Friday, May 18, 2007

Another NeoCon crony out

Paul Wolfowitz has quit as President of the World Bank. I guess he finally got the message that it was either that or be fired for violating the bank's rules in awarding a pay rise to his partner.


Well, I/S, you might want to have a look at this take from Slate - hardly a newsletter for the 'NeoCon crony' community.

The document that appears below and on the following seven pages is from Wolfowitz's 25-page response to an ad-hoc investigating committee's findings that Wolfowitz broke the bank's rules.

It goes without saying that when the boss decides the pay package for his inamorata, his private interests must wrestle with those of the organization. If such a situation doesn't represent a conflict of interest, then the phrase has no meaning. But did Wolfowitz violate bank rules? Wolfowitz maintains, quite rightly, that the whole ungodly mess came about because the bank's ethics committee wouldn't accept his request to: 1) allow Riza to stay at the World Bank after he became president; and 2) resolve the conflict by recusing him from all decisions affecting the terms of her employment. Not good enough, the ethics committee said. The rules dictated that Riza had to be relocated elsewhere.

Wolfowitz's disagreement with the bank turns on what happened next, and specifically on how one interprets the word instruct. The ethics committee chairman, Ad Melkert, told Wolfowitz to "instruct" the vice president of human resources, Xavier Coll, to work out the details of Riza's relocation. The bank maintains that this meant Wolfowitz should turn the whole matter over to Coll and be done with it. Wolfowitz maintains that this meant Coll should follow his, Wolfowitz's, instructions. Otherwise, Wolfowitz argues, Melkert would have used the word delegate. (See Page 3.) Wolfowitz also stresses that "Ms. Riza did not get every term and condition that she wanted," just in case you were in doubt about who wears the pants in the Wolfowitz household. (See Page 5.) Continuing this theme, Wolfowitz says the real reason the ethics committee was unwilling to work out the details itself was that

"its members did not want to deal directly with a very angry Ms. Riza. ... It would only be human nature for them to want to steer clear of her, and Mr. Melkert no doubt felt that, due to my personal relationship with Ms. Riza, I was in the best position to persuade her. ..."

Another point of contention is whether Wolfowitz made a secret of his agreement with Ms. Riza once it was reached. Wolfowitz is somewhat contradictory on this point. On the one hand, "I never told anyone to hide the final agreement ... from the Ethics committee or others with legitimate oversight responsibilities." On the other, "I did take steps to ensure that the negotiations were confidential ... [and] to try to stem leaks to the press." (See Page 6.)

Call I can say is that that everyone concerned in this fuckup-a-palooza should be thankful the World Bank is not based in New Zealand, and subject to New Zealand employment law.

Posted by Craig Ranapia : 5/18/2007 05:29:00 PM

Wolfowitz showed poor judgment but not as poor as the Bank's directors, who get to keep their jobs. It's a case of an institution resisting necessary change.

I've noticed that a lot of the left wing discourse on this conveniently leaves out the fact that Riza's pay rise was compensation for having her career at the Bank interrupted. How quickly the niceties of employment relations get sacrificed on the alter of grinding political axes.

Posted by Anonymous : 5/18/2007 06:43:00 PM

n? Rumsfeld to replace him?

Posted by Anonymous : 5/19/2007 07:39:00 AM

Personally I couldn't care less about debating the rights and wrongs of the case.. I'm enjoying an excellent schadenfreude moment for a scheming, lying tosspot.

Now for Gonzales..

Posted by Anonymous : 5/20/2007 05:21:00 PM