America Spent $35 million on <em>Foundation for the Future</em> Where Wolfowitz Lover Worked — but State Department Does Not Know Where the Office is Located

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wolfowitz hmm.jpg
Beyond the question of what Shaha Riza’s compensation was and how she got it — is what she has been doing and for whom. She was reportedly seconded to the multi-nationally supported “Foundation for the Future,” which was really a part of America’s public diplomacy game plan.
For those interested, this is a pdf of the “Chair’s Summary” from the “Third Forum for the Future” held November 30-December 1, 2006 at Dead Sea, Jordan.
The roster of donors to the Foundation for the Future, launched with $56 million, included a seed grant from the U.S. for $35 million:

United States: $35 million
European Commission: 1 million euros
Spain: $1 million
United Kingdom: $1 million
Switzerland: $1 million
Denmark :$2 million
Netherlands: $1 million
Greece: $1.5 million
Turkey: $500,000
Italy: TBD
Hungary: In kind
Jordan: $1 million
Qatar: $10 million
Bahrain: TBD

But strangely, few seem to know much about the Foundation for the Future at the State Department. To be fair, maybe some do — but in this interesting exchange between a journalist and State Department Deputy Press Spokesman Tom Casey, it is clear that the Foundation for the Future is not a high priority at State.
Here is the interesting exchange highlighting that no one seems to know how to make a call to the Foundation for the Future — (does Shaha Riza have an office or phone extension wherever this office may be?):

QUESTION: I wanted to ask you something kind of on the margins of the whole World Bank Shaha Riza matter, and that is that, as you remember, Secretary Rice announced the formation or at least the launch of this Foundation for the Future in, I think, November of 2005.
And at least as far as — well, it’s very hard to find this foundation. You go to their website. They have a website but there’s no phone numbers, there’s no address. They appear to have not given out any grants.
They haven’t set up office, that at least one can find. And considering it was launched with some fanfare at the time, I’m just curious if you could bring us up to speed a little bit as to what this foundation consists of and where you — where it seems to be going. I don’t even — it’s hard to see how much money it is that the U.S. has put into this, for one.
MR. CASEY: Neil, I actually haven’t, unfortunately, briefed myself on the latest activities from the Foundation. Look, as you know, this was something that has emerged out of the Forum for the Future process.
t has an international board of directors representing — with representatives from most of the participating regional countries there as well as an executive directorate. In terms of the amount of money involved at this point and some of the specific grant programs, I’ll have to look into it for you. I just don’t have that at my fingertips. Sorry.
QUESTION: Are you taking the question?
MR. CASEY: Yes, I’m taking the question.
QUESTION: But is Ms. Shaha a consultant or a fulltime employee of the board? What is her status?
MR. CASEY: My understanding is she is an individual seconded by the World Bank as an advisor to the board of directors of the Foundation for the Future.
QUESTION: But she’s not on the board?
MR. CASEY: No.
QUESTION: So her official title is advisor or consultant?
MR. CASEY: My best understanding is advisor to the board, yeah.
QUESTION: So what does she do as the advisor? I mean, does she help advise on grants, or do you know what her job is?
MR. CASEY: I do not have a job description for her, no. Again, I think that’s a question you could ask some of the board members.
QUESTION: Do you know where the office is?
MR. CASEY: No, but I don’t know where the office is for a number of parts of the State Department offhand, Matt. So I will get you — I will get you guys more information.
QUESTION: Isn’t there an agreement for the office to be based in Beirut?
MR. CASEY: I’d have to check. I honestly don’t know the details on the specifics of the foundation.

One question beyond the Wolfowitz-Riza Scandal is how many “consultants” does the Department of State (or other Departments like DoD, DoE, and others) have along these lines?
Remember the odd case of Matthew Freedman working under then Under Secretary of State John Bolton’s office? Few knew what he did or what his responsibilities were justifying his six figure consultant’s salary — which he maintained while consulting private firms that had business with the government.
How much of this is happening throughout the government?
— Steve Clemons
(Ed Note: Thanks to PGS for sending much of this material.)

