Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Bipartisan opportunism and Haiti?

Just arrived in reggaeland under the cover of darkness last night, flying through a crimson sunset that turned, all of a sudden to night. I spied a recent posting by the investigative journalist Lucy Komisar on her blog that suggests the money trail surrounding Haiti's ousted president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, which saw the public relations firms of former U.S. congressmen and head of the Congressional Black Caucus Ron Dellums receive $989,323 for three year's lobbying, may have by no means been a merely partisan affair, as any student of realpolitik can appreciate.

Komisar suggests that Alice Fisher, head of the Justice Department's Criminal Division and a Bush political appointee, served as as a partner at Latham & Watkins in 2004, then the Wall Street counsel for IDT, the world's third ranked international phone company. The company, as Komisar notes has been "accused in two lawsuits of paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in kickbacks to former Haitian president Aristide beginning in 2003 to get a sweetheart deal with Teleco, the Haitian government phone company." The Securities and Exchange Commission, the United States Attorney in Newark, NJ, and a federal grand jury are investigating the charges.

The CEO of IDT, James Courter, is a prominent for Republican congressmen from New Jersey, and prominent Republicans on IDT's board include former UN ambassador Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, former New York congressman and Republican vice presidential nominee Jack F. Kemp, former Virginia governor James S. Gilmore III, and former Minnesota senator Rudy Boschwitz

Some have charged that Fisher is blocking an agreement to share seized Haitian drug money that would help Haiti pursue the bribery case in US courts. This is an interesting development that bears watching to see where it will head.

No comments: