FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The "Vetting" of Bernard Kerik and the Culture of Corruption

by MICHAEL DONNELLY

 

I blew it. I recently wrote a CounterPunch piece on Hypocrisy and how it seems to have permeated every aspect of American life here in what Alexander Cockburn calls, “a very interesting time in the life of the Empire.”

I noted the strange “Ethics Refresher Course” that some 3000 White House employees were recently put through. I noted that White House ethics layer Richard Painter was in charge of the curriculum. All good, so far.

But, I was dead wrong in also claiming that it was Painter who “vetted Bernard Kerik” to succeed Tom Ridge at the Cabinet-level top position in the Department of Homeland Security. In actuality, the Kerik fiasco came about before Painter took the job. After being tipped off to my error by an astute reader (and after kicking myself for getting it wrong), I asked CP co-editor Jeffery St. Clair to take down the article from the website (which he did) and informed him that I would like to do this correction. (If not, the irony of my own hypocrisy would be more than I could take.)

 

Who Done It?

Of course, I also went back over the issue and have tried mightily to find out just who DID vet Kerik. I honestly cannot figure it out. It wasn’t Painter’s predecessor Nanette Everson and it doesn’t seem to have been then-White House counsel and current Attorney General Roberto Gonzales.

I’ll continue to dig; but at this time, it appears to me that no one vetted Kerik. It seems that George W. Bush just took Rudolph (Rudy) Giuliani’s word on the former New York Police Commissioner and then-CEO of Giuliani-Kerik LLC and it went forward from there, complete with Bush’s usual gushing endorsement to the press: “I’m proud to announce my nomination of Commissioner Bernard Kerik as the Secretary of Homeland Security. In every position, he has demonstrated a deep commitment to justice, a heart for the innocent and a record of great success.”

James Hamilton, who vetted nominees for Clinton when he was first elected, said about Kerik’s failed nomination; “In any good vet, tax matters, marital matters, business matters are explored in great detail.” However, I can see how this could occur: “Hey, he’s a tough cop. He was indispensable on 9/11. He’s a loyal Republican”

Naturally, the Democrats were in collusion. Both of New York’s two Democratic senators, Charles E. Schumer and Hillary Rodham Clinton issued statements praising Kerik after the nomination was announced. Even after it blew up, Schumer defended his Big Apple-centric position, “I thought the No. 1 issue was to be a fighter for New York. Period. That’s why I supported him.”

Clinton bleated out her now customary excuse about being misled.
A Culture of Corruption

Of course, Kerik’s (and by extension, Giuliani’s) woes are far from over. Potential tax problems regarding his Mexican nanny were the justification for his withdrawal from the nomination for the Homeland Security position. But, as I noted, that was the least of his problems which include an outstanding arrest warrant at the time of nomination; charges of insider trading (in which he pocketed $6.2 million on his sale of Taser stock which he received for merely serving on the Taser board); extramarital shenanigans; violations of ethics rules covering gifts; etc.

Now, it has come out that Kerik has been accused by New Jersey’s Division of Gaming Enforcement of accepting over $200,000 in renovations from a contracting company with alleged mob ties. The contractor, Interstate Industrial Corporation also gave Kerik’s brother, Donald, an $85,000 per year job at the same time that Bernard Kerik was using his influence on behalf of Interstate. During the New Jersey agency’s investigation, Kerik took the Fifth eight times and refused to answer questions or to produce documents related to his ties with Interstate.

Both the Bronx district attorney and New York’s Department of Investigation are examining Kerik’s connections to the contractor. First item of business? Find out if Giuliani knew any of this, which took place when Kerik was Correction Commissioner in the 1990’s, at the time Giuliani appointed Kerik as Police Commissioner in 2000.

 

The Security “Watchdog”

As to Kerik these days; for the past six months he’s been serving as security consultant to the Jordanian government. Yep. The guy Giuliani praised as “one of the most capable law enforcement experts in the country” not only was New York’s top cop when 9/11 went down; it was also on his watch that the Jordanian capital Amman was bombed November 9, 2005.

