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The Wolfowitz saga: a guide to all the angles. (Update: comments).
Now that the media pack has turned on Wolfowitz, it’s open season. Much commentary – and the formal World Bank board process – are limited to the Shaha Riza pay deal. But we’ve now counted ten specific allegations on the World Bank president and some new conflict of interest claims that emerged today. Here is a guide summarizing the main angles with links to posts with more detail.
1) That Wolfowitz trampled Bank pay and staffing codes by awarding abnormal payrises to his romantic partner, Shaha Riza. To comply with ethics guidelines Riza had to leave the Bank once Wolfowitz took charge, but she was given pay rises to ‘compensate’ her for working at the State Department, and guaranteed automatic promotion for when she returns to the Bank. More details here and here.
2) That Wolfowitz was less than honest about his role in the pay affair, before admitting a mistake and saying he was sorry only last week. Details.
3) That the State Department-established job for which Shaha Riza is being paid more than Condoleeza Rice does not amount to much: the Foundation for the Future has yet to make a grant. Details.
4) That in less than two years of Wolfowitz’s tenure at the Bank over half of Bank senior managers have left – many either pressured by the president or unhappy with this style and direction. Details.
5) That senior management positions have been filled by appointees from governments who had supported the Bush administration in the run-up to the Iraq war. Details.
6) That Wolfowitz brought in two special advisers who had worked with the Bush administration, ensured they also were paid astronomical salaries and worked with a cabal of them and others rather than Bank staff or board members. Details.
7) That some of Wolfowitz’s senior management and/or senior staff appointees have been pushing a Republican Party line on family planning, including removing all mentions of reproductive health from certain Bank planning documents, including the Madagascar Country Assistance Strategy. Details.
8) That Wolfowitz has been continuing to promote the Bush administration's line on Iraq (see this) using his position at the Bank to accelerate the Bank’s re-engagement in Iraq, and has also brought his political views to bear when making other lending decisions). See Wolfowitz Watch commentary here and here.
9) That the World Bank’s internal machinery for dealing with ethics and internal corruption issues is not working properly and may have been populated with Wolfowitz cronies. Suzanne Rich Folsom, head of the Bank’s Institutional Integrity department may have been reluctant to investigate a Bank staff’s whistleblowing on the Riza issue because of her ties to Wolfowitz via her husband George Folsom, former president of the International Republican Institute. One of Suzanne Folsom’s hires in that department (supposed to probe corruption within the bank) was Allison Brigati, the daughter of former national chairman of the GOP, Frank Fahrenkopf. See the Village Voice expose.
10) Wolfowitz has repeatedly stressed tackling corruption as his key approach to development issues and the main reason he’s at the World Bank (see Wolfowitz's anti-corruption views and criticisms of them here and here. He has lost all credibility now that so many damaging revelations and allegations are circulating about him and can never be expected to be taken seriously when telling developing country governments about political or financial corruption.
Another one on which tantalising details - but not all - have emerged, is the question of on what basis Wolfowitz's partner Riza went to work in Iraq for a defence and intelligence contractor (see this story). Questions include whether Riza notified the Bank (which forbids its staff taking on politically sensitive assignments, and whether Wolfowitz might have had a hand in obtaining her the position (he was still at the Pentagon).
The deep problems with the World Bank’s top job selection process. At present the White House Chief of Staff draws up a shortlist which is presented to the US president who decides which American citizen should get the position and foists it on the Bank’s board. Not very impressive for an international organization with over 180 government members and a penchant for talking about good governance. See my comment piece of two years ago on this site.
Blowback for the Bush administration’s cavalier approach to multilateral institutions. Few have forgotten Wolfowitz’s presence in the administration when it was desperate to drum up votes in the UN Security Council before the Iraq War. Nor that many of the allegations and predictions on Iraq by Wolfowitz and others turned out not to be true. See this CNN story if you can't remember.
If any readers feel I’ve missed important angles, don’t hesitate to write. Contact@worldbankpresident.org [And for those correspondents fretting that the e-mail is not working: it is, we’re just snowed under].
Tomorrow morning I’ll post a round-up of the political intelligence we’re receiving with latest positions of different governments. If you have tips on that, you know where to send them.
I hooked you up with a link here:
And there is also some interesting Inside the Beltway News/gossip in the same post you might like.
Why don't these guys understand conflict of interest? I don't know, but it goes back at least to the year 2000, when Wolfowitz's patron Dick Cheney headed up the vice-presdiential search committee and selected......Dick Cheney. They are clueless about this issue, but still think they can lecture developing countries about it.
Another World Bank staff member (name and address supplied).
Alex Wilks ~ April 17, 2007
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