Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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November 30, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

RUDY UPDATE....Michael Cooper of the New York Times rounds up a few of Rudy Giuliani's recent campaign trail whoppers and writes:

All of these statements are incomplete, exaggerated or just plain wrong.

Rudy's official response appears to be that he's only lying a little bit, not a lot, and anyway, everyone knows in their hearts that he's really right. Or something. In any case, I count eight separate whoppers debunked in the article. Go read.

Elsewhere in Rudy-land, Josh Marshall is keeping close tabs on the creative accounting that Rudy used in the waning days of his mayoralty to hide expenses for his trips to the Hamptons to meet up with his mistress:

Rudy's defense in all this has been that there's nothing wrong here because this Enron accounting he was using in the mayor's office wasn't specifically to conceal the Shag Fund. And we're getting the sense that he's right. At least in part.

It seems more likely in his final years and months as mayor Rudy was living larger and larger on the NYC dime. And a look at the book-keeping details that are emerging suggests a very conscious effort to use these squirrelly accounting techniques to hide Rudy's high-living ways from public scrutiny. Some of it was Shag Fund spending, but not all, probably not even most.

The problem is that even though the accounting techniques were part of a general effort to hide Rudy's living the high-life on the city's dime, it's now shined a bright light on the Shag Fund. And the Shag Fund was evidently spread more widely than the stuff accounted for with the squirrelly book-keeping.

Josh also notes that Rudy's current explanation for all this, namely that this creative accounting was actually a big-hearted attempt to reimburse cops for their expenses more quickly, is pretty weak stuff. The idea that the NYPD might be slow in cutting checks for expense reports is easy to believe, but do security detail cops really have to rent their own cars, instead of using city cars? And if it was really all above board, why scatter the expenses into half a dozen weird little agencies? And why refuse to explain it when the comptroller started asking questions? Stay tuned.

Kevin Drum 1:51 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (19)

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Comments

This may be the tipping point for Rudy. He's been sliding in the polls, and I think the saturation of sleeze might finally have finally caught up with him. It was going to happen sooner or later; evidently it's sooner.

Posted by: MaxGowan on November 30, 2007 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

Unless Josh Marshall's crack team of reporters can find a stained dress in Judy's wardrobe, the conservatives are going to ignore all this.

Adultery is OK in the Republican set of values. It's the blow job that's problematic.

Posted by: gregor on November 30, 2007 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

Although it should have happened sooner over more substantive matters (and likely would have if we had a responsible MSM) this story may finally lead to the implosion of the Giuliani candidacy that I have expected for months. Aside from the still emerging story, with its hook of money and sex, Rudy appears to going ballistic--giving the nation a real glimpse of the mayor that NYC area residents came to know and largely loathe. The combination of a momentum gathering story and Rudy in full pissing-off-the-media mode may even result in MSM attention to some other matters that have largely been confined to the blogospher, particularly the various horrendous decisions made prior to 9/11 that likely cost lives (including the location of the command center for convenient love nest duty) and Rudy's post-9/11 business dealings, including terrorst friendly Qatar.

Posted by: Marlowe on November 30, 2007 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

And if it was really all above board, why scatter the expenses into half a dozen weird little agencies? And why refuse to explain it when the comptroller started asking questions?

Kevin, Rudy already explained this practice of spreading expenses across different agencies predates Giuliani. He was just following the same practice as the liberal Democrats preceding him. And Giuliani (and Bloomberg) refused meddling by the comptroller because of security concerns. We certainly don't want the terrorists to know how the New York executive is spending money to hunt down and kill them so that there wouldn't be another 9/11.

www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/2007/11/29/2007-11-29_rudy_giuliani_hid_his_travel_expenses_wh.html

"Joseph Lhota, a deputy mayor under Giuliani, said the expenses were put on mayoral office credit cards and eventually covered by the NYPD before the end of the fiscal year. As for why costs were allocated to agencies irrelevant to mayoral security, Lhota said: "This is a practice that's gone on for years. I have no idea why. It predates Giuliani.""
"Both the Giuliani and Bloomberg administrations rebuffed auditors seeking an explanation out of "security concerns," said Jeff Simmons, a controller spokesman."

Posted by: Al on November 30, 2007 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

Cops in the security detail probably couldn't use city cars if they were going to be leaving the city on non-City business (viz Giuliani's booty calls). If Giuliani told his security detail that private funds were supporting the assignations they would use external vendors for things like cars. Giuliani might then just tell them that the private funds were reimbursing the city for the expenses. They wouldn't ask questions, Giuliani gets to see his mistress, and the taxpayers foot the bill. As long as the expenses are buried and nobody asks questions it all works out.

Posted by: rk on November 30, 2007 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

"In your heart, you know he's right; in your head, he's a bloody dope."

Posted by: Grumpy on November 30, 2007 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

A commenter at FDL listening to NY public radio says there is some indication that these are really senate campaign expenditures buried in City finances.

