Thursday, March 15, 2007

Giuliani Firm Lobbys For Hugo Chavez In Texas

We do live in a strange world! Maria Comella, spokesperson for the Giuliani for President campaign says, "Mayor Giuliani believes Hugo Chavez is not a friend of the United States, and his influence continues to grow because of our increasing reliance on foreign sources of oil."

That's a high-minded statement, obviously designed to appeal to the conservatives who think Chavez is the devil incarnate. Giuliani would like for conservatives to believe that he is one of them. He would like for them to believe this because it's almost impossible to get the Republican nomination without widespread support from the party's right-wingers.

But evidently Giuliani is the latest victim of a disease running rampant through the Republican party - greed. Like many of his party cohorts, Giuliani seems to believe that platitudes and beliefs are fine when talking to voters, but they must not be allowed to interfere with business.

There is a law firm in Houston called Bracewell & Giuliani. The partner in that firm is the same Rudy Giuliani who is the former mayor of New York and the current Republican presidential candidate. I don't think he'd like for conservatives to know who is one of the biggest customers of that firm.

Since 2005, the law firm has received up to $200,000 to lobby for the oil company Citgo in Texas. A controlling majority of Citgo is owned by Venezuela, which is currently controlled by Hugo Chavez (arch-enemy of President Bush and U.S. conservatives). Oh my! That's got to be embarrassing to someone trying to get conservative votes.

Of course, the Giuliani campaign says the former mayor has nothing to do with the lobbying efforts of his law firm. Maybe he doesn't, but I bet he doesn't refuse to accept his share of the payments his law firm receives from Citgo (and therefore Chavez).

Maybe Giuliani doesn't see a conflict of interest in this situation. Maybe he thinks it's OK to bad mouth Chavez while accepting the money his firm makes for lobbying for Chavez. I don't believe the American voter will make such a fine distinction.

I think most Americans are tired of politicians saying one thing while doing another. I don't think it's a crime to lobby for Citgo and Chavez. But it is hypocritical to do so while bad-mouthing them on the campaign trail.

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