Comments

24 comments on “America Spent $35 million on <em>Foundation for the Future</em> Where Wolfowitz Lover Worked — but State Department Does Not Know Where the Office is Located

  1. bankskeptic says:

    A few more notes to ponder:
    The Foundation for the Future (which Ms. Riza is being paid so well to run) has made no grants (although it has been given $35 million from US funds and another $21 million from other countries). It has a posted Request for Applications (RFA) on its website, that says that the application forms are also on its website; they aren’t. So no grants, no application forms. (Maybe they don’t need application forms because they already know where the money is going to go.)
    So where is this money going?
    Well, let’s see who the one and only listed staff person is on their website: Bakhtiar Amin. Mr. Amin is one of the Iraqis who supported the US invasion and was the Minister for Human Rights during the interim government (not now). He is also the person who said Abu Ghraib was looking much improved. So, exactly how much is the Foundation paying him? And for what?
    And could this be the reason that Ms. Riza went there? To help steer some more millions in soft money to Iraqi war apologists and friends of the Bush Administration? That would explain why she and Mr. Wolfowitz would find this a worthwhile risk.
    Just curious.
    See foundationforfuture.org
    BankSkeptic

    Reply

  2. TokyoTom says:

    Steve, allow me to note that Pat Buchanan is also your ally on this:
    http://www.townhall.com/columnists/PatrickJBuchanan/2007/04/17/wolfies_bank

    Reply

  3. reticulant says:

    *** Domain Name:FOUNDATIONFORFUTURE.ORG
    Created On:22-Aug-2006 17:12:20 UTC
    Last Updated On:13-Jan-2007 00:22:51 UTC
    Expiration Date:22-Aug-2012 17:12:20 UTC
    Registrant Name:BMENA Foundation for future
    Registrant Organization:BMENA Foundation for future
    Registrant Street1:1350 Connecticut Ave
    Registrant Street2:Suite 1000
    Registrant Street3:
    Registrant City:Washington
    Registrant State/Province:DC
    Registrant Postal Code:20036
    Registrant Country:US
    Registrant Phone:+1.2022347370
    Registrant Phone Ext.:
    *** Foundation for the Future web site
    [ http://www.foundationforfuture.org/index.html ]
    *** April 13, 2007 Daily Press Briefing, Taken Question: Foundation for the Future
    [ http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2007/apr/83050.htm ]
    (excerpted)
    Q: Provide an update on the operations of Foundation for the Future organization.
    – The Foundation for the Future is an independent, not-for-profit, grant-making foundation that supports civil society organizations in their efforts to foster democracy and freedom in the broader Middle East and North Africa.
    -It was launched by Secretary Rice and other ministers from the Broader Middle East and Europe at the December 2005 Forum for the Future in Bahrain.
    – The Foundation has a distinguished board including Chairman Anwar Ibrahim and former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. The majority of board members come from the Broader Middle East.
    – We understand that the Foundation will hire a Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer next month.
    Q: Where is the Foundation headquarters located?
    – In July 2006 the board voted to establish the Foundation’s headquarters in Beirut. Until the Lebanese government issues a license, the Foundation will operate temporarily out of Amman.
    *** Excecutive Committee of the Foundation for the Future Meets in Geneva to Initiate First Programs
    Geneva, February 21, 2007
    [ http://www.foundationforfuture.org/press_releases/2_21_07.html ]
    *** Foundation for the Future Board of Directors
    [ http://www.foundationforfuture.org/bios/board_of_directors.html ]
    *** Foundation for the Future executive search c/o Global Recruitment Specialists; 501 Westport Avenue, Suite 285; Norwalk, Connecticut (CT) 06851 USA
    [ http://www.foundationforfuture.org/employment.html ]
    *** State.gov targeted search “Foundation for the Future”
    [ http://tinyurl.com/2s3szt ]
    *** Broader Middle East and North Africa (BMENA) Initiative/Forum for the Future/Foundation for the Future
    [ http://bmena.state.gov/ ]
    *** BMENA contacts
    Senior Advisor for BMENA Deborah L. Emmert; SA22 @ 1800 G Street NW; 202-312-9867
    Senior Advisor Christian Whiton; Rm. 7250 @ 7th Floor, State, 2201 C Street NW; 202-647-6338

    Reply

  4. reticulant says:

    *** Domain Name:FOUNDATIONFORFUTURE.ORG
    Created On:22-Aug-2006 17:12:20 UTC
    Last Updated On:13-Jan-2007 00:22:51 UTC
    Expiration Date:22-Aug-2012 17:12:20 UTC
    Registrant Name:BMENA Foundation for future
    Registrant Organization:BMENA Foundation for future
    Registrant Street1:1350 Connecticut Ave
    Registrant Street2:Suite 1000
    Registrant Street3:
    Registrant City:Washington
    Registrant State/Province:DC
    Registrant Postal Code:20036
    Registrant Country:US
    Registrant Phone:+1.2022347370
    Registrant Phone Ext.:
    *** Foundation for the Future web site
    [ http://www.foundationforfuture.org/index.html ]
    *** April 13, 2007 Daily Press Briefing, Taken Question: Foundation for the Future
    [ http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2007/apr/83050.htm ]
    (excerpted)
    Q: Provide an update on the operations of Foundation for the Future organization.
    – The Foundation for the Future is an independent, not-for-profit, grant-making foundation that supports civil society organizations in their efforts to foster democracy and freedom in the broader Middle East and North Africa.
    -It was launched by Secretary Rice and other ministers from the Broader Middle East and Europe at the December 2005 Forum for the Future in Bahrain.
    – The Foundation has a distinguished board including Chairman Anwar Ibrahim and former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. The majority of board members come from the Broader Middle East.
    – We understand that the Foundation will hire a Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer next month.
    Q: Where is the Foundation headquarters located?
    – In July 2006 the board voted to establish the Foundation’s headquarters in Beirut. Until the Lebanese government issues a license, the Foundation will operate temporarily out of Amman.
    *** Excecutive Committee of the Foundation for the Future Meets in Geneva to Initiate First Programs
    Geneva, February 21, 2007
    [ http://www.foundationforfuture.org/press_releases/2_21_07.html ]
    *** Foundation for the Future Board of Directors
    [ http://www.foundationforfuture.org/bios/board_of_directors.html ]
    *** Foundation for the Future executive search c/o Global Recruitment Specialists; 501 Westport Avenue, Suite 285; Norwalk, Connecticut (CT) 06851 USA
    [ http://www.foundationforfuture.org/employment.html ]
    *** State.gov targeted search “Foundation for the Future”
    [ http://tinyurl.com/2s3szt ]
    *** Broader Middle East and North Africa (BMENA) Initiative/Forum for the Future/Foundation for the Future
    [ http://bmena.state.gov/ ]
    *** BMENA contacts
    Senior Advisor for BMENA Deborah L. Emmert; SA22 @ 1800 G Street NW; 202-312-9867
    Senior Advisor Christian Whiton; Rm. 7250 @ 7th Floor, State, 2201 C Street NW; 202-647-6338

    Reply

  5. Pissed Off American says:

    Steve, I have no idea how you can shrink a URL after it has been posted.

    Reply

  6. Pissed Off American says:

    Job description? Skills? How bout ‘Must give good head’..she’s moving to the top horizontally. And to think other women actually go out and do productive work for a fraction of her salary…the fools!
    Posted by karenk
    Gosh, head isn’t productive?
    Darn.

    Reply

  7. karenk says:

    Job description? Skills? How bout ‘Must give good head’..she’s moving to the top horizontally. And to think other women actually go out and do productive work for a fraction of her salary…the fools!

    Reply

  8. Brigitte N. says:

    The U.S. needs a fresh approach to public diplomacy after the United States Information Agency was dismantled when the Cold War ended with its remnants put under the umbrella of the Department of State. But unless such efforts are put into the hands of capable professionals and made independent of the Wolfowitzes, Cheneys, like-minded cold-warrior leftovers and their recruits from various friendship and kindship circles, all these funds are wasted as were billions earmarked for reconstruction in Iraq.

    Reply

  9. Pissed Off American says:

    This WP article lists the address for the offices of the “Foundation for the Future” as being in the Henry L. Stimson Center, in DC.
    http://tinyurl.com/2gtpaq
    I smell a giant rat on this deal. A 56 million dollar primer, a Cheney involved, only two board meetings in 1 1/2 years, no grants yet endowed, internet searches turning up shared addresses and phone numbers with other “foundations”, yadayadayada……something stinks here. Too bad investigative journalism is dead. Something tells me there is a smoking gun at the end of this trail.

    Reply

  10. Peter Eggenberger says:

    I predict that Wolfowitz won’t resign, and Riza will keep her job, at her salary. Gordon Brown is making supportive noises about Wolfowitz, as are various African leaders. Others will chime in.

    Reply

  11. jf says:

    Your choice of picture is kinder than the infamous comb shot, but it reminds me of that scene in Caddy Shack:
    “I’ve got another hundred says he eats it!”