The numbers seem awfully big for jaunts to the Hamptons on the weekends.

Posted by: jayackroyd on November 30, 2007 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

crime was cut in half

Street crime may have been cut in half, but corporate crime increased. Apparently other white collar crime, like government servant corruption, also increased while Giuliani was mayor. I wish Spizter was still AG of NY State, he would investigate Rudy's alleged crimes.

Posted by: Brojo on November 30, 2007 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

It's Dinkins. Rudy only could have Bill Bratton do what he did re: lowering crime because.....

David Dinkins (in a rare non-misstep) took the political risk of raising taxes to boost the size of the police force - desperately needed at the time.

No tax increase, no more cops, no crime decline. Period. Dinkins deserves credit.

Posted by: Frank C on November 30, 2007 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

Karl, You are SO RIGHT. We nearly fell apart after those losers FDR, HST, JFK, LBJ and the economically disastrous Billy Clinton nearly destroyed our Great Nation.

But real tough men like Nixon and Bush and Frederick Thompson and Rudolphus Giulianius and Mitt Master of Results Romney can lead us.

Posted by: Free Lover of Freedom and Free Liberty on November 30, 2007 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

Frank Luntz, from the article:

When he talks about New York, people see it, and they feel it, and if a number isn’t quite right, or is off by a small amount, nobody will care, because it rings true to them.

Stephen Cobert, White House Press Corps Dinner:

We go straight from the gut, right sir? That's where the truth lies, right down here in the gut. Do you know you have more nerve endings in your gut than you have in your head? You can look it up. I know some of you are going to say "I did look it up, and that's not true." That's 'cause you looked it up in a book. Next time, look it up in your gut. I did. My gut tells me that's how our nervous system works.

Posted by: Cheney's Third Nipple on November 30, 2007 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

Al,

Sorry, you're a day late. From the NY Daily News today:

Joe Lhota, a deputy mayor in Giuliani's City Hall, told the Daily News Wednesday night that the administration's practice of allocating security expenses to small city offices that had nothing to do with mayoral protection has "gone on for years" and "predates Giuliani."

When told budget officials from the administrations of Ed Koch and David Dinkins said they did no such thing, Lhota caved Thursday, "I'm going to reverse myself on that. I'm just going to talk about the Giuliani era," Lhota said. "I should only talk about what I know about."

Posted by: Needles on November 30, 2007 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

gregor: "It's the blow job that's problematic."

I know, isn't that almost always the case? It's not so much that I find it just easier to lay there while he has his fun -- the trick is to do it so you can still see the TV. I mean, like I'm really going to miss Jay Leno for that!

Posted by: Muffie, the White Plains Ice Queen on November 30, 2007 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

The idea that the NYPD might be slow in cutting checks for expense reports is easy to believe, but do security detail cops really have to rent their own cars, instead of using city cars? —Kevin Drum

I suppose that he had no "official" relationship with this woman and that she was therefore not entitled to any of this to begin with counts for nothing.

I think Bloomberg ought to bill Rudy for this shit. Sunnu got busted for using a White House aircraft for a ski trip. It's the same thing.

Posted by: JeffII on November 30, 2007 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

Rudy, however, ran New York City's government, and during his administration, crime was cut in half

Now read this very, very, slowly, Karl. Move your lips as you read, if that helps. Don't be ashamed.

During the same period of time, other cities, e.g. Boston, had very liberal mayors. During the same period of time, crime was reduced in those cities as well.

Comprende, amigo? Bien.

Posted by: thersites on November 30, 2007 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

Rudy is still a strong candidate because, unlike the Democratic frontrunners, he has achieved results. Posted by: karl

I guess you been out behind the barn huffing gas again, karl. Not only is Rudy on the run for ripping of NYC for a good chunk of change to nanny his then mistress, but the NYT, finally, has a front page article today that pretty much undercuts every "achievement" Rudy's claiming during his tenure as mayor.

Again, Rudy did no achieve half the shit he claims to have accomplished as mayor, and the other half were things either initiated by others or the serendipitous confluence of economic circumstances and demographic shift.

Posted by: JeffII on November 30, 2007 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

On education, his record as mayor is abysmal, almost certainly the worst of any NYC mayor in modern history. All that money (thanks to the Clinton economy, btw), yet the kids were worse off in 2001 than they were in 1993.

Posted by: MaxGowan on November 30, 2007 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

Giuliani was so competent as mayor of New York City that he had to juggle the books to get things done.

Posted by: Ross Best on November 30, 2007 at 6:21 PM | PERMALINK

What should be the really lethal twist to this is that NYPD was supplying at the end of his term three security teams. Rudy ,his wife and his mistress! He felt it justified to guard his mistress on the publics dime. Because any of his friends etc. (insert Bernie here) by dint of liking Rudy had to be important.

Posted by: P.C.Chapman on November 30, 2007 at 7:12 PM | PERMALINK
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