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.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2008, General, , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Triumph says:

    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.

    I think I was pretty on-target in my prediction on how you would tackle this issue, James.

    Of course, you fail to acknowledge that he HAS handled the question already. His campaign explained yesterday that: “As someone considered a Presidential candidate, the mayor didn’t want the group’s work to become a political football.”

    This, of course, is absurd because he had publicly expressed interest in a candidacy months before he was asked to be on the panel.

    Giuliani, just last week, when asked about why Iraq is not figuring prominently in his campaign declarations he offered no analysis on what to do about the quagmire, saying that it was “in the hands of other people.”

    If he is running as Mr. “War against Terror” and he is afraid to discuss–or even think about–the biggest foreign policy challenge facing the country, his viability as a candidate must be questioned.

    Had this really been his concern, why did he agree to serve in the first place? The explanation makes no sense.

  2. Anderson says:

    Never mind the media — I don’t see why his rivals aren’t beating him over the head with this. Which would solve the media problem, btw. I’ll leave aside the fundamental dubiety of an Iraq Study Group that wanted Giuliani in the 1st place.

    Anyway, now that JJ has posted this, we can see if the world-famous OTB Commenters can give us a preview of how the conservative base might react.

    (Triumph, I’m not really sure why personalizing this into a criticism of JJ is especially productive — but perhaps I’m misreading you?)

  3. Scott_T says:

    Iraq Study Group, that’s the one that wanted more Syrian and Iranian “Input” or help in closing down their border’s with Iraq to curtail terrorist/Al Qaeda crossings isn’t it?

    No wonder why he blew it off, ISG doesn’t even know what Iraq’s neighbors are doing to facilitate the militas/AlQaeda.

  4. Triumph says:

    (Triumph, I’m not really sure why personalizing this into a criticism of JJ is especially productive — but perhaps I’m misreading you?)

    Misread—I’m not sure where I’ve criticized James. I was just predicting how he would interpret the issue. Sometimes I don’t agree with his interpretations, but that is the nature of debate in a democratic society.

    In the comment above, I was taking issue with his implication that Giuliani hasn’t responded to the Newsday article–which, in fact, he had.

  5. alec says:
  6. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    James Baker has been a critic of the effort in Iraq from the very beginning. He and a bunch of democrats are not going to find anything viable to say about anything, let alone the situation in Iraq. Why would any thinking individual capable of leadership want to spend any time listening to the lies presented by that bunch? Anytime there is a democrat on any panel, one must question the veracity of that panel.

  7. Anjin-San says:

    Also keep in mind that when his country called on him to serve as Homeland Security director in wartime, Guilani declined as he was too busy making money.

  8. MarkT says:

    Bill Clinton got paid for a speech on the anniversary of 9/11!

  9. cian says:

    A whole six comments before someone blamed Clinton. Is that a record?

  10. Andy says:

    Is that a record?

    No, on most blogs this usually happens in the first 1-2 comments.

  11. Anderson says:

    Anytime there is a democrat on any panel, one must question the veracity of that panel.

    What is wrong with you people?

  12. Bandit says:

    good ad hominem – someone has a different opinion so there’s something wrong with them

  13. Anderson says:

    ZR says all Democrats are liars, and *I’m* the one with the ad hominem?