    Reply

  12. Robert M. says:

    What it means is that this is how Republican political operatives cover their tracks. With multiple agencies at the same addresses–because nobody comes by to check who’s getting the check after the contracts been let. This mostly shows up for the various front groups that receive monies from donors who “don’t know its purpose” & then re-gift it to othe groups (i.e. their suite mates which are of coruse themselves) & then the money–laundered–gets to the Swift Boaters. The RNC payments to the NH contractors for the 04 phone attack lacked the several intermediate shielding levels. Even Norquist’s & Reed’s foundation scam was set up like this. The only reason they haven’t been prosecuted is that the FEDERAL PROSECUTOR WON’T. ain’t that a surprise. Note that Chenye’s office’s deal with the Abramoff briber was set up ditto & the $ May–I stress may–have gone to now convicted congressman Duke Cunningham.
    The CIA does a much better job of this, re Valerie Plame’s cover company. Still, when newspapers checked listings, it was obvious the Boston office was a shell, a suite where a lot of “company” stuff was just getting dropped off.
    As to Riza playing the victim card: she should hope that no one looks too cosely at these set-ups. She’s no victim and being so ready to resort to that trope tells me that a LOT is rotten at the senior staff level of the World Bank. They are all TOO INSULATED from the Real World and from true political oversight by VOTERS somewhere, somehow.
    While “being seconded to the State Department” sounds like a real posting, if State has no idear where her office is & why; and if she reports to no one either at State or at the Bank and yet gets a TAX-FREE salary of $165K, then its what we call up here in Boston “a hack’s job”. And if its really just to keep her close to PW for on-going nookie (as my flapper girl mother would say), then PW is having the World Bank pay Riza to have sex with PW. Period. End of Story. No sympathy for either truly corrupted souls.
    In another words, she’s a hooker & he’s both her pimp and her client. And yes its some of our money being used to facilitate all this.
    At that pay level, I can only say I hope she’s really qualified for the position.
    PS As to the actual VALUE of her salary: While I’m clearly no math whiz like PW, please note what TAX-FREE means. It effectively gives her the buying power of 100% $165K, as compared to someone being paid a GROSS of $165K before taxes, i.e. $165 minus 30% tax rate or $125K.

    Reply

  13. Pissed Off American says:

    Apparently, the President of this “Eurasia Foundation”, (that happens to have the same address and phone number of this “Foundation for the Future” if Convergence’s information is correct), is William Maynes, who was one of Wolfowitz’s profs at the University of Chicago.
    Soros is also tied in somehow.
    Its all gibberish to me. Here, maybe someone wants to dig deeper…
    http://tinyurl.com/2hfe7l

    Reply

  14. Pissed Off American says:

    On the previous thread, “Converger” has produced an address. I inserted that address into a Google Advanced Search, inserting “1350 Connecticut Ave” into the “exact phrase” box, and inserting “Suite 1000” into the “with all the words” box. Lo and behold, what came up?
    Yet ANOTHER foundation…….
    http://www.eurasia.org/programs/grantcriteria.aspx
    And this foundation happens to have the exact same phone number as well.
    Whats it mean?
    Who the hell knows?
    I bet Riza does.

    Reply

  15. Brigitte N. says:

    Ah–this is another indication of how much money is wasted from public resources in Iraq and elsewhere. It is not the big contractors with connections to the highest guys in the White House only but the personalities in one way or the other tied to this clique.
    Unfortunately, whatever we think–they will continue their scheme until another regime replaces them.

    Reply

  16. converger says:

    It gets better.
    Googling Foundation for the Future gets you to a State Department stub from over a year ago, with nothing more recent than July 2006. A little more digging gets you to their equally useless organizational website
    (http://foundationforfuture.org/). It says that they are looking for an office, Real Soon Now, in Beirut, and have an office in DC, but there is no contact information. The Staff page includes a single employee. The FAQ includes this little tidbit:
    ______________________________________________
    Is the Foundation for the Future officially affiliated with any governments?
    No. The Foundation is an independent, indigenous organization. No Board member may be an active member of any government.
    ______________________________________________
    So, ummmm… why, exactly, is the State Department paying Riza, if she is not affiliated with the US government?

    Reply

  17. pt says:

    GAP on April 6th reported a Vanity Fair article revealing that Riza worked for SAIC which was a sackable offense whilst working for the World Bank. She needed permission and never sought it – probably correctly guessing that Bank employees should not be providing information to commercial companies.
    That SAIC are defence consultants and her lover was Secretary of Defense at the time would reveal multiple conflicts of interest.

    Reply

  18. OldCoastie says:

    are we paying this woman’s salary with our tax dollars?

