Rules don’t apply to Wolfowitz Cronies, either–Ana Palacio

World Bank General Counsel has broken a staff rule prohibiting staff from political interference in member countries. Along with other former EU foreign ministers, she signed a letter to the International Herald Tribune on May 16 “To the Turkish people from their European friends”

In it, she argues

“Large demonstrations, challenges of political decisions in courts and political campaigns are all acceptable tactics in democratic politics. We understand those who are concerned about the concentration of power, but this should not be taken as an excuse for the military to limit democratic government.”

Fair enough, but she is a former foreign minister and, as General Counsel of the World Bank Group, she is not Citizen Palacio. Why would she even think she could sign it as a very senior Bank official, no matter how she is identified?

Turkey is a major client of the World Bank, having borrowed $1.6 billion in FY06.

Since when is it acceptable for senior Bank officials — no, any Bank official — to take part in a political matter involving member states?

This is up to the Ethics Committee of the Board to take up, if departing President Paul Wolfowitz and HR won’t do anything. Of course Paul Wolfowitz may be trying to slip his cronies into nice jobs–in Ana’s case, outside the Bank as the former General Counsel if the Bank’s rules on political activity have any force at all. Is Pee-Wee going to play a role in other personnel decisons: his comment in his “I’m here but I’m gone” letter about the Country Director jobs being mostly done doesn’t exclude that posssibility.

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