Giuliani's Partner Problems
Republican front-runner Rudolph Giuliani and his team continue to offer conflicting answers to the question of whether he will make public the names of his consulting firm's clients.
When reporters asked him about it yesterday, he said he believed the news media already had the names of all of the Giuliani Partners clients.
"All of Giuliani Partners' clients, maybe with one or two exceptions, I don't even know that's right, are public," Giuliani said, according to ABC News. "Certainly every major one is known, there is no big secret about that."
Today, add to the list of clients a Las Vegas development firm looking to build a casino in Singapore. According to a report in the Chicago Tribune, the firm has ties to a Hong Kong firm run by the son of a Chinese gambling magnate.
This revelation comes two weeks after the Wall Street Journal revealed another heretofore undisclosed client of Giuliani's firm: the government of Qatar, a Persian Gulf state to whom the firm provided security advice.
These arrangements might not be as big a problem for Giuliani if he had left his firm as he pledged he would last spring. But as The Washington Post reported last month, Giuliani continues to juggle his presidential bid with his role as head of the consulting partnership.
"It starts to become a political problem, a perception problem, if he is refusing to divulge any of the clients of the firm from which he is still getting compensation," said Scott Thomas, an ethics lawyer and former Federal Election Commission chairman who is not working with any presidential campaign.
Giuliani formed the firm after he left the New York mayor's office in 2002. He built upon the reputation he earned while helping the city recover from the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to advise clients across the world on security issues. The clients have included civic leaders in Mexico City, who sought Giuliani's expertise on law enforcement strategies; companies that wanted to build a post-Sept. 11 security plan; and those that sought strategic advice on how to win business in the growing homeland security sector.
Last year, Giuliani earned about $4.1 million from the firm, according to the presidential campaign financial disclosure report he filed in May.
Because the firm represents many security interests, some of which might have business before the federal government, Giuliani faced questions about his continuing employment there. He announced in April that he planned to leave the firm to concentrate entirely on the campaign.
"I'm largely out of it, and I'm pretty much going to be out of it at some point pretty soon," he told reporters on April 4 while campaigning in South Carolina.
Six months later, he continues to do some work at the company.
As for disclosing the names of his clients, Sunny Mindel, a spokeswoman for Giuliani Partners, has said there is little the firm can do because many of its contracts with clients include confidentiality agreements.
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