and Asher met in 2002 when Asher demonstrated his Matrix database software for
the former mayor, who was reportedly impressed enough to strike a business
deal: Giuliani Partners would represent Asher's company, Seisint, as part of a
very lucrative arrangement. GP got $2 million per year, a commission on
Seisint's government sales, plus stock options that were worth a bundle after
LexisNexis bought Seisint in 2004.
association with Asher became somewhat controversial lately, after Asher's name
popped up in a California public corruption indictment. But the business partnership
looks even more interesting today, in light of this report in Time.
GP pulled in more than $30 million for just one year's work
on Seisint's behalf, company records show.... But the Seisint deal wasn't as
perfect as it seemed. One problem: the payment of percentages or commissions to
"solicit or secure" government contracts is prohibited by federal law
and laws of some states. Tom Susman, ethics chairman of the American League of
Lobbyists, says the bar on commissions is intended to eliminate incentives for
middlemen to bend the rules to land a contract. A GP official who refused to be
named insists that the firm never received "commissions" from Seisint
-- despite what Brauser and Latham remember and despite the fact that payments
to GP are labeled "commissions" in both the minutes of a Seisint
board meeting and a key financial statement.
Instead, says the official, GP earned "special
bonuses" based on the achievement of corporate "milestones."
Giuliani's firm lobbied to help Seisint secure lucrative government contracts.
Seisint, in turn, paid the firm "commissions." But now Giuliani's
team want to redefine the word, in order to make it legal -- they weren't
"commissions," they were "special bonuses." Even by Giuliani
standards, this kind of lying is just insulting.
was using Giuliani's name to open doors and secure contracts, but Giuliani
insists he was never a lobbyist, and never registered as a lobbyist.
But this doesn't
add up. Giuliani's firm pulled in $30 million thanks to Seisint. How, exactly,
does Giuliani justify all of this money? If it wasn't money earned by
commission, and it wasn't generated by lobbyist fees, what was Seisint paying
$30 million for?
registered as a lobbyist because even though he and his clients were using his
name to advance their interests with the federal and state governments, he
claimed he never actually lobbied. And now the commissions he got for securing
government contracts through his savvy "not lobbying" aren't really
commissions but "special bonuses."
if you can get it. Unless it all turns out to be illegal.
this case, given all the lobbying Giuliani did, it might very well be.
exactly why Giuliani has tried to keep his business work secret and free of
public scrutiny. His client list, that we know of, includes the makers of
OxyContin (Giuliani personally met with the DEA chief when the agency launched
a criminal investigation of the company), an official in Qatar with known ties
to Osama bin Laden and other terrorists, and a cocaine smuggler with a database
company that apparently paid Giuliani $30 million for work he claims not to
Giuliani even has the chutzpah to run for public office (worse yet, the
presidency) with this record is amazing. And how any thinking person could even
consider voting for him is a mystery.