Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Spring Fund Drive: Keep CounterPunch Afloat
CounterPunch is a lifeboat of sanity in today’s turbulent political seas. Please make a tax-deductible donation and help us continue to fight Trump and his enablers on both sides of the aisle. Every dollar counts!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

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

 

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

 

More articles by:

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

May 23, 2018
Nick Pemberton
Maduro’s Win: A Bright Spot in Dark Times
Ben Debney
A Faustian Bargain with the Climate Crisis
Deepak Tripathi
A Bloody Hot Summer in Gaza: Parallels With Sharpeville, Soweto and Jallianwala Bagh
Farhang Jahanpour
Pompeo’s Outrageous Speech on Iran
Josh White
Strange Recollections of Old Labour
CJ Hopkins
The Simulation of Democracy
Lawrence Davidson
In Our Age of State Crimes
Dave Lindorff
The Trump White House is a Chaotic Clown Car Filled with Bozos Who Think They’re Brilliant
Russell Mokhiber
The Corporate Domination of West Virginia
Ty Salandy
The British Royal Wedding, Empire and Colonialism
Laura Flanders
Life or Death to the FCC?
Gary Leupp
Dawn of an Era of Mutual Indignation?
Katalina Khoury
The Notion of Patriarchal White Supremacy Vs. Womanhood
Nicole Rosmarino
The Grassroots Environmental Activist of the Year: Christine Canaly
Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin
“Michael Inside:” The Prison System in Ireland 
May 22, 2018
Stanley L. Cohen
Broken Dreams and Lost Lives: Israel, Gaza and the Hamas Card
Kathy Kelly
Scourging Yemen
Andrew Levine
November’s “Revolution” Will Not Be Televised
Ted Rall
#MeToo is a Cultural Workaround to a Legal Failure
Gary Leupp
Question for Discussion: Is Russia an Adversary Nation?
Binoy Kampmark
Unsettling the Summits: John Bolton’s Libya Solution
Doug Johnson
As Andrea Horwath Surges, Undecided Voters Threaten to Upend Doug Ford’s Hopes in Canada’s Most Populated Province
Kenneth Surin
Malaysia’s Surprising Election Results
Dana Cook
Canada’s ‘Superwoman’: Margot Kidder
Dean Baker
The Trade Deficit With China: Up Sharply, for Those Who Care
John Feffer
Playing Trump for Peace How the Korean Peninsula Could Become a Bright Spot in a World Gone Mad
Peter Gelderloos
Decades in Prison for Protesting Trump?
Thomas Knapp
Yes, Virginia, There is a Deep State
Andrew Stewart
What the Providence Teachers’ Union Needs for a Win
Jimmy Centeno
Mexico’s First Presidential Debate: All against One
May 21, 2018
Ron Jacobs
Gina Haspell: She’s Certainly Qualified for the Job
Uri Avnery
The Day of Shame
Amitai Ben-Abba
Israel’s New Ideology of Genocide
Patrick Cockburn
Israel is at the Height of Its Power, But the Palestinians are Still There
Frank Stricker
Can We Finally Stop Worrying About Unemployment?
Binoy Kampmark
Royal Wedding Madness
Roy Morrison
Middle East War Clouds Gather
Edward Curtin
Gina Haspel and Pinocchio From Rome
Juana Carrasco Martin
The United States is a Country Addicted to Violence
Dean Baker
Wealth Inequality: It’s Not Clear What It Means
Robert Dodge
At the Brink of Nuclear War, Who Will Lead?
Vern Loomis
If I’m Lying, I’m Dying
Valerie Reynoso
How LBJ initiated the Military Coup in the Dominican Republic
Weekend Edition
May 18, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
The Donald, Vlad, and Bibi
Robert Fisk
How Long Will We Pretend Palestinians Aren’t People?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail