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

 

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

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
June 23, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Democrats in the Dead Zone
Gary Leupp
Trump, Qatar and the Danger of Total Confusion
Andrew Levine
The “Democracies” We Deserve
Jeffrey St. Clair - Joshua Frank
The FBI’s “Operation Backfire” and the Case of Briana Waters
Rob Urie
Cannibal Corpse
Joseph G. Ramsey
Savage Calculations: On the Exoneration of Philando Castille’s Killer
John Wight
Trump’s Attack on Cuba
Dave Lindorff
We Need a Mass Movement to Demand Radical Progressive Change
Brian Cloughley
Moving Closer to Doom
David Rosen
The Sex Offender: the 21st Century Witch
John Feffer
All Signs Point to Trump’s Coming War With Iran
Jennifer L. Lieberman
What’s Really New About the Gig Economy?
Pete Dolack
Analyzing the Failures of Syriza
Vijay Prashad
The Russian Nexus
Mike Whitney
Putin Tries to Avoid a Wider War With the US
Gregory Barrett
“Realpolitik” in Berlin: Merkel Fawns Over Kissinger
Louis Yako
The Road to Understanding Syria Goes Through Iraq
Graham Peebles
Grenfell Tower: A Disaster Waiting to Happen
Ezra Rosser
The Poverty State of Mind and the State’s Obligations to the Poor
Ron Jacobs
Andrew Jackson and the American Psyche
Pepe Escobar
Fear and Loathing on the Afghan Silk Road
Lawrence Davidson
On Hidden Cultural Corruptors
Andre Vltchek
Why I Reject Western Courts and Justice
Christopher Brauchli
The Routinization of Mass Shootings in America
Missy Comley Beattie
The Poor Need Not Apply
Martin Billheimer
White Man’s Country and the Iron Room
Joseph Natoli
What to Wonder Now
Tom Clifford
Hong Kong: the Chinese Meant Business
Thomas Knapp
The Castile Doctrine: Cops Without Consequences
Nyla Ali Khan
Borders Versus Memory
Binoy Kampmark
Death on the Road: Memory in Tim Winton’s Shrine
Tony McKenna
The Oily Politics of Unity: Owen Smith as Northern Ireland Shadow Secretary
Nizar Visram
If North Korea Didn’t Exist US Would Create It
John Carroll Md
At St. Catherine’s Hospital, Cite Soleil, Haiti
Kenneth Surin
Brief Impressions of the Singaporean Conjucture
Paul C. Bermanzohn
Trump: the Birth of the Hero
Jill Richardson
Trump on Cuba: If Obama Did It, It’s Bad
Olivia Alperstein
Our President’s Word Wars
REZA FIYOUZAT
Useless Idiots or Useful Collaborators?
Clark T. Scott
Parallel in Significance
Louis Proyect
Hitler and the Lone Wolf Assassin
Julian Vigo
Theresa May Can’t Win for Losing
Richard Klin
Prog Rock: Pomp and Circumstance
Charles R. Larson
Review: Malin Persson Giolito’s “Quicksand”
David Yearsley
RIP: Pomp and Circumstance
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail