Why Rudy is ungrateful.
New York Newsday, January 27, 1988
by John C. Klotz
SOME PEOPLE you just can't help. For example, Republican Senator
Al D'Amato is touting U.S. Attorney Rudolph Giuliani as a
candidate for Senator this year, and Giuliani is acting as if
D'Amato were booking him passage on the Titanic.
Perhaps, Giuliani perceives D'Amato's self-interest. D'Amato may
run for Governor in 1990. A U.S. Attorney with unslaked political
ambitions might get in the way of that. But if Giuliani were
elected Senator - or neutralized by a defeat - D'Amato's path to
the 1990 Republican nomination would be clear.
Not since the time of Thomas Dewey has a public prosecutor
so materially altered the rules of the game in this town as
Giuliani has. High rollers on Wall Street, mobsters and
untouchable politicians who were used to having things their
way have all been brought low by his unprecedented run of
indictments - and convictions. Nearly as important as those
convictions is the ripple effect he has created among once complacent
prosecutors in the City's District Attorneys' offices, who are
now trying to play catchup.
Given the identity of Giuliani's own patrons, it is surprising that
he has proven to be such a scourge. He is the appointee of a
national administration that is itself the focus of wide ranging
charges of corruption. Under the rules of Senatorial courtesy,
the appointment of a U.S. Attorney is normally made upon
recommendation of the senior U. S. Senator of the President's
party in the state. Giuliani was thus the candidate of Al D'Amato
whose position in investigations of political corruption has
sometimes been on the other side of the table from the
government. As supervisor of Hempstead, he was a part of
a system that extorted political contributions from town
employees and which resulted in the racketeering conviction of
Nassau Republican County boss Joseph Margiotta. An influential
member of the committee established by D'Amato to screen candidates for
federal criminal justice appointments is Thomas Bolan, law
partner of the late Roy Cohn, New York's premier political fixer.
That Reagan-D'Amato-Bolan-Cohn combine could produce as intrepid
a prosecutor as Giuliani is a surprise, but it is not very
startling that the political establishment would be anxious for
him to move on. A run for the Senate seems an ideal solution.
That the public interest may not be well served by the
replacement of the present U.S. Attorney for the Southern
District is not a prime consideration.
This has been a tough winter in the battle against corruption. A
decade old investigation into the tow truck industry was
concluded by a Bronx Grand Jury with a splashy presentment
outlining deeply embedded corruption in the industry - but
without indictments. Gov. Mario Cuomo appointed as the successor
to the late Bronx District Attorney Mario Merola his chief
assistant, Paul T. Gentile. The stated purpose was to insure
continuity in ongoing corruption probes. Virtually the first
significant event of the new DA's tenure was the departure of
assistant D.A. Philip Foglia who was not only the head of the
Bronx DA's piece of the Wedtech investigation, but for three
years, it's liaison to Giuliani.
In short, while Giuliani contemplates running for the Senate,
things are perilously close to returning to normal, and would do
so if Reagan-D'Amato chose a successor U.S. Attorney who would
be content to play by the old rules.
But Giuliani is an ingrate. He's willing to shelve his senatