The New York Times debunks the Politico story that hit the day of the You tube Debates. Rudy Giuliani’s slide in the Presidential polls began this day as the internets were full of the story that Rudy used public funds to hide his affair with his then girlfriend, Judith Nathan.
Now, Byron York moans: Why Isn’t Anyone Paying Attention to This?
This was not exactly bannered across the front page of the New York Times yesterday. As a matter of fact, I don’t think I saw it in my paper at all. But on the Times’ website, dated December 20, there is this headline: “Giuliani’s Office Shifted Money Around? Yes. To Hide Hamptons Trips? Unlikely.”
If a look around the blogs is correct, it appears that no one has paid any attention to this story, which seems odd, given the frenzy over the issue a while back. It’s in the Times’ “Multimedia” box in the Politics section and difficult (for me at least) to cut and paste, or to link to directly, but here it is, in its entirety:
Of course, the New York Times buries the piece but Flap will reprint it here:
The headlines have dogged Rudolph W. Giuliani’s presidential campaign for weeks. “Security costs for trysts draw attention,” said one. The articles questioned whether, as mayor, Mr. Giuliani tried to hide his visits to Judith Nathan in the Hamptons by burying the associated security costs in the budgets of obscure mayoral agencies like the Loft Board.
The answer is not likely, according to a review of the city records originally cited as the basis for the assertion.
All eight of Mr. Giuliani’s trips to the Hamptons in 1999 and 2000, including the period when his relationship was a secret, were charged to his own mayoral expense account, according to the records.
After his affair became public, the mayor’s office in 2001 did charge several trips to the Hamptons to the Assigned Counsel Plan, which was designed to coordinate legal efforts for the poor.
But the total cost of those trips, $2,474, represents less than 1 percent of the $281,338 in travel expenses that was charged to the obscure agencies.
And those expenses were not incurred until two years after Mr. Giuliani’s office first began to shift some mayoral travel expenses to lesser-known units.
It’s still not clear why Mr. Giuliani’s office did that, or why it began prepaying his American express bills, both practices that other administrations frowned upon. Former Giuliani administration officials say the shifting of expenses was a temporary, and appropriate maneuver until the Police Department reimbursed the mayor’s office for the security expenses.
The Bloomberg administration is still looking for the backup records for $40,000 of the $632,119 in travel costs that Mr. Giuliani’s office incurred between May 1999 and December 2001, when Mr. Giuliani left office.
But the records reviewed so far, which account for 93 percent of the mayor travel expenses for that period, suggest that Mr. Giuliani’s efforts to see Ms. Nathan, who is now his wife, had nothing to do with any accounting legerdemain.
But, the damage has been done:
- By distracting the Mayor at the You Tube debates where he involved himself in an illegal alien pissing match with Mitt Romney and lost some of his likeability.
- Reminding voters daily for a few weeks through the New York tabloids pickled up by Drudge and the internets that Giuliani had a sordid personal life six years ago and that he has been married three times. Mitt Romney, “Mr. Mormon Holier than Thou” would showcase his “perfect” family to the press – twisting the knife in the Mayor’s back.
- Putting the Mayor on defense, allowing a virtual unknown Southern Baptist pastor to “become a moral story.”
Will Rudy be able to recover?
Probably not in small early states which will be dominated by the Mitt Romney (Mormon) vs Mike Huckabee (Southern Baptist) moral, religious political war. The winner will be the most righteous but more likely the least electable in the general election.
Will the moderates of the GOP, migrate to John McCain who also has marriage difficulties and infidelity in his background?
Time will tell.
But, the Mayor was “HIT” in classic GOP style by the Politico. However, Flap would NOT count him out.
Remember the frenzy over suggestions that, as mayor, Rudy Giuliani tried to hide his visits to Judith Nathan in the Hamptons by burying the associated security costs in the budgets of obscure mayoral agencies? Well, the New York Times has looked deeply into the matter and concluded, based on the relevant city records, that “all eight of Mr. Giuliani’s trips to the Hamptons in 1999 and 2000, including the period when his relationship was a secret, were charged to his own mayoral expense account, according to the records.” The Times adds: “the records reviewed so far, which account for 93 percent of the mayor travel expenses for that period, suggest that Mr. Giuliani’s efforts to see Ms. Nathan, who is now his wife, had nothing to do with any accounting legerdemain.”
Unfortunately, readers must work their back to page A-21 in order to learn this. Where do you suppose the Times would have placed the story if the evidence had pointed the other way?
The New York Times exonerates Rudy Giuliani from charges that he moved travel expenses around through subsidiary agencies in order to hide his affair with his now-wife, Judith. People looking for that exoneration on their feedreaders will find themselves frustrated. Not only did the Times bury the story on one of its blogs, it put it in a graphic format that doesn’t allow for copy-and-paste.
In fact, the amount of money transferred through those agencies represent an insignificant percentage of the total cost of those travel expenses. Furthermore, the Times found that Giuliani had started spreading the costs of travel through subsidiary agencies two years before his affair with Judith, which makes it rather obvious that the motive was not to hide his infidelity. Russ Buettner ends by concluding that Giuliani’s accounting had nothing to do with his relationship to Judith.
One might believe that these conclusions might make a few headlines, given all of the attention paid to these allegations. Anderson Cooper asked Giuliani about this pseudoscandal during the nationally-televised CNN/YouTube debate, after all, and Giuliani’s record as mayor might be of particular interest to a New York City newspaper. Instead, the Times seemed to go out of its way to hide this report and its exoneration of Giuliani on accusations of manipulating public records for his own personal motivations.
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