Wolfowitz’s girlfriend makes more than Condi

How much does World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz love good governance? So much that his girlfriend has gotten two fat raises from the World Bank since 2005, when she was assigned to the U.S. State Department because of her relationship with Wolfowitz. Both this week’s New Yorker profile of Wolfowitz and an Al Kamen column ...

602497_070404_riza_05.jpg
602497_070404_riza_05.jpg

How much does World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz love good governance? So much that his girlfriend has gotten two fat raises from the World Bank since 2005, when she was assigned to the U.S. State Department because of her relationship with Wolfowitz. Both this week's New Yorker profile of Wolfowitz and an Al Kamen column in the Post have put Shaha Ali Riza, who's been dating Wolfowitz for the past five years, and her salary front and center—and Bank employees are in an uproar.

It seems that Riza, who was working at the Bank when Wolfowitz was nominated to be its president, was seconded to a position at State because Bank rules prohibit spouses or partners from supervising one another. To compensate for her career disruption, she was promoted to manager, a move Kamen calls "rare." She was then handed two fat raises, which were far higher than what normal Bank rules would have allowed her to collect, even in her new position. She now makes nearly $200,000 a year, more than Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

It's no secret that many Bank employees have chafed under Wolfowitz's reign, but revelations of Riza's possible preferential treatment have many outraged. The Bank's Staff Association just sent around an internal email about the situation. Here are some choice quotes:

How much does World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz love good governance? So much that his girlfriend has gotten two fat raises from the World Bank since 2005, when she was assigned to the U.S. State Department because of her relationship with Wolfowitz. Both this week’s New Yorker profile of Wolfowitz and an Al Kamen column in the Post have put Shaha Ali Riza, who’s been dating Wolfowitz for the past five years, and her salary front and center—and Bank employees are in an uproar.

It seems that Riza, who was working at the Bank when Wolfowitz was nominated to be its president, was seconded to a position at State because Bank rules prohibit spouses or partners from supervising one another. To compensate for her career disruption, she was promoted to manager, a move Kamen calls “rare.” She was then handed two fat raises, which were far higher than what normal Bank rules would have allowed her to collect, even in her new position. She now makes nearly $200,000 a year, more than Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

It’s no secret that many Bank employees have chafed under Wolfowitz’s reign, but revelations of Riza’s possible preferential treatment have many outraged. The Bank’s Staff Association just sent around an internal email about the situation. Here are some choice quotes:

[W]e have been able to verify that [the terms of Riza’s assignment at State] are grossly out of line with the Staff Rules.[…]

[Riza] was given a promotion increase of 28%… – more than double the amount allowed by the Staff Rules.[…]

Since the performance of staff members on external assignment cannot be assessed and compared to that of their colleagues, Staff Rule 6.05 directs that their annual salary increases be set at the average percentage …For FY07, the average percentage was 3.7%; Ms. Riza’s annual increase this FY amounted to 7.5%.[…]

[W]e deplore this leak of a staff member’s confidential salary information. However, in this case, the information shared with the press reveals a violation of the Staff Rules and therefore seems to us a clear case of whistleblowing.

Given Wolfowitz’s crusade to fight corruption in countries that receive Bank aid, doesn’t it seem a little hypocritical to hand your girlfriend inordinate bonuses?

Carolyn O'Hara is a senior editor at Foreign Policy.

More from Foreign Policy

An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.
An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.

Is Cold War Inevitable?

A new biography of George Kennan, the father of containment, raises questions about whether the old Cold War—and the emerging one with China—could have been avoided.

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.

So You Want to Buy an Ambassadorship

The United States is the only Western government that routinely rewards mega-donors with top diplomatic posts.

Chinese President Xi jinping  toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.
Chinese President Xi jinping toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.

Can China Pull Off Its Charm Offensive?

Why Beijing’s foreign-policy reset will—or won’t—work out.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.

Turkey’s Problem Isn’t Sweden. It’s the United States.

Erdogan has focused on Stockholm’s stance toward Kurdish exile groups, but Ankara’s real demand is the end of U.S. support for Kurds in Syria.