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Wolfie’s LadyFriend’s Cushy State Slot

dd2fba94-b1bc-4a27-9732-cb2f430f3257.jpgDoes everything wrong in the Bush Maladministration lead back to Cheney? Do his evil tentacles grasp every sleazy strand? Even seemingly unrelated scandals circle back to Cheney — or to a Cheney. You are, perhaps, aware of the simmering World Bank scandal, where IraqWar Architect Paul Wolfowitz now presides. Wolfie's management style and, shall we say, personnel decisions now threaten the Bank's stability. In terms reminiscent of Gonzales on the front burner, Bush is deciding how much and even whether to back up his guy:

On Friday, with Wolfowitz's job on the line, the Bush administration faced two questions: how hard to fight for him and how much damage to its stature his ouster would cause.

The bank's board of directors continued to say it was pondering the matter. But one clue to how tough the in-fighting was becoming did emerge: a leaked report that European governments had decided to cut off contributions to the bank's loan funds if Wolfowitz did not quit.

Publicly, the White House reiterated its support for the bank chief, but it was not clear how hard it was prepared to push behind the scenes. Wolfowitz is not a U.S. official but was nominated by President Bush; by tradition, the United States – the Bank's largest financial backer – picks its president.

So: another Bush crony in trouble at his Bush-appointed job, with a respected and critically important multi-national institution hanging in the balance. But, you ask, there's a Cheney connection, right? To start with, there's this:

Wolfowitz worked for [Liz] Cheney's father as an undersecretary of defense in the George H.W. Bush administration.

Even more, though, Wolfie's ladyfriend, Shaha Riza, was tasked at State to manage Condi's pet project, the Foundation for the Future, with a grand mission statement:

"The Foundation will provide grants to help civil society strengthen the rule of law, to protect basic civil liberties, and ensure greater opportunity for health and education. But most importantly, the Foundation is a sign that citizens have to be trusted who are working for democratic reform in particular countries, and cities, and villages to use their grant money for the greatest good that they see fit." –Secretary Rice at the Forum for the Future (Manama, Bahrain November 12, 2005)

Surely, such a bold enterprise requires some of our tax dollars — about thirty-seven million of them, actually:

The United States contributed almost two-thirds of the foundation's $56 million budget, according to the State Department

And where does the Foundation for the Future fit into the State Department heirarchy?

Since September 2005, the World Bank has paid Riza's salary — which under the terms of a contract dictated by Wolfowitz included automatic raises that has brought it to $193,590 tax-free — while she was seconded to the State Department to assist on Middle East democracy issues. There, she worked under Elizabeth Cheney, who was then principal deputy assistant secretary

And what has the 18-month-old Foundation for the Future accomplished under Liz Cheney's leadership, with its sole tasked staffer Shaha Riza?

After meeting in Geneva in February, the executive committee announced that it would hold a "logo competition" for the region's youth and had reviewed proposals for a civil society resource center and a conference on rule of law.

Yup — she's had a logo contest and read some proposals.

UPDATE: Old Europe backs away from Wolfowitz.
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