Friday, December 28, 2007

Reporters are starting to look into Rudy G's influence-peddling, which means that some reporters are starting to do their job


Yes, it's the famous Giuliani Partners, in 2004--with Rudy's right-hand guy Bernie (where else?) at his right, before moving on to his new career as a public embarrassment.

"It was all because of Giuliani. And he got to take the money."
--Ed Bisch, "whose son died of an OxyContin overdose," as reported by Barry Meier and Eric Lipton in today's New York Times, and who "said that he believed that [OxyContin maker] Purdue [Pharma] got a free pass for years thanks to Mr. Giuliani"

Okay, let's stipulate that the Mayor of 9/11 didn't do anything illegal, and possibly even--by prevailing standards--nothing egregiously unethical. There are even suggestions that in allowing his consulting firm, Giuliani Partners, to take on Purdeu Pharma as a client, and in playing an active role himself in pushing back against a rising tide of public outcry and legal jeopardy, was acting honorably.
"Everything I did with Giuliani Partners has been totally legal, totally ethical," Mr. Giuliani recently told The Associated Press. "There's nothing for me to explain about it. We've acted honorably, decently."

In the OxyContin case, Mr. Giuliani's supporters suggest that as a cancer survivor himself, he was driven by a noble goal: to keep the company's proven pain reliever available to the widest circle of sufferers.

"I understand the pain and distress that accompanies illness," Mr. Giuliani said at the time. "I know that proper medications are necessary for people to treat their sickness and improve their quality of life."

But the NYT reporters, in their extended look at Giuliani Partners' and Giuliani's hugely profitable involvement with Purdue Pharma, "the company's first and longest-running client," suggest that it "provides a window into how he used his standing as an eminent lawyer, a Republican insider and a national celebrity to aid a controversial client and build a business fortune."
A former top federal prosecutor, Mr. Giuliani participated in two meetings between Purdue officials and the head of the Drug Enforcement Administration, the agency investigating the company. Giuliani Partners took on the job of monitoring security improvements at company facilities making OxyContin, an issue of concern to the D.E.A.

As a celebrity, Mr. Giuliani helped the company win several public relations battles, playing a role in an effort by Purdue to persuade an influential Pennsylvania congressman, Curt Weldon, not to blame it for OxyContin abuse.

Purdue turned to Giuliani Partners in 2002, six years into
what D.E.A. officials described as perhaps the most aggressive promotional campaign for a high-powered narcotic ever undertaken. It promoted the drug not only to pain specialists, but to family doctors with little experience in treating serious pain or recognizing drug abuse.

As a result of the expanded access, critics charged, OxyContin wound up in the high schools and street corners of rural America where curious teenagers crushed the pill, defeating the time-release formula, and ended up addicts, or in some cases, dead.

Complicating the company's problem was a rising tide of charges regarding not just its marketing of OxyContin but what the reporters describe as D.E.A.'s inspectors' finding of "widespread security and record-keeping problems at the company's manufacturing plants." Giuliani Partners "became involved in every aspect of the company's problem."

Of course, to deal with Purdue's plant security issues, Giuliani Partners could deploy its own Mr. Security, Bernie "Love Nest" Kerik, who of course hadn't yet become the public embarrassment we know and love. And Giuliani's own active participation--both publicly ("It is clear to us," Purdue lawyer Howard R. Udell was quoted as saying in a Giuliani Partners promotional brochure, "and we hope it is clear to the government, that Giuliani would not take an assignment with a company that he felt was acting in an improper way") and in the form of personal contact with government lawyers including D.E.A. chief Asa Hutchinson--seems to have been worth whatever Purdue paid, however much that was. "Giuliani Partners would not say how much Purdue had paid it, but one consultant to the drug maker estimated that Mr. Giuliani's firm had, in some years, earned several million dollars from the account."

The D.E.A. official in charge of the Purdue inquiry is said to have recommended a $20 million fine for the record-keeping problems. In 2004, two years into the Giuliani Partners pushback, the company paid a $2 million fine, naturally without admitting any wrongdoing.

About the one person the company couldn't neutralize was the fairly obscure U.S. attorney for western Virginia, John L. Brownlee.
For years, Mr. Brownlee and his small team had been building a case that the maker of the painkiller OxyContin had misled the public when it claimed the drug was less prone to abuse than competing narcotics. The drug was believed to be a factor in hundreds of deaths involving its abuse.

Clearly Giuliani and his clients expected Brownlee to be awed by Rudy's stature.
Between June and October 2006, Mr. Giuliani met or spoke with the prosecutor on six occasions. During those conversations, Mr. Giuliani was cordial but pointed in arguing against what he felt were flaws in the case.

Mr. Brownlee would not change course, though, even when the Purdue legal team appealed, unsuccessfully, at the 11th hour to his superiors at the Justice Department in Washington.

In October 2006, Mr. Brownlee told Mr. Giuliani and Purdue that he expected to ask for a grand jury indictment by the end of the month. Plea discussions ensued and Mr. Brownlee ultimately agreed that the three executives would not have to do jail time.

In the settlement, Purdue and the targeted executives agreed to pay $634.5 million, and the company "after years of denial and a high-profile public relations campaign, was forced to admit that it had misled doctors and patients.

Measured against Purdue's presumed billions in OxyContin profits, and especially in the absence of any jail time, a lot of people--including parents of children who had become casualties of OxyContin abuse--cried out that the company had bought its way out of much bigger trouble, with particular focus on the role of Giuliani, prompting this rather remarkable statement from U.S. District Court Judge James P. Jones: "It has been implied that because Mr. Giuliani is a prominent national politician, Purdue may have received a favorable deal from the government solely because of politics. I completely reject this claim."

