Activists Urge World Bank to Fire Wolfowitz


Monday, April 30, the president said, "My position is that he ought to stay; he ought to be given a fair hearing. And I appreciate the fact that he has advanced -- he's helped the World Bank recognize that the eradication of world poverty is an important priority for the bank."

Snow elaborated today: "This is not hanging Paul Wolfowitz out to dry. We still support him fully."

Wolfowitz Style Critiqued

The activist group plans to deliver an Internet petition, which has been signed by more than 50,000 people from around the world, to the World Bank board of directors Wednesday.

"It's time they let Wolfowitz go," Wikler said.

Last month, Wikler and "Hillary 1984" ad creator Phil de Vellis created a YouTube ad about Wolfowitz's problems.

The video, titled "The Bank," spliced video of Wolfowitz with video from the television show "The Office."

"We were watching video of Wolfowitz and we just got this overwhelming impression that he reminds us of watching the boss in 'The Office,'" he said. "It's a show about a nightmare boss ... when the wrong person's in charge, nothing gets done."

Wikler said he's heard that his video, which has been viewed more than a hundred thousand times on the popular video-sharing site YouTube, has made the rounds at the World Bank, where Wikler said some staff are frustrated with Wolfowitz's management style.

"The more we read about the way that he'd mismanaged the World Bank, the more the comparison felt apt," he said.

Wolfowitz Arranged $60,000 Pay Raise for Girlfriend

Wolfowitz has been fighting to keep his job for months amid controversy surrounding his involvement in securing a pay raise and promotion for his girlfriend, Shaha Ali Riza.

Riza had been a World Bank employee for eight years when Wolfowitz was named president of the institution in 2005. Against the wishes of Riza, the bank's ethics committee determined Riza needed to leave the bank when Wolfowitz took control to avoid a conflict of interest.

Under a lucrative compensation package that Wolfowitz arranged with the World Bank's vice president of human resources, Riza was moved to the State Department and given a promotion to communications specialist but was still kept on the World Bank's payroll. Her income jumped from $133,000 to $193, 590 in just two years -- more money than Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice makes before taxes.

In a written statement to the World Bank's board of directors in April, Wolfowitz wrote that the deal was reasonable because it avoided any potential lawsuit from Riza from being forced to leave her position at the World Bank.

A special bank committee was created to investigate his handling of the matter and issued a report Sunday, finding that Wolfowitz was guilty of breaking bank rules by arranging the lucrative deal for his girlfriend.

However, the panel also said the bank shared some blame because the advice given to Wolfowitz by ethics officials at the bank wasn't clear and was easily misinterpreted. Ultimately, however, the report found Wolfowitz breached his obligations by interfering in his girlfriend's promotion and pay raise.

Wolfowitz's Reign Fraught With Turmoil

The scandal has topped a long list of complaints within the World Bank about Wolfowitz's managerial style, triggering an open revolt from staff. Some of the institution's top managers have in recent weeks openly called for Wolfowitz to resign.

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