December 22, 2007Read More: Rudy Giuliani
Rudy revisited Ben Smith (Politico.com)
A quick departure from the hills of Iowa to return to my November 30 story on Rudy Giuliani's unusual accounting for travel, which the Times revisited in a short item and chart yesterday.
The Times graphic didn't cite the Politico piece or contradict its reporting, either on the billing practices, or the questions the City Comptroller raised about them. But I wanted quickly to touch on the difference between the pieces. The reporter, Russ Buettner, focuses on Giuliani's first Hamptons trips (the Times appears to include some official travel here, to go into the weeds) which, were -- unlike later ones -- billed directly to the mayor's office. He speculates that this means that concealing the affair was "not likely" the goal of the accounting. The Times doesn't offer an alternative explanation.
"It's still not clear why Mr. Giuliani's office did that," Buettner writes.
A range of city budget veterans have said the likeliest motive for the unusual billing was some sort of concealment, but neither Russ nor I seem have talked to anyone who could recall the actual decision to use money from obscure agencies to prepay city credit cards. Intent aside, the maneuver covered a period in which travel expenses ballooned and Giuliani had begun spending unusual (for him) amounts of time out of the city for two reasons: his romance and his Senate campaign.
So the facts and the documents are out there; I'm reluctant to jump back into the speculation and argue over the intent of Giuliani's aides. For their part, they declined to explain the practice in the original story, and still haven't explained to our satisfaction or the Times' why they billed obscure offices in the first place.
By Ben Smith 09:34 AM comments (1) post comment permalink
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