Rudy Giuliani and his cohorts at Giuliani Partners have insisted he's no lobbyist. But there's mounting evidence to the contrary. Maybe he's so averse to the term because his firm lobbied illegally.
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Exhibit A is today's Time story, which for the first time reveals details about just what Hank Asher, Giuliani's troubled buddy, paid him so much money to do.
As we laid out in a series of posts last week, Giuliani struck a pretty sweet deal with Asher during his first year of business. Asher's Seisint was hocking its data-mining software, code-named MATRIX, to the government. Rudy's job was to serve as a kind of front man for the company, in part so that Asher's drug-running past wouldn't be an issue. The contract, for a previously untold amount of money, was based on a $2 million yearly fee, commissions, and stock options. A stock holder in the company was so alarmed by the giveaway that he sued Seisint; the case was settled.
Today, Time puts a price tag on all that: $30 million, $24 million of that from stock options. And what did Rudy do for the money? It turns out, plenty.
Well, first and foremost, he lobbied. A shareholder in Seisint tells Time that "nobody knew us; everybody knew him," and that with Giuliani, "the doors were wide open. It was almost a flood of business opportunities." The company's in-house lobbyist says that Giuliani set up a meeting at the Department of Homeland Security.
The White House looks like another one of those doors that Giuliani opened. In January of 2003, just a month after Seisint hired Giuliani, Asher gave a presentation to Vice President Dick Cheney, FBI director Robert Mueller, Homeland Security director Tom Ridge, and Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL) in the Roosevelt Room at the White House on MATRIX, according to documents obtained by the ACLU back in 2004. (The ACLU doggedly opposed MATRIX; Asher responded by once joking that the ACLU "is probably funded" by Al Qaeda. I'm sure he and Cheney got along fine.)