    Reply

  19. Zathras says:

    The case of the Shaha Riza woman brings up an interesting question of usage. How should she be referred to?
    Sebastian Mallaby, in the Post last Monday, referred to her as Paul Wolfowitz’s “romantic partner.” That’s a little flowery for me. The New York Times today called her Wolfowitz’s “companion.” According to Williams and DeYoung in the Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/13/AR2007041300788.html?hpid=topnews) the World Bank itself referred to her as a “domestic partner”; this implies cohabitation, something news articles on the, ahem, affair have not to my knowledge established. Later in the Post article, the authors call Riza Wolfowitz’s “girlfriend” — a conventional usage, though until recently reserved for fairly young people. Steve Clemons here uses the loaded term “lover.” And I understand that Abraham Simpson has said of Riza, “Aww, she’s nothing but a hoochie. Hoochie, hoochie, hoochie!” This, I believe, is an older and somewhat pejorative expression. I haven’t seen it used yet in the mainstream media.
    Questions of language apart, to the uncomfortable issue Steve raises I have to add another: could Paul Wolfowitz’s relationship with Ms. Riza have been a reason he sought the World Bank job in the first place?
    In the last six years a number of questions that would have been thought peculiar or obviously inappropriate in former times have turned out to be the right ones to be asked of people associated with the Bush administration. Until a few days ago I would not have considered the possibility that a senior official of the American government might be interested in assuming leadership of an international institution because his girlfriend (companion/partner/etc.) worked there worth thinking about.
    However, the article in Saturday’s Post suggests that the need for Ms. Riza to work somewhere other than the World Bank had not been decided upon until after Mr. Wolfowitz was installed as President. It does not appear that the idea that she should work somewhere other than the World Bank originated with Mr. Wolfowitz (at least that is the impression made by Wolfowitz’s lawyer’s statement). As a bonus — and I would be glad to be proven wrong about this — it seems unlikely that Ms. Riza, who is not an American, would have been transferred to a post in the American State Department without Mr. Wolfowitz’s knowledge (at least) or patronage (at worst). And this leads back to Steve’s question as to what exactly it is that she does at State. The absence of substantive responsibilities would certainly indicate that Riza was at State not because she was needed there, but only because Wolfowitz needed her. At State, I mean.
    I suppose it could be true that Europeans and others interested in the World Bank look on an affair like this with concern only because they are upset with Mr. Wolfowitz for other reasons. As an American, I think our standards have to be a little higher. Did our government nominate as President of the World Bank a man who wanted the job so he could maintain a daytime relationship with his girlfriend (partner/romantic companion/hootchie/etc.)?

    Reply

  20. Robert Morrow says:

    and people wonder why I am a libertarian (Republican). Whenever I heard the word “consultant,” I just translate that as getting a lot of money for doing nothing. The word “grant” just means blowing taxpayer money.

    Reply

  21. Mike says:

    Steve, thanks for the insightful coverage.
    I mean really, if these people are going to be fighting a trillion dollar war and are asking for huge sacrifices, it is detrimental to that cause to throw $35 million into an organization that apparently doesn’t even exist enough to have a phone or office. It’s not just unprofessional, but incompetent.

    Reply

  22. infoshaman says:

    To shrink a URL, go to http://tinyurl.com
    The shrunk URL is now http://tinyurl.com/2j45l5
    Carry on….

    Reply

  23. Steve Clemons says:

    POA — how can I shrink the URL above? I’ll go back in and fix that if you can send me instructions.

    Reply

  24. JohnH says:

    Seymour Hersh reports that, two years ago, old hands from the Iran-Contra fiasco of the Reagan era, well-seeded into the Bush administration, had an informal meeting led by Deputy National Security Advisor Elliott Abrams. Their conclusions: “As to what the experience taught them, in terms of future covert operations, the participants found: ‘One, you can’t trust our friends. Two, the C.I.A. has got to be totally out of it. Three, you can’t trust the uniformed military, and four, it’s got to be run out of the Vice-President’s office.” That’s what passes for learning from experience in the Bush/Cheney White House. Indeed, the same folks are now evidently running an updated version of Iran-Contra (without the CIA) out of the Vice President’s office. (Reported by The Nation; 2/28/07)
    Hersh’s report:
    http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2007/03/05/070305fa_fact_hersh“>http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2007/03/05/070305fa_fact_hersh”>http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2007/03/05/070305fa_fact_hersh
    So maybe the Foundation for the Future is part of that. Or maybe Wolfie wanted to set up his own black ops. But with Condi?

    Reply

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