"JudyGate" and Rudy's "Hevesi Problem"
Political scandals (especially those involving a mistress and money) always seem to fall into two categories - the ones that are handled well and the ones that don't end well.
They also inevitably get a "gate" assigned to them (no, Gatemouth, not you). Perhaps we'll call this one "JudyGate."
Let's review the timeline:
Ben Smith researches, documents, writes and releases his story. He asked the Giuliani team to comment and they declined, instead attacking the article after it was published as a "dirty trick" and a "hit job." That was Day One.
Politico's chief released a statement: “This was a fair and carefully reported story. We gave the Giuliani campaign ample opportunity to dispute the story or comment on our reporting before publishing and they did not do so. Since the story ran, we have not heard from the campaign disputing any substantive aspect of the story.”
On Day Two, ABC News' Richard Esposito reported that Rudy had a detail assigned to his mistress before the public and ostensibly before his wife (Donna Hanover for those who need a scorecard) knew of her, and that the NYPD was essentially her "taxi service."
My Question: If no one knew about her, then why the need for security for Mistress Judy? Just sayin'.
On Day Three, Mitt Romney, with whom he has been ferociously fighting, declined to comment (but then did anyway), hinting there will be questions asked in a more watched forum. His non-statement was reported and became part of Day Three coverage:
Giuliani "hasn’t really laid out at this stage his full explanation or all that was shown," Romney continued. "So my view is, let's give the benefit of the doubt until he has a chance to do that."
In South Carolina, Rudy brushed past reporters, saying “We’ve already explained it,” and "some of his security detail manhandled reporters"
Ultimately, Day Three was overshadowed by the NH hostage mini-crisis, leading Team Rudy to breathe a sigh of relief, and perhaps to think they were out of the woods.
But then you get today - Day Four, where Messrs. Saul and Saltonstall of the Daily News reveal that city taxpayers paid for Judy to visit her kinfolk in Pennsylvania, and where Mr. Seifman and Ms. Haberman of the Post write about how taxpayers paid for a Hampton stay for longtime Rudy hack Manny Papir who was "advancing" his trysts (oy).
And Gail Collins' NYT column is a thing of beauty you just have to read for yourself.
With these increasing revelations of abuse and misuse of government assets, America is getting to know the Real Rudy - the secretive autocrat who believed that everything belongs to him, the cops and taxpayer money - and that he - to paraphrase - is "the decider."
New Yorkers know well his secretive ways - his constant refusals to respond to FOIL requests, his nastiness towards unfavored media, his lawyerly non-answers to direct questions. And don't even get started on Bernie Kerik and that whole mess.
But for those of us who care little for the privileged class in Iowa or New Hampshire, and who take a far more parochial perspective of Rudy, Judy and Bernie, we find these fact patterns to be all too familiar.
Rudy used city cars and drivers for his mistress (and before you complain, that's the term ABC is using). It's just like Alan Hevesi and Jack Chartier using state cars and drivers for their wife and girlfriend.
Hevesi and Chartier lost their job for their behavior, and the only reason Rudy didn't is because "the people" didn't know. It didn’t come to light during the Giuliani administration because they used accounting tricks and sleight of hand to hide the expenses, and when challenged, used the classic Rudy tactic - simply refusing to answer the questions posed to them in 2001 and 2002 and later attacking the motivations of those behind the allegations when they did come to light (six to eight years later).
What will Day Five bring? Rudy may not want to answer questions now, but this story isn't going to die. Especially here in New York if the GOP nomination contest drags on through February 5th . . .
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