The AP reports that former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani stood with Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour (R) yesterday, calling Barbour an ideal running mate:
Responding to the question about a possible running mate, Giuliani said: “Gov. Barbour will be on the top of everybody’s list.”
Selecting Barbour as a running mate would instantly bring the stain of corruption to any presidential ticket. A former chair of the Republican National Committee and a longtime uber-lobbyist, the Mississippi Governor has a record rife with corruption and cronyism that includes exploiting the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to profit his allies. Here are some lowlights:
Family members and lobbyists profited from Katrina tragedy: “Among the beneficiaries are Barbour’s own family and friends, who have earned hundreds of thousands of dollars from hurricane-related business. A nephew, one of two who are lobbyists, saw his fees more than double in the year after his uncle appointed him to a special reconstruction panel.”
Owned controlling interest in 2002 New Hampshire phone jamming company: For nearly two hours on election day 2002, subcontractors for the telemarketing firm GOP Marketplace tied-up Democratic and union phone banks with repeated hang up calls. Multiple GOP officials eventually either pled guilty to or were convicted of criminally violating federal communications law. Barbour’s investment group, Helm Partners, was not only a major investor in GOP Marketplace, but it also held a controlling interest in the firm.
As a lobbyist, he represented firm indicted in Tom DeLay’s money laundering scandal: As a lobbyist for Barbour Griffith & Rogers, Barbour represented The Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care Inc., “a corporate coalition of 14 of the country’s largest for-profit nursing home companies.” The Alliance wrote a check for $100,000 “ended up illegally funding Republican candidates for the Texas statehouse” in 2002. The check was eventually used as evidence in the case that led to indictments for money laundering against former Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX).
A former tobacco lobbyist, he killed Mississippi’s successful anti-smoking program: From 1998 to 2002, Barbour’s lobbying firm “was paid a total of $3.8 million by the tobacco companies.” As governor of Mississippi, he led an effort to defund and ultimately kill the state’s anti-smoking program, considered to be “the nation’s most successful anti-smoking programs.”
Directed large amounts of reconstruction funds to wealthy homeowners: Barbour and Mississippi’s two Republican Senators steered an “unprecedented” $23.5 billion in federal reconstruction aid, but by waiving a HUD requirement that “70 percent of the funds are supposed to be allocated to low- and moderate-income people.” Barbour “badly skewed” the funds towards “wealthy homeowners,” with only 25 percent reaching “the poorer segments of the population.”
Today, reconstruction efforts in Mississippi are still moving painfully slow. In May, Salon reported that Barbour was heralded by conservatives as “to Katrina what Rudy Giuliani was to 9/11.” Indeed, with Giuliani’s profit-centered and selfish management of 9/11, this may be the most fitting description yet.