Wolfie’s Scandal-Scarred Aide OK’d Riza’s Move


When Paul Wolfowitz‘s reign at the World Bank soon comes to an end, we’ll remember that one of his first hubristic acts set the tone: He hired publicly disgraced White House budget aide Robin Cleveland as a high-priced “counselor” at the bank.

Reproduced above is Cleveland’s e-mail signing off on the move in late 2006 of Wolfie gal pal Shaha Ali Riza from the State Department to the Foundation for the Future (actually just a boondoggle of the State Department, as the Wall Street Journal‘s Neil King brilliantly noted recently).

Cleveland wrote on behalf of the world’s most powerful bank, “The Bank concurs with this proposal.”

Criminy! Here’s something eerie about Cleveland: She was only available in the spring of 2005 to join the World Bank and start writing personnel memos for Wolfie because her role in the Boeing/Air Force tanker scandal had just doomed her tenure at the OMB. She was a key figure in that Boeing scandal, which ousted a Secretary of the Air Force. Forgotten this particular sorry episode? Here’s a hint from a February 2005 Washington Post story:

Former Air Force secretary James G. Roche violated two military ethics rules when he urged a defense contractor to hire the brother of a senior Office of Management and Budget official while the Air Force was trying to win OMB endorsement of a new $30 billion aircraft leasing program, according to the Defense Department’s top auditor.

Who was the senior OMB official? Robin Cleveland. Who outed her smarmy e-mail exchanges with Roche? Not only the estimable Defense watchdog POGO but also John McCain, starting in 2003.

(See McCain’s demand letter to SecDeaf Don Rumsfeld and this June 2005 Bush Beat item about Roche and other members of the Pentagon’s racket club.)

So, by February 2005, Cleveland was clearly on her way out at OMB. Up steps Wolfie and hires her for the World Bank, where she signs off on personnel moves for Wolfie’s girlfriend.

And Wolfie wanted the world to believe that he was a corruption fighter.