Giuliani Prioritizes Fundraising Over Iraq Strategy

giulianiNewsday reports new details behind Rudy Giuliani’s departure from the Iraq Study Group last May, after serving just two months on the panel. Giuliani failed to show up for a single official meeting of the group, prompting the chairman of the panel — James Baker — to “give him a stark choice: either attend the meetings or quit.”

Giuliani resigned in a May 24 letter to Baker, explaining that “my previous time commitments do not permit me the full and active participation that the Iraq Study Group deserves.”

Newsday reports that Giuliani’s alleged “previous time commitments” were simply fundraisers that conflicted with the Iraq Study Group’s meetings. The ISG held three sessions during Giuliani’s tenure in 2006 but that he did not show up for: working sessions on April 11 and 12, and May 18 and 19. “The sessions at times conflicted with Giuliani’s lucrative speaking tour that garnered him $11.4 million in 14 months.”

Giuliani failed to show up for a pair of two-day sessions that occurred during his tenure, the sources said — and both times, they conflicted with paid public appearances shown on his recent financial disclosure. Giuliani quit the group during his busiest stretch in 2006, when he gave 20 speeches in a single month that brought in $1.7 million.

On one day the [Iraq Study Group] gathered in Washington — May 18, 2006 — Giuliani delivered a $100,000 speech on leadership at an Atlanta business awards breakfast. Later that day, he attended a $100-a-ticket Atlanta political fundraiser for conservative ally Ralph Reed, whom Giuliani hoped would provide a major boost to his presidential campaign.

The month before, Giuliani skipped the [Iraq Study Group’s] session to give the April 12 keynote speech at an economic conference in South Korea for $200,000, his financial disclosure shows.

Giuliani’s campaign said that the former New York mayor did participate in Iraq Study Group activities but refused Newsday’s repeated requests to explain how.

Stephen Hess, a scholar at Brookings, said quitting the group is a reflection of Giuliani’s poor leadership and decision-making. “Leaving that study group was not exactly an act of courage.”

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