November 10, 2007

The idea that the indictment of Bernie Kerik on 14 counts of fraud, tax evasion, and influence-peddling is “€œold news“€ “€“ which is how Team Giuliani is somewhat pathetically trying to spin it “€“ is ridiculous to anyone who has actually read the text [.pdf file] of the charges as filed by federal prosecutors. There is some new information in the indictment which could spell big trouble for the Giuliani campaign.

Kerik’s various mob-related activities garnered him a luxury condo and a lot of free remodeling, but Bernie didn”€™t really hit the big-time until the lobbying effort to have him installed at Homeland Security began in earnest. Whereupon the following occurred, according to the indictment:

“€œOn or about June 13, 2003, “€˜John Doe #7,”€™ a Brooklyn businessman, made a personal loan of $250,000 to Bernard B. Kerik (“€˜the John Doe #7 loan”€™). As Kerik well knew, john doe #7 obtained the funds with which to make the loan to kerik by in turn taking a loan from “€˜John Doe #8,”€™ a wealthy Israeli industrialist whose companies did business with the federal government.”€

Elsewhere in the indictment, Kerik is charged with lying on his executive branch disclosure form for failing to disclose the John Doe #7 loan “€“ which, from the context, we can assume means failure to disclose foreign funding sources.

Rudy’s pick for Homeland Security not only failed to disclose his foreign money connections, but knew it was illegal “€“ and wrong “€“ because he tried to launder the $250,000 via an American third party, the Brooklyn businessman. Then he lied about it on his disclosure form.

As the candidate with the most Israel-centric group of foreign policy advisors this side of a Likud party rally, Giuliani’s ties to the Jewish state and its American lobby is one of his strongest assets. It may become a liability, however, once the implications of the “€œJohn Doe #7 loan”€ play out in court and pretrial motions. Giuliani, you”€™ll remember, was busy pushing Kerik for the Homeland Security post just as Kerik was pulling in cash from this mysterious Israeli “€œindustrialist”€ whose “€œbusiness”€ with the feds could credibly have something to do with providing security services.

From Kerik’s point of view, one can see that he was just replicating, on a higher level, the sort of financial shenanigans he engaged in as New York City police commissioner. Instead of taking cash and favors from mobsters, he was on the take from … 

Well, we don”€™t know who is “€œJohn Doe #8,”€ nor what sort of “€œindustrialist”€ he is,  and yet, given Kerik’s security-related experience, and Rudy’s security-related business interests as a consultant, it is not unreasonable to assume that the business of this Israeli “€œindustrialist”€ is security-related. If so, then the possibility of a connection to the Israeli government increases, and so does the possibility of a serious security breach “€“ or attempted security breach, in this case.

What did John Doe #8 expect in exchange for his money? Was he buying the key to American national security in the post-9/11 era on behalf of a foreign power? It’s a fair question, albeit unanswerable at present.

That such a question is even conceivable, however, has explosive possibilities. Given Giuliani’s much-vaunted record as the tough-minded security-conscious Mayor of 9/11, the pointed details of the Kerik prosecution could pop the speculative bubble of Giuliani’s front-runner status, especially if the candidate is called to testify “€“ an intriguing and very real possibility no one seems to have yet raised. The Kerik trial could be the torpedo that sinks Rudy’s campaign. As his relationship to Kerik and these various John Does comes out in open court, we”€™ll be given a preview of what a Giuliani administration would look like “€“ and it isn”€™t going to be pretty.


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