04/30/2007 04:12 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

If Wolfowitz's Critics at the World Bank Are Serious, They'll Publish Their Own Salaries and Perks

News reports have indicated widespread support for Paul Wolfowitz's ouster from World Bank employees. The New York Times reported on April 20:

"Bank officials reported that the rift between employees and the president had become a major distraction from their work, with some employees wearing blue ribbons in a display of defiance against his leadership. 'People feel paralyzed,' one official said. 'No one is doing any work at all. This genie can never go back to the bottle.'"

In his struggle to retain his position as President of the World Bank, Wolfowitz has retained the services of Robert Bennett, "a high-powered Washington lawyer known for adept legal skirmishing and negotiation," the Times notes today.

Guess what Mr. Bennett is threatening? To disclose the salaries and perks of others at the Bank:

"[He] also indicated that he was prepared to keep the temperature raised, possibly by demanding the public release of the salaries and perquisites of others at the bank.

A full public airing of the high salaries at the bank is not something that top bank officials want, many bank officials say. They may seek to avoid a confrontation if only to avoid calling Mr. Bennett's bluff."

Well then. Why don't Bank employees call Mr. Bennett's bluff? If Wolfowitz's critics in the Bank's staff association release the salary and benefit information - to which they surely have access - then Mr. Bennett won't be able to use the disclosure of this information as a threat.

And - it could be argued - as the World Bank is a taxpayer-financed institution, this information should be a matter of public record anyway.

In criticizing Mr. Wolfowitz for his alleged ethical misconduct, Bank staff have noted that as an institution supposedly fighting corruption in developing countries, the Bank has to be a model of integrity and transparency.

Point taken. Let the Bank staff put their mouth where their money is.


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