Monday, April 23, 2007

# Posted 8:29 AM by Ariel David Adesnik  

THE POST DEFENDS WOLFOWITZ: It's certainly a bit surprising to see the WaPo being more charitable on this point than OxBlog. Here's the argument from the Post:
The allegations against Mr. Wolfowitz, which have angered many bank employees, are by now familiar. After arriving at the bank in the summer of 2005, he arranged a generous employment package for his companion, Shaha Riza, then a senior communications officer at the bank with expertise in Middle East affairs. These terms mandated a salary increase from $132,660 to $193,590, assigned her to a job outside the bank and laid out a path to further promotion and raises. This has been characterized as an underhanded deal that undermines Mr. Wolfowitz's campaign against corruption in poor countries applying for World Bank aid.

Unfortunately, that thumbnail sketch omits some highly relevant facts. It was Mr. Wolfowitz who, before taking over at the bank, called the potential conflict of interest to the attention of the bank's ethics committee. He asked to be recused from any personnel decisions involving Ms. Riza. The committee agreed that a conflict existed, but it said that could probably be solved only by Ms. Riza leaving the bank, either permanently or on loan to another agency. The committee also told Mr. Wolfowitz that, if she chose to go elsewhere, Ms. Riza should be given a raise because she already had been short-listed for a promotion. So when Mr. Wolfowitz dictated her new terms of employment he was responding in part to the committee's instructions. Further raises were intended to be equal to what she might have earned had she stayed at the bank, responding to the committee's advice that she receive "compensation to offset negative career impact" from her reassignment.

Was the package nonetheless too generous, even by cushy World Bank standards? The executive directors should answer that question. But there's a relevant fact here, too. The ethics panel reviewed the situation again a half-year later, in February 2006, after receiving an anonymous complaint from a bank employee precisely on the issue of excessive pay. Once again it found, "on the basis of a careful review," that the allegations "do not appear to pose ethical issues appropriate for further consideration by the Committee."
That's a pretty solid argument. The Post goes on to say that Wolfowitz exhibited "poor judgment", but the weight of their argument is on his side.

For my part, I'm still a bit puzzled as to why Wolfowitz made such misleading statements about his role in deciding on Reza's compensation package. But given that the Bank's own ethics panel conducted an internal review in February 2006 and gave Wolfowtiz a clean bill of health, it's hard to say that his actions are grounds for dismissial.

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(11) opinions -- Add your opinion

I wish the media would spend as much time investigating Congressional SO's lobbying (coughMrs.Daschlecough) involvement as they have Mr. Wolfowitz. I don't mean to defend Wolfowitz here, I just wish the media was more even handed in it's "policing."
In 2004, a woman at the Word Bank filed a sexual harassment claim against a senior HR official at the World Bank. In May 2006, the senior HR official lost his job for his sexual harassment toward her but she also lost her job because she worked in the same division him and her contract was not renewed (he was well-liked within the division and had been there several years to her less than one year).

She has been well-respected in the international development field for +15 years, is the author of several books that are published around the world, now heads a global organization and even the World Bank published research she conducted while there, but she still lost her job and was provided no opportunity for redress, mediation or settlement.

It was proven in the investigation that the senior HR official maligned her reputation and told several within the HR Vice Presidency that this woman filed a case against him. Thus, is there any wonder after applying for over 50 positions at the World Bank, she short-listed for none of them? She sought redress through the World Bank but was denied the opportunity to mediate or negotiate a settlement. Further, she was told that her filing of an Appeal was "untimely" (a bureaucratic loophole) and thus her right to seek redress has been denied to her. When attempting to discuss the matter with senior Wolfowitz appointees, she is simply referred to another managing unit with ultimately no response.

To add insult to injury, a senior official within the Conflict Resolution System is now under investigation (at the behest of a Wolfowitz appointee) for her role in attempting to seek redress for this woman.
Jonathan, it seems that yours is a convenient equivocation.

What is wrong with lobbying? How is Mrs. Daschle's lobbying different from say, Elizabeth Dole's when she was a lobbyist? Paul Wolfowitz has done many wrong things in addition to violating World Bank rules and it does follow a pattern of personal albeit somewhat minor corruption. Has Mrs. Daschle done anything wrong? If so, what?

Fellow anon, this is interesting but do you have a link to an article or is this internal WB stuff?
Intrestingly, there is a fairly charitable article on Wolfowitz in the NY Times as well: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/24/washington/24wolfowitz.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

Whether ethical or not, it is unfortunate that this type of corruption occurs within an organization that is attempting assist in the development of nations. While the World Bank is far from upstanding in their policies, there needs to be more effort in assisting in the growth of undeveloped countries if the issues that face the world today are to be addressed: global poverty, disease, global warming etc. These issues can all be easily solved. According to the Borgen Project, $19 billion annually can end starvation (the US has a $522 billion military budget).

I would like to see a World Bank leader who has a firm commitment to global improvement rather than someone who acts on a politcal obedience that is the antithesis of what the World Bank should stand for. Poverty is one of the biggest issues facing the world today, having its hand in terror, genocide and disease. I hope that one day the World Bank will be able to live up to the demands of the UN Millennium Development Goals.
Important to note that Poverty is caused by terrorism and genocide, rather than Poverty causing terrorism and genocide, not to mention Poverty being caused by Government corruption. Corporate corruption is less of a problem as the market acts more rapidly to punish (see Enron).
Hey euni84! Did you see OxBlog's special open thread devoted to global poverty and the Borgen Project?

We keep hearing that $19 billion can solve world poverty and we want to know more about it.
Ethical corruption? I'll need to have that one explained to me.
I am defending Wolfowitz, he seems to be another in the long line of enemies of the press. They are moving to get this man no matter what itt takes. It is a shock that the coverage is always so one sided and the public lacks the time or will tof ind out more.
Ripples from the stone in the pond. Wolfie got his squeeze a 50K bump for going to a sinecure. My wife saw this egregious nonsense and wants a samo samo bite of the apple. She has, however, agreed to stay.
Not much to discuss - Wolfowitz is a pathological liar ..

World Bank ethics panel contradicts Wolfowitz

WASHINGTON --The World Bank's ethics committee wasn't consulted and didn't approve of a hefty compensation package for the girlfriend of bank president Paul Wolfowitz, says the man who was the panel's chairman at the time.

Ad Melkert made his comments yesterday to a special bank panel looking into Wolfowitz's handling of the 2005 promotion and pay package of bank employee Shaha Riza.

Melkert, who was ethics chief when the arrangement was made but now works at the United Nations, said he rejects "any direct or indirect allegation or suggestion that the ethics committee was aware or should have been aware of the terms and conditions of Ms. Riza's contract."

One day earlier, Wolfowitz told the panel the bank's ethics committee had access to all the details surrounding the arrangement involving Riza "if they wanted it."

Melkert said the committee was not consulted and did not approve details of Riza's compensation package, including "the large initial pay increase, the stipulation for subsequent annual increases and the stipulations for subsequent promotions."

The panel is still considering the case, which has prompted calls for Wolfowitz's resignation.
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