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Monday, December 10, 2007

So Much For Full Disclosure. . . Giuliani Won’t Release Client List Or Cut Ties With Firm

The Daily Flipper
Read what the Republicans Wish You Wouldn’t …
December 10, 2007

TOP HEADLINE: So Much For Full Disclosure. . . Giuliani Won’t Release Client List Or Cut Ties With Firm

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, citing “confidentiality agreements,” said Sunday that he won’t release a list of clients, nor sever his ties to Giuliani Partners.

“I'm an owner,’’ the Republican presidential contender said on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” “We do all of the financial disclosures. I did a complete financial disclosure I think in May. I'll do some more complete financial disclosures, but I'm not doing more than what is absolutely required.”

Like Clockwork … Giuliani Says Everything About His Clients is Out, Then Something Else Comes Out

A lobbying blitz by some of the U.S.'s biggest utility companies is likely to strangle the most potent provision in energy legislation that's making its way through Congress.

Southern Co., American Electric Power Co. and other producers hired top Washington lobbyists, including Rudy Giuliani's firm, to help defeat a measure that would force them to boost electricity generated by wind, solar and other forms of renewable energy to 15 percent of the U.S. total by 2020. That's up from less than 2 percent today, and is a move the industry says would cost at least $67 billion.

Southern Co. has spent $7.26 million this year lobbying Congress, more than Exxon Mobil Corp. or General Motors Corp., according to the Washington-based Center for Responsive Politics. It hired such firms as Bracewell & Giuliani LLP, where Republican presidential front-runner Giuliani is a partner.

The Giuliani firm's involvement goes deeper: Scott Segal, a Bracewell lobbyist, is director of the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council, an industry group that focuses on air- quality issues and includes Southern Co., Progress Energy Inc. and other utilities.

``Advocates for the renewable-portfolio standards have a tough road ahead of them to get the votes in the Senate,'' says Segal, who adds that his firm also represents renewable-energy companies on other issues.

Isn’t It Just Like Rudy To Blame It On the Dead Guy?

Giuliani, who again said he made a mistake regarding Kerik, said he did not recall ever being briefed on the matter, but if he had "known that I wouldn’t have appointed him."

As he recalls it, Giuliani assigned Edward Kuriansky, his Commissioner of Investigations, to vet Kerik.

"Ed told me that he had some recollection of having told me of briefing me on this," said Giuliani. "He also told me that he had cleared Bernard Kerik for the appointment." Kuriansky passed away in July of this year due to a battle with cancer.

Giuliani went on to explain that neither he nor another member of his staff recall Kuriansky raising the issue, but that Kuriansky believes he did after he found a scheduling note regarding that meeting and that it was a topic he planned to discuss.

"He was not sure whether he briefed me or not, he just said he had a note," Giuliani added.

Here’s A Followup Worthy Of Looking Into … How Close Did KSH Cone To Working With GP?

In Qatar, Mr. Giuliani's firm operates out of a suite of offices on the 10th floor of the Four Seasons Hotel in Doha, the country's capital, say people familiar with its operations there. Hotel records show the offices are registered to a company called Al-Barra Trading.

The hotel records list in parentheses the name "Ali Soufiyan" next to another suite also registered to Al-Barra Trading. That appears to be an alternative spelling for Ali Soufan, an Arabic-speaking former FBI agent who is now the international business-development director for Giuliani Security & Safety International, one of Mr. Giuliani's firms.

In the aftermath of the 2001 terror attacks, Mr. Soufan played a crucial role investigating al Qaeda. Mr. Soufan quit the FBI in 2005 to work for Mr. Giuliani.

Mr. Soufan's personal relationship with the crown prince of Qatar, Tameem Bin Hamad Al-Thani, is the driving force behind Mr. Giuliani's contract, according to the people familiar with the company's work. The Al-Thani family has ruled the Islamic monarchy since the mid-1800s. Its representatives haven't responded to requests for comment.

Mr. Soufan didn't respond to requests for comment. A spokesman for Giuliani Partners, Sunny Mindel, said the firm wouldn't make him available to comment.

The Qatar government in the mid-1990s invited al Qaeda operative Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his family to live in Qatar, the 9/11 commission found. Mr. Mohammed was given a job at the Qatar Ministry of Electricity and Water. At the time, Mr. Mohammed was under indictment in the Southern District of New York for his role in a plot to blow up U.S.-bound jetliners. He was also wanted for questioning in connection with the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

Giuliani’s Record Has More Than A Few Major Blotches On It

Rudolph Giuliani spent much of his hour-long stint on Meet the Press this morning defending his judgment -- about Bernard Kerik and about business deals that have connected him to a Qatari government official with ties to alleged 9-11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammad and a Hong Kong businessman with ties to North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il.

Regarding Kerik, his one-time police commissioner now under federal indictment on corruption charges, Giuliani said that was a big mistake in vetting for which he took responsibility.

But the former New York mayor urged MTP host Tim Russert to take the quantitative view: He's appointed hundreds of people to high positions and very few of them have gone south like Kerik.

