Giuliani Blew Off Iraq Panel for Speaking Fees
By popular demand, I herewith comment on the story Newsday that broke yesterday that Rudy Giuliani missed two meetings of the Iraq Study Group because of fundraising trips and then quit the panel when told the alternative was to show up.
Giuliani failed to show up for a pair of two-day sessions that occurred during his tenure, the sources said – and both times, they conflicted with paid public appearances shown on his recent financial disclosure. Giuliani quit the group during his busiest stretch in 2006, when he gave 20 speeches in a single month that brought in $1.7 million.
Frankly, faced with a choice between $1.7 million and participating in a group with a bunch of other people who aren’t experts to present advice to the president he isn’t going to take anyway, I’d take the $1.7 million every time. (In full disclosure, I must confess that neither alternative has been offered.)
Then again, I’m not, as Kevin Drum puts it, “running for president based on his reputation as a hero of 9/11.” Drum’s right, too, that this is a significant story and that it’s odd that there has not been more press coverage.
I’ll be interested to see how Giuliani handles this question. I’d be perfectly content if he simply says, “Hey, I wanted the money. I’ve been in public service for decades and I wasn’t going to miss the opportunity to cash in to attend a couple of meetings.” My guess is he’ll offer something less candid as an answer.