The Right Question


Just out from Ben Smith at The Politico:

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and his senior aides Thursday blamed anonymous bookkeepers for his administration’s practice of billing the travel expenses for his personal security detail to obscure city agencies.

But a top aide was unable to say why Giuliani’s administration and his successor’s rebuffed questions from the city’s top fiscal watchdog in 2001 and 2002. City Comptroller William Thompson said Thursday his auditors were “stonewalled” by the Giuliani administration when they inquired about the unusual billing procedures, which he called “disturbing.”

Instead, Giuliani and his aides focused their attention on the issue of whether the unlikely divisions of the mayor’s office had been reimbursed — not why the expenses were billed to out-of-the-way agencies such as the New York City Loft Board in the first place.

That is the key question: Why did the expenses of Rudy’s security get billed out to obscure agencies within the mayor’s office in the first place?

There’s no question that public funds were used to pay for Rudy’s security detail while he was out on Long Island rendezvousing with Judith Nathan. One way or the other, it was either paid by the mayor’s office or by the NYPD. No one disputes that, not even Rudy. No one cares which pocket the public funds came out of. What everyone cares about–and what The Politico‘s reporting so far seems to suggest–is that the expenses were scattered among various agencies so as to obscure Rudy’s illicit activities and the expenses associated with them.

That’s the question. But Rudy’s campaign won’t answer it and Rudy himself is not getting asked it by the likes of Anderson Cooper or Katie Couric. So he skates for another day.


David Kurtz is Managing Editor and Washington Bureau Chief of Talking Points Memo where he oversees the news operations of TPM and its sister sites.