws about background checks...we have a breach of process here that leaves us with totally inadequate assurnance that the woman is not a spy. Dig around folks: someone somewhere in the back offices of a security agency was overridden. [and her proficiency at languages may be a virtue to an international banker but it is also a great job skill in spying] I am not saying she is a spy, its trouble enough that nobody can say she isn't. Sex and money did in a few congressmen last year when no amount of incompetance in intelligence, spying on citizens, torturing people, or, (yet) firing attorneys for political reasons cost the bums a days wages. Should I be glad Wolfie is finally on the carpet for a sin the republicans can recognize when they have stepped in a pile of it? I am going to be unhappy if a democratic congress hasn't got the power to vote no confidence and no money to a world bank run by a whoring, warring SOB. When is our next tithe to the world bank due? Cancel it if Bush won't call the bum back.

And, speaking of incompetence, isn't Wolfie another fine specimen of Bush's ability to pick the best person for the job?

god, these people anger me.

It's clear that at this point Wolfie is working behind the scenes to manage the best exit he can. I sincerely hope he ends up in court.

You are right, rob helpy-chalk. I almost backstroked on that ... because to tell the truth she is NOT unimpressive. But I could have taken the high road.
I'm sure it's all about the other stuff .... hehe.

Well, unless those raises disappear? time will tell. They should both be ashamed/etc... for ... aiding and abetting.

Wolfie is not the person who makes compensation decisions as the head of the WB... He obviously was throwing his weight around... and if he didn't know that he was doing something outside his job description he doesn't deserve to run tthe WB from the top.

He's repulsive and he' a liar... and he is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent people.. just snuffed out for his dumb ideas and lust for power.

That he gets his girlfriend a goldmine sinecure is understandable, she probably needs it to surmount queasiness over the saliva thing. I know I would.

Rob Helpy-Chalk ... if $200K a year tax-free is what you call "a favor" then, hey, do a Dog a favor, wouldya, friend?

Thanks in advance.

Wolfowitz's credibility is shot and he needs to resign.

Did Wolfie have credibility to shoot? I think not! The idea that he was going to clean up corruption at the World Bank was always risible - he was fresh from presiding over probably the greatest corruption-fest the world has ever seen. Unless by "corruption" you mean "the vaguest possibility that the World Bank might ever be anything other than an implement of US imperialism"...

Dog: I didn't say he wasn't corrupt. He is. I just didn't like the sexist undertone to the original comment.

Isn't the world bank one of those icky multilateral institutions the neocons would prefer to sabotage unless they're fully "on board" with the PNAC plan?

Wolfowitz being a scum aside...

Paul Wolfowitz is not scum.

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