Among those unpersuaded was Ed Bisch, whose son died of an OxyContin overdose. He's the fellow who said, "It was all because of Giuliani. And he got to take the money."

Indeed he did. As the Times reporters point out, growing attention has been paid recently to the clients serviced and services performed by Giuliani Partners:
Giuliani Partners carved out a lucrative niche in corporate consulting, crisis management and security.

In the process, Mr. Giuliani, a Brooklyn native whose legal career had largely been spent in government, became a corporate trouble-shooter with homes in the Hamptons and on the Upper East Side. According to financial disclosure forms filed in May, his net worth was more than $30 million.

Again, there may have been no illegal activity involved, and our Rudy insists there was nothing unethical either. But at the very least, it's unsavory. How many stories like the Purdue one await public airing? What it amounts to is the good old American practice of taking the money and running.

Well, maybe Rudy is entitled to cash in on his years of public service. It seems to me an appalling qualification for any future public office. Like the presidency, to pick a random example.

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At 8:23 AM, Anonymous Al said...

Geez, let's take a story where a person did nothing illegal or unethical and spin into a hit piece. The Company was fined $643,000,000!

Are you simply anti capitalism or do you just reserve this kind of attitude for Republicans?

At 10:27 AM, Blogger keninny said...

If by "capitalism," you mean rampant criminality and who gives a shit about the victims, I guess, yeah, I have a problem.

Aren't there ANY right-wing loons capable of paying even a LITTLE bit of attention? I noted that RUDY didn't break any laws as far as I know. OF COURSE Purdue broke laws.

For the benefit of lazy or dishonest readers, let me say it again: OF COURSE Purdue broke laws. Slews of them. Some of them the kinds of laws for which people normally go to prison. Apparently they were under the impression that those laws didn't apply to them. Why on earth do you suppose they paid those fines?

For those crimes they raked in--and continue to rake in--billions in profits; by comparison, the fines and penalties they paid were a pittance, a cost of doing business. And for those crimes no one did a day's worth of time.

So Rudy made himself, at least after the fact, the mouthpiece and muscle for criminal activity that resulted, among other things, in the deaths of children. In my book, that's Grade A sleaze. I am stupefied by the sort of depraved mind that DOESN'T see the scandal.

And a pattern of this behavior--remember, the clean-up that Giuliani Partners did for Purdue is just one of their "success" stories--should surely be an automatic disqualification for a scumbag with the chutzpah to offer himself as a candidate for president.

Of course, in much the way that Roman Hruska argued that "mediocre" people were entitled to have a Supreme Court justice representing them, I suppose scumbags are entitled to a political voice. Let's just hope that it's not a terribly loud voice.


At 3:15 PM, Anonymous cbear said...

Ken, great response to Al.

Al, you dumb fuck.

At 4:01 PM, Anonymous Al said...

Perhaps you need to re-read my post. I said nothing about the drug company except that they paid a hefty fine! It should be quite clear to even to a left winger with blinders on that my statement on capitalism refered to a REPUBLICAN. Do I really have to point out that the REPUBLICAN would not be a company but would be RUDY!

No, I am talking about the kind of capitalism that allows a man to start a consulting business and provide services to a large drug company for a fee.

The only Grade A sleaze here is your pathetic and disingenuous attempt at "guilt by association".

At 4:04 PM, Anonymous Al said...

Gee cbear, you sound like a real articulate and intelligent left winger. We need more like you talking for the left! Really, I mean it.

At 6:24 PM, Anonymous cbear said...

Golly gee Al, you sound like, well, like a dumb fuck.
And quite frankly, your lame attempt to explain or clarify your initial comment with a second post is just a descent into more dumb fuckery.
We got it the first time you asswipe.

Go play in traffic, or shave Limbaugh's balls, or whatever it is you dumb fuck retards do when not interrupting your betters.

At 9:45 PM, Anonymous ida jurie said...

cbear! I commend you but I'm tempted to say "save your breath". When ya gonna learn? :) I suspect Repug fanatics, Bush, Rudy, or otherwise, are just incapable of empathy for others. Too busy worshiping socio-paths, I guess.
Ooops. Gotta go now and try to teach some pigs how to sing.

At 4:16 AM, Anonymous Al said...

Wow, more brilliant insight and facinating prose from cbear. Now go take your meds.

At 9:00 AM, Blogger Dr. Tex Nology said...

Gee al, you sound like a real articulate and intelligent
dumb fuck.

At 9:16 AM, Anonymous james_boston said...

Al, I apologize for the behavior of my fellow Liberals. However, you are still a dumb fuck.

At 5:01 PM, Anonymous Al said...

Come on, you guys are all the same person right? There can't be that many of you prefrontal lobotomity types around!

At 10:29 PM, Anonymous james_boston said...

I'm sorry this has gotten so off-topic. Al, you dumb fuck, let's be friends. Though you're wrong and can't see corruption unless it involves the Clintons, that really makes you no different from every other hypocritical Republican dumb fuck out there. Just like how you can't hold a six year old responsible for his actions, we as a society just can't hold you right-wing moral midgets responsible for your ethical and moral lapses because y'all are so far gone, you can no longer tell right from wrong.

At 7:30 AM, Anonymous Al said...

Hey James, I am at least moral enough and educated enough not to have to resort to low class 4-letter words to make a point.

I would be proud for my mom to read my posts, can you say the same?

At 12:40 PM, Anonymous james_boston said...

Can't help it...I got my gutter mouth from my Irish grandma you dumb corrupt fuck.


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