Former head of the World Bank ethics committee, Ad Melkert, has stated that his panel was never consulted on, nor approved of, the hefty compensation package bank president Paul Wolfowitz arranged for his love interest, Shaha Riza.
But new documents released by a special committee of The World Bank Group show that a team at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher did sign off on the deal. That team included President Bush’s former Solicitor General Ted Olson and Eugene Scalia, son of conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Law.com reports:
Documents released by the bank show that Wolfowitz asked Gibson to review the deal in the summer of 2005. A Gibson Dunn team, including Theodore Olson and Eugene Scalia, concluded that the contract was “a reasonable resolution of the perceived underlying conflict of interest.”
Earlier this week, the Bank’s special committee investigating the scandal “concluded that the limited and after-the-fact review by Gibson ‘is squarely at odds with the high degree of … concern for the interests of’ the World Bank.”
Both Scalia and Olson are solid Bush loyalists, and it’s no surprise that they signed off on Wolfowitz’s arrangement. Some highlights of their career defending the Bush administration:
Eugene Scalia: Facing rejection from the Senate, in Jan. 2002, Bush gave Scalia a controversial recess appoint to become solicitor at the Department of Labor. Gibson, Scalia’s law firm, also represented Bush in the 2000 Supreme Court case that gave Bush the presidency. Even though Scalia benefited from the case, his father refused to recuse himself, as federal statute requires.
Ted Olson: Olson personally represented Bush in the 2000 Supreme Court case, and was then awarded the position of Solicitor General. Olson also provided “assistance” to the Paula Jones legal team in her case against former President Clinton, and “was a public supporter of his longtime friend, Kenneth Starr” during Whitewater.
But even Scalia and Olson weren’t willing to fully embrace Wolfowitz’s compensation package. They added a caveat to their conclusion that the arrangement was “a reasonable resolution”: “Our review has been limited,” Gibson Dunn partner Douglas Cox wrote in an Aug. 31 memo to Wolfowitz. “The key elements of the contract had been accepted and agreed to by all parties to the contract before we were retained.”