Thursday, November 29, 2007

Giuliani replies! Uh, sorta

Confronted with the allegation that he billed agencies like the Office for People With Disabilities for his police escort during his adulterous trips, his basic reply seems to be an eloquent "Nuh-uh!"
Rudy Giuliani dismissed a report Wednesday that he expensed the cost of his security detail to obscure city offices for trips to a Long Island resort as the then-mayor began an extramarital affair with current wife Judith Nathan.

"First of all, it's not true," he said during a GOP debate hours after the story broke. "I had 24-hour security for the eight years that I was mayor. They followed me everyplace I went. It was because there were, you know, threats, threats that I don't generally talk about. Some have become public recently; most of them haven't.

"And they took care of me, and they put in their records, and they handled them in the way they handled them," Giuliani said. "I had nothing to do with the handling of their records, and they were handled, as far as I know, perfectly appropriately."

Mostly he seems to be pretending that the scandal here is that he had police protection during the trips at all. Which is completely missing the point--the Politico article which broke the story specifically stated:
New York's mayor receives round-the-clock police protection, and there's no suggestion that Giuliani used his detail improperly on these trips.

As for the actual scandal here--that he was making other people pay the bill for his affair--well, he's got no answer to that.
He didn't, however, offer an explanation for why the tens of thousands of dollars in costs, which aides say were routine expenses for protection for the mayor, were billed to city offices like the Office for People With Disabilities.

Tony Carbonetti, Giuliani's mayoral chief of staff and his top campaign political adviser, said he's asked Joe Lhota, a former city budget director, ex-deputy mayor and a Giuliani campaign adviser, to explain how such accounting practices could have occurred and why security expenses were not billed to the police department.

"These were all legitimate expenses incurred in protecting the mayor, and his police detail covered him wherever he went, 24/7," Carbonetti said in an interview before the debate. "You just do what you do, and the police go with you. That's just a fact of life when you're the mayor of New York."

Later, an aide said that for accounting purposes, the expenses appear to have been temporarily allocated to city offices and paid for out of the mayor's budget but that the police department ultimately picked up the tab and reimbursed the mayor's office at the end of each year.

Well, Carbonetti completely missed the point as well. The only explanation here is that there were unknown "accounting purposes" that justified billing city offices for this, but no worry, the police reimbursed them. I wonder if there are any actual records to prove this.

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