www.wolfowitzresign.com May 21, 2007

"Mission (Actually) Accomplished!" We are retiring. Good luck with the search for a successor.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

News Round Up, May 2, 2007

"Turning up the heat on World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz" - WSJ

Wall Street Journal World Bank Ex-Board Member Disputes Wolfowitz --- Ethics Panel's Role on Pay Package Is Source of Discord
New York Times Former World Bank Officials Detail Discord over Wolfowitz
Washington Post Editorial - The Price of 'We Know Best'
Washington Post - Wolfowitz's Story Disputed Ex-Official; Bank Board Kept in Dark, He Says
Financial Times - Former ethics chief disputes Wolfowitz claims

6 comments:

wolfowitzmustresign said...

The Wall Street Journal

Politics & Economics: World Bank Ex-Board Member Disputes Wolfowitz --- Ethics Panel's Role on Pay Package Is Source of Discord

Greg Hitt
2 May 2007

WASHINGTON -- Turning up the heat on World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz, a former bank board member disputed Mr. Wolfowitz's account of the role he had played in securing a compensation package for his girlfriend.

Ad Melkert had represented the Netherlands on the bank's 24-member board until late last year. He headed the board's ethics committee when Mr. Wolfowitz took over the poverty-fighting institution in June 2005.

Mr. Melkert was involved in efforts to resolve a potential conflict of interest arising from Mr. Wolfowitz's personal relationship with a longtime bank employee, Shaha Riza. But he said the ethics panel "was not consulted, nor did it approve," the compensation package given to Ms. Riza, according to a copy of remarks Mr. Melkert made yesterday to a bank investigative panel.

Mr. Melkert questioned Mr. Wolfowitz's initial proposal to recuse himself, which was limited and would have still allowed him to maintain "professional contact" with Ms. Riza. That was "contrary to what staff rules allowed for," said Mr. Melkert, who instead pushed for Ms. Riza to be relocated to a new position outside Mr. Wolfowitz's influence.

The ultimate result of that decision was Ms. Riza's transfer to the State Department. Mr. Melkert said he favored compensating Ms. Riza, because of the "career interruption." But he said the Ethics Committee never approved her pay package, and stressed Mr. Wolfowitz should have left details of her transfer to others. "It should have been self-evident that he should not" gotten so directly involved, Mr. Melkert said.

Mr. Wolfowitz has said it is "inconceivable" that the ethics committee didn't know details of the arrangements involving Ms. Riza. The differing views are at the heart of the controversy over Mr. Wolfowitz's two-year leadership of the bank. Mr. Wolfowitz has faced a chorus of calls for him to resign, amid concern among top bank executives and staffers that the controversy is damaging the bank's credibility.

Adding to the chorus, Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus, a Montana Democrat, yesterday suggested that Mr. Wolfowitz should consider stepping down. "It would be my hope that Wolfowitz finds that discretion is the better part of valor and finds a way to no longer be a part of the bank," Mr. Baucus told reporters.

The former deputy secretary of defense has signaled he won't consider stepping down, so long as allegations of misconduct hang over him. Indeed, last night, Mr. Wolfowitz was planning to fly to Brussels to attend an international conference on education, bank officials said.

The bank's board created the investigative panel to look into allegations of misconduct by Mr. Wolfowitz and has been debating for several days what, if any, action to take to resolve the controversy.

Late last night, the board issued a statement saying the investigative panel had completed its latest round of interviews, and would "expeditiously prepare" a report for the full board. The statement said the board is "committed to the earliest possible resolution of the matter," and a senior bank official said it appeared the board could issue a substantive declaration on Mr Wolfowitz by the end of the week.

The board has debated a range of disciplinary options. It has recently been exploring whether a face-saving compromise could be reached that would allow Mr. Wolfowitz to step down, while avoiding a harsh condemnation of his actions.

After Mr. Wolfowitz was named president, he had disclosed his personal relationship with Ms. Riza and proposed to recuse himself from personnel decisions involving her career. The ethics committee rejected the proposal in favor of an arrangement under which she was eventually detailed to work at the State Department.

In his appearance before the investigative panel, Mr. Melkert, now a top antipoverty official at the United Nations, said it would have been "perfectly appropriate" for Mr. Wolfowitz to delegate the details of the transfer to others. Instead, Mr. Wolfowitz eventually dictated the terms of Ms. Riza's employment, including a raise of more than $50,000, which eventually brought her salary to $193,590.

In a statement submitted to the investigating committee, the bank's former general counsel, Roberto Danino, said Mr. Wolfowitz "made serious, substantive errors" in his handling of the situation. Mr. Danino said the controversy has "badly hurt the morale of the staff, damaged the reputation of the bank, and eroded [Mr. Wolfowitz's] moral authority" to lead the institution.

Also yesterday, the board approved a new policy statement on health programs that reaffirmed the bank's commitment to family-planning programs, bank officials said. The decision came after the U.S. backed away from proposals that would have imposed limits on the programs, which include birth control and abortion services. A spat over the policy had heightened tensions within the board, and underscored how the controversy is spilling into the institution's day-to-day functioning.

Anonymous said...

They don't like him in Jakarta, either. But then again, they got a close enough look at him to never have. I've yet to meet anyone in Jakarta who liked him:

http://www.thejakartapost.com/detaileditorial.asp?fileid=20070503.E04&irec=3

Anonymous said...

Unpopular in Orlando, too:

http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/news_opinion_positionpage/2007/05/should_wolfowit.html

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