Of course, very few of them have leveraged friendship with Giuliani to win nomination to be secretary of Homeland Security, either.

Giuliani tried to defend his relationship with the government of Qatar -- one of his firms does security consulting there -- as a way of engaging people who might otherwise be inclined to hostility to the U.S.

Problem is, one of the key government ministers is Interior Minister Abdullah bin Khalid al-Thani, who is suspected of Al Qaeda sympathies and, in 1996, is thought to have warned KSM that the FBI wanted to arrest him. KSM fled and remained free to plan the attack that did so much to make Giuliani a politically-viable household name in 2008.

Rudy’s Hamptons-Gate Defense At Odds With The Facts

Rudy Giuliani, on the hot seat Sunday for the most exhaustive grilling of his presidential campaign, doggedly insisted that death threats against then-girlfriend Judith Nathan prompted the NYPD to launch her taxpayer-funded chauffeur services.

"These were all based upon threat assessments made by the New York City Police Department ... of what was necessary to protect her life, my life, other people's lives," Giuliani told NBC's Tim Russert. "Every single thing done here was done based upon the assessment of someone else that this was necessary."

His explanation of Nathan's police car service doesn't square with Friday's Daily News exclusive report, citing multiple witnesses and a law enforcement source, that she was being protected by city taxpayers months before the affair was revealed in May 2000.

"The threats were after" their romance became known, Giuliani maintained Sunday.

What Year is Huckabee Living In? Gov. Still Thinks That AIDS Patients Should Have Been Isolated

GOP presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee said Sunday he won't run from his statement 15 years ago that AIDS patients should have been isolated.

Huckabee acknowledged the prevailing scientific view then, and since, that the virus that causes AIDS is not spread through casual contact, but said that was not certain. He cited revelations in 1991 that a dentist had infected a patient in an extraordinary case that highlighted the risk of infection through contact with blood or bodily fluids.

"I still believe this today," he said in a broadcast interview, that "we were acting more out of political correctness" in responding to the AIDS crisis. "I don't run from it, I don't recant it," he said of his position in 1992. Yet he said he would state his view differently in retrospect.

Huckabee, as a Senate candidate that year, told The Associated Press that "we need to take steps that would isolate the carriers of this plague" if the federal government was going to deal with the spread of the disease effectively. "It is the first time in the history of civilization in which the carriers of a genuine plague have not been isolated from the general population, and in which this deadly disease for which there is no cure is being treated as a civil rights issue instead of the true health crisis it represents," he said then.;_ylt=ApRGDGjekKyLuvJhDAsgiaBp24cA

Speaking of Feeling Isolated… Does Huckabee Have a “Boots on The Ground” Problem? Just 14 Staffers in Iowa (That’s 28 Boots, more or less)

When Huckabee returned to Iowa last week, he had climbed 20 percentage points since Labor Day in polls of Iowa Republican caucusgoers.

He was met by an Iowa campaign staff of just 14. He also encountered a pack of national media trying to determine how Huckabee had leapfrogged better-financed candidates Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson to take the lead in The Des Moines Register's Iowa Poll. Huckabee raised only $1 million in the third quarter of 2007.

"Where we don't have offices and paid staff, we have something even better," Huckabee said in Des Moines last week. "We have an army of ordinary people who are out there, not because someone is paying them to love me."

Pardon Me Huckabee (BTW, Arkansas Arrested Keith Richards and Only Got Him On Traffic Offense?)

Although the Republican presidential contender and Southern Baptist preacher plays down any personal involvement in that release, Huckabee granted 1,033 pardons and commutations in his 10 1/2 years as governor of Arkansas. The acts of clemency benefited the stepson of a staff member, murderers who worked at the governor's mansion, a rock star and inmates who received good words from their pastors.

"It seems to be true at least anecdotally that if a minister is involved, (Huckabee) seems likely to grant clemency," prosecutor Robert Herzfeld said in 2004 after successfully battling the then-governor over the release of a killer. Related Articles:

Whitewater figure David Hale, a government witness in the trial that forced Gov. Jim Guy Tucker's resignation and let Huckabee ascend to the office, was pardoned after being sentenced to 21 days in a state insurance case. Huckabee complained it would cost too much to hold him. The price tag: $1,200.

Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards received a gubernatorial pardon for a 1975 traffic offense. Huckabee prepared the paperwork to clear the rock star's good name after he met him at a North Little Rock concert.

During his years as governor, Huckabee granted clemency an average of about once every four days. Huckabee's successor, Mike Beebe, has issued 40 so far this year, fewer than one a week. Bill Clinton, Frank White and Tucker granted 507 clemencies in the 17 1/2 years they served as governor.

When Will Huckabee Reveal His True Colors On the Campaign Trail?

