who will be next World Bank President What will they do


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.

10 counts and you should be out.
Since we revived this blog last Thursday we have been scouring the internet, and receiving regular tips from people inside and around the World Bank. Most commentators have focused on Wolfowitz’s role in deciding the pay of his partner. One well-placed Bank staff member told me yesterday that this was just the “tip of the iceberg”. Many more allegations have come to light and more are emerging daily. The counts against Wolfowitz and the Wolfowitz Bank now amount to ten.

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.

10 is a nice round number but it seems that it may not stay that way. A breaking story is a further potential conflict of interest of the law firm which first represented Wolfowitz and is now representing the Bank in conducting an investigation. See Government Accountability Project for details.

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).

General issues
As well as these ten points the affair does raise some more general policy and political issues.

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.

Glad to see you're blogging on the World Bank again! Well, Alex, you didn't cover all the angles LOL:
Aboard the Black Pearl with Paul Wolfowitz



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.



I don't think you've quite got the #2 and #3 stories in all of this. The #1 of course is resolving the potential conflict-of-interest-with-girlfriend problem by committing an egregious violation of conflict of interest.

#2 is Riza's work for SAIC. The problem is not that she was involved in politically sensitive work, but rather that - as all Bank employees know - we are not allowed to be compensated by anyone but the Bank for any work we do, including giving speeches. It appears that Wolfowitz probably set up that consulting job for Riza, although he was not yet at the Bank and probably did not know she would be committing a violation of Bank conflict of interest rules. (She surely knew.)

#3 is the Post's article by Karen DeYoung the other day, alleging Wolfowitz demanded when he came to the Bank that his contract exempt him from those Bank conflict of interest rules, so he could be compensated for speeches and books.

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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