With a Homeland Security “record of great success” like this, no wonder no one’s fingerprints show up on any ethics investigation into Bush’s proud nomination.

MICHAEL DONNELLY regrets having placed Richard Painter in the midst of this debacle and wishes Painter success in countering the “culture of corruption” that permeates DC. He will still — very carefully — record examples of Hypocrisy. He can be reached at pahtoo@aol.com

 

MICHAEL DONNELLY has been an environmental activist since before that first Earth Day. He was in the thick of the Pacific Northwest Ancient Forest Campaign; garnering some collective victories and lamenting numerous defeats. He can be reached at pahtoo@aol.com

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
May 27, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
Silencing America as It Prepares for War
Rob Urie
By the Numbers: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are Fringe Candidates
Paul Street
Feel the Hate
Daniel Raventós - Julie Wark
Basic Income Gathers Steam Across Europe
Andrew Levine
Hillary’s Gun Gambit
Jeffrey St. Clair
Hand Jobs: Heidegger, Hitler and Trump
S. Brian Willson
Remembering All the Deaths From All of Our Wars
Dave Lindorff
With Clinton’s Nixonian Email Scandal Deepening, Sanders Must Demand Answers
Pete Dolack
Millions for the Boss, Cuts for You!
Gunnar Westberg
Close Calls: We Were Much Closer to Nuclear Annihilation Than We Ever Knew
Peter Lee
To Hell and Back: Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Karl Grossman
Long Island as a Nuclear Park
Binoy Kampmark
Sweden’s Assange Problem: The District Court Ruling
Robert Fisk
Why the US Dropped Its Demand That Assad Must Go
Martha Rosenberg – Ronnie Cummins
Bayer and Monsanto: a Marriage Made in Hell
Brian Cloughley
Pivoting to War
Stavros Mavroudeas
Blatant Hypocrisy: the Latest Late-Night Bailout of Greece
Arun Gupta
A War of All Against All
Dan Kovalik
NPR, Yemen & the Downplaying of U.S. War Crimes
Randy Blazak
Thugs, Bullies, and Donald J. Trump: The Perils of Wounded Masculinity
Murray Dobbin
Are We Witnessing the Beginning of the End of Globalization?
Daniel Falcone
Urban Injustice: How Ghettos Happen, an Interview with David Hilfiker
Gloria Jimenez
In Honduras, USAID Was in Bed with Berta Cáceres’ Accused Killers
Kent Paterson
The Old Braceros Fight On
Lawrence Reichard
The Seemingly Endless Indignities of Air Travel: Report from the Losing Side of Class Warfare
Peter Berllios
Bernie and Utopia
Stan Cox – Paul Cox
Indonesia’s Unnatural Mud Disaster Turns Ten
Linda Pentz Gunter
Obama in Hiroshima: Time to Say “Sorry” and “Ban the Bomb”
George Souvlis
How the West Came to Rule: an Interview with Alexander Anievas
Julian Vigo
The Government and Your i-Phone: the Latest Threat to Privacy
Stratos Ramoglou
Why the Greek Economic Crisis Won’t be Ending Anytime Soon
David Price
The 2016 Tour of California: Notes on a Big Pharma Bike Race
Dmitry Mickiewicz
Barbarous Deforestation in Western Ukraine
Rev. William Alberts
The United Methodist Church Up to Its Old Trick: Kicking the Can of Real Inclusion Down the Road
Patrick Bond
Imperialism’s Junior Partners
Mark Hand
The Trouble with Fracking Fiction
Priti Gulati Cox
Broken Green: Two Years of Modi
Marc Levy
Sitrep: Hometown Unwelcomes Vietnam Vets
Lorenzo Raymond
Why Nonviolent Civil Resistance Doesn’t Work (Unless You Have Lots of Bombs)
Ed Kemmick
New Book Full of Amazing Montana Women
Michael Dickinson
Bye Bye Legal High in Backwards Britain
Missy Comley Beattie
Wanted: Daddy or Mommy in Chief
Ed Meek
The Republic of Fear
Charles R. Larson
Russian Women, Then and Now
David Yearsley
Elgar’s Hegemony: the Pomp of Empire
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail