A very expensive neocon love affair

Why does Paul Wolfowitz's love interest make more than Condoleezza Rice?

Published April 9, 2007 6:15PM (EDT)

Paul Wolfowitz, the neoconservative Iraq war architect who once predicted that Iraq would be able to pay for its own reconstruction, is explaining, in a memo to colleagues at the World Bank, how it is that a woman with whom he's romantically involved wound up detailed to the State Department with a $193,000 annual salary from the World Bank.

Sort of.

As Reuters reports, World Bank employee Shaha Riza was assigned to work at the State Department in 2005 after it became known that she was romantically involved with Wolfowitz, who had just become the bank's president. In his memo to staffers, Wolfowitz indicates that Riza was moved to State -- while still on the World Bank payroll -- on the advice of the World Bank's Board of Executive Directors in an effort to "balance the interests of the institution and the rights of the staff member in an exceptional and unprecedented situation."

What Wolfowitz doesn't explain is how Riza came to receive $61,000 in raises over the past two years -- a sum that Reuters says is more than double what would have been allowed under regular World Bank rules. As the Wall Street Journal notes, Riza's $193,000 salary at the State Department exceeds that of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. It also exceeds, by about 10-fold, the basic pay offered to recruits the Army needs to keep fighting Wolfowitz's war.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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