Rudy Giuliani’s extensive business ties to foreign governments and corporations would raise serious conflicts of interest if he was chosen to serve as President-elect Donald Trump’s secretary of state.
After ending his tenure as New York City mayor, Giuliani built a consulting firm that had contracts with the government of Qatar and the Canadian company building the Keystone XL oil pipeline, according to a Wednesday New York Times report. He also gave paid speeches to an Iranian opposition group that was on the State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations until 2012.
Giuliani Partners contracted with the Qatari government, which Trump has criticized for its record on human and women’s rights. The firm also worked with TriGlobal Strategic Ventures, a company that the Times reported has done consulting work for Russian oligarchs and clients with intimate ties to the Russian government.
Giuliani also gave a speech in D.C. in 2011 on behalf of the Mujahedeen Khalq, an Iranian opposition group. Politico reported that the speech called on the State Department to rescind the group’s designation as a terrorist organization.
Giuliani was compensated handsomely for his paid speeches. He pulled in $11.4 million in 2006 alone from speeches for which he would charge as much as $200,000 each, the Times reported.
Giuliani brushed aside questions of impropriety or conflict of interest in an interview with the newspaper.
“I have friends all over the world,” the former New York City mayor told the Times. “This is not a new thing for me. When you become the mayor, you become interested in foreign policy. When I left, my major work was legal and security around the world.”
Giuliani coyly expressed interest in the role during a Monday event with the Wall Street Journal, and numerous outlets have reported he’s under consideration for the position.
Yet some voices in Congress are expressing doubts. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said that Giuliani’s support for the Iraq War and business dealings render him a poor choice.
“It is worrisome, some of the ties to foreign governments, because that was a big complaint about many of us with Hillary Clinton and her ties and the money she received from foreign governments,” Paul told CNN on Tuesday.