Arkansas voters saw the funny, down-to-earth Huckabee. Political pros who tangled with him away from the cameras say the governor they dealt with was anything but easygoing. Republican state Rep. Jeremy Hutchinson says Huckabee has an explosive temper. He recalls one heated conversation with Huckabee about a health bill Hutchinson didn't want to support. Huckabee began screaming at him, and banged his fists on his desk so hard that "trinkets started falling off."

It’s Lonely At the Top. . .Can Huckabee Take the Heat As Scrutiny Grows?

Hundreds of Republicans arriving to hear Mike Huckabee speak this weekend were greeted by a man in prison stripes with a rubber mask and this sign: "Hey Mike, Thanks for the Pardon."

It was a reference to a convicted rapist who was paroled (not pardoned) when Mr. Huckabee was Arkansas governor, and who went on to murder a woman. It also was an indicator of how the Republicans' hot new presidential prospect faces tougher scrutiny of both his record and his views.

Mr. Huckabee risks being seen as a flip-flopper, a charge that dogs Mr. Romney, who has changed his positions on abortion, same-sex marriage and other issues. Much of the Huckabee appeal is as an anti-Romney candidate: He campaigns as someone with deeply held convictions that haven't changed.

Mr. Huckabee is also vulnerable on some key issues, including taxes and immigration. He plans a new TV ad starting today in Iowa emphasizing the need to secure the border.

Thompson May Talk Tough On Illegal Immigration, But Records Show He’s Got a Soft Spot

Fred Thompson has made the tough enforcement of immigration laws a cornerstone of his presidential campaign platform, running television ads in Iowa titled "No Amnesty" and skewering rivals for their immigration records.

But at least twice as a US senator, Mr. Thompson personally intervened on behalf of immigrants at risk of deportation, according to papers in his Senate archives here and interviews with the immigrants.

In 1999, he pleaded with the US Immigration and Naturalization Service to reinstate a green-card application from a Korean family who became illegal when their visas expired. In 2000, Thompson passed a private law to grant green cards – or permanent residence – to a disabled Bolivian widow and three of her children. Under public law, the family would have had to leave the United States.

Pander Pander Everywhere. . . GOP 08ers Offer New Rhetoric On Immigration at Spanish-Language Debate

Facing a Spanish-speaking national audience for the first time, the Republican presidential candidates soft-pedaled their hard-line stances on immigration and sidestepped questions about the estimated 12 million undocumented workers already living in the United States.

Candidates made the appeal that stopping illegal immigration would preserve legal immigration, and that it would be unfair to allow undocumented workers to cut in front of people who have been following the law.

Mike Huckabee, the one-time underdog rising in the polls, even struck a sympathetic note.

''When people come to this country, they shouldn't fear,'' the former governor of Arkansas said. ``They shouldn't live in hiding. They ought to have their heads up.''

Huckabee didn't mention his plan released two days ago, which calls for deporting undocumented immigrants who don't return to their home country, fining employers who hire them, and building a fence along the Mexican border by 2010.

Did They Really Want to Use The Word "Exploding?" Ron Paul Blimp Coming To A City Near You

It's a bird. It's a plane. No, it's a blimp — and the fiercely devoted fans of White House hopeful Ron Paul hope it will turn him into Superman.

With much ado and a little hot air, the official Ron Paul Blimp — all 197 feet of it — will be released this morning from a tether in North Carolina and drift northward, its bulbous sides bright with atypical campaign messages meant for curious voters down below:

"Who is Ron Paul?" "Google Ron Paul" and "Love Revolution."

The blimp will arrive in the skies over the nation's capital just in time for rush hour, and linger for 48 hours. But Mr. Paul has nothing to do with it. The airship comes courtesy of the self-proclaimed "Paulites," who independently raised $420,000 to rent the craft, and craft the campaign.

"This blimp isn't coming from us, and yes, it came as a surprise. It's just another example of the tremendous, amazing, spontaneous grass-roots support which has been exploding around the country," said Jesse Benton, the Paul campaign's spokesman.

Lollygagger Watch: Fred Schedules An Event Today (But Down Tomorrow)

NEW* THOMPSON in Miami, FL: “Former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson visits the Bay of Pigs Museum in Miami, Florida.” [CNN Political Ticker, 12/10/07]

Memo to Fred: Don't Forget to Stop At The Bookshop For Dana Perino's Christmas Gift:
Appearing on National Public Radio 's light-hearted quiz show "Wait, Wait . . . Don't Tell Me," which aired over the weekend, Perino got into the spirit of things and told a story about herself that she had previously shared only in private: During a White House briefing, a reporter referred to the Cuban Missile Crisis -- and she didn't know what it was.

"I was panicked a bit because I really don't know about . . . the Cuban Missile Crisis," said Perino, who at 35 was born about a decade after the 1962 U.S.-Soviet nuclear showdown. "It had to do with Cuba and missiles, I'm pretty sure."

So she consulted her best source. "I came home and I asked my husband," she recalled. "I said, 'Wasn't that like the Bay of Pigs thing?' And he said, 'Oh, Dana.' "

The Daily Flipper is distributed by the DNC Research Department.

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