Wolfie Crony Finally Ousted

World Bank's "institutional integrity" chief Folsom overstayed her unwelcome.

In a move as overdue as a Citigroup payment to its debtors, Suzanne Rich Folsom, a crony of deposed prexy Paul Wolfowitz, finally bounced at the World Bank. Under pressure, she quit.

To the best of my knowledge, it was I who broke the news in November 2005 that Wolfowitz had tapped Folsom, already working at the bank, to be the head of its Institutional Integrity department. It was ludicrous because she was also was officially Wolfowitz's "Counselor." She did nothing, of course, when people complained about Wolfie's impropriety with Shaha Ali Riza, who worked under him not only at the bank but as his gal pal.

As I noted back in the fall of 2005:

Not that he doesn't need someone full-time on "institutional integrity." After all, he has brought with him from the Bush White House the disgraced and embarrassed Robin Cleveland, a figure in the Pentagon's Boeing scandal that cost Air Force Secretary James Roche his job.

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Folsom was the wrong person for the job of keeping an eye on the internal integrity of the World Bank. In April 2007, while Wolfie was vainly fighting to keep his job, I wrote that Folsom was rumored in the flood of staff e-mails about Wolfie to have hosted a Republican fundraiser. She wouldn't respond to my queries at the time, but her flack denied that she had done so. It wouldn't have been a surprise, because her GOP ties run deep. She's married to George Folsom, former president of the International Republican Institute. And I reported in January 2006 that she hired Allison Brigati, the daughter of America's leading lobbyist for the gambling industry, Frank Fahrenkopf, to help her probe corruption within the bank. Hoo-hah.

Did I mention that Fahrenkopf is a former national chairman of the GOP?

Like Wolfowitz, she had no business being in charge of anything at the World Bank. See the extensive coverage of Wolfie by the watchdog Government Accountability Project, which notes today:

Ms. Folsom’s departure comes after increasing criticism of her own integrity and effectiveness from a variety of sources, including an independent review prepared by the Government Accountability Project (GAP), a Bank commissioned report from a panel headed by Paul Volcker, and a rising tide of dissatisfaction among her staff.

The best story on Folsom's skedaddle is from the excellent Bank Information Center, a sober watchdog on international finance institutions. Its piece today points out that Folsom's internal anti-corruption unit was "fraught with weak management and a conflict of interest at its upper management." She continued to be Counselor to Wolfie's successor, Bob Zoellick.

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