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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

And speaking of Rudy Giuliani and corruption....
Posted by Jill | 7:22 AM
I guess it took a sex scandal for the media to take a look at the more unsavory aspects of Saint Rudy of 9/11's business dealings. This month's Vanity Fair has a fairly comprehensive compendium of them:
In the businesses that Giuliani built and bought these last six years, more deals have yet to be examined, more dots connected in the picture of his great financial success. But enough are there already, with lines between them, for a shape to have clearly emerged. It’s a picture of a politician leading a parade, as Mayor Giuliani so often did. Only the marchers behind him aren’t drum majorettes or wartime veterans or firefighters or police. They’re a ragtag band of Texas lawyers and energy lobbyists, penny-stock sharpies and security-industry entrepreneurs, agog with visions of the ultimate pay-to-play presidency.

But more importantly, the Qatar Qonnection (sic) has finally hit the major media, via Newsweek:
When Giuliani signed the contract with Qatar, he was acting as an international businessman—a role drawing increased scrutiny as he runs for president. After leaving office as New York mayor in 2002, Giuliani and close associates formed Giuliani Partners, a privately owned management-consulting firm that has proven lucrative: Giuliani earned $4.1 million from his firm between January 2006 and May of this year. He has insisted his business dealings are "totally legal, totally ethical." But he has never disclosed all of his clients, raising inevitable questions about financial ties that face all presidential candidates. Some campaign-finance experts say Giuliani's current posture—maintaining a major interest in a privately held international firm while seeking the presidency—is potentially unprecedented. "I can't think of another situation like this," says Kenneth Gross, a Washington lawyer who specializes in campaign finance and ethical issues (and who is not affiliated with a campaign).

So far, most attention has swirled around the Qatar contract. Although the country is now viewed by the White House as a strong ally in the War on Terror, that was not always the case. In 1996, FBI agents tried to arrest a top terror suspect, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (later mastermind of the 9/11 attacks) who at the time was being employed by the Qatari Water Department. But the bureau's plans fell apart when he suddenly fled; FBI agents were convinced that a member of the royal family tipped him off. The contract between Giuliani Security, a division of Giuliani Partners, and Qatar "is a huge conflict of interest," says Bob Baer, a former CIA officer who tracked Mohammed. "He is metaphorically taking money from the same accounts that paid KSM." Giuliani Security officials involved in the Qatari business say the minister suspected of protecting Mohammed no longer has an active role in running the country.

And yesterday's New York Times revealed how he lobbied for a bill that even the Bush Administration regarded as a threat to antiterrorism efforts.

Given how intransigent Giuliani wants people to believe he is about anything even remotely connected with terrorism, his willingness to overlook even past terrorist connections -- or buy the Qatari royal family's assurance that its members no longer support terrorists -- indicates that his "tough on terrorism" wide stance becomes highly fungible when there's money finding its way into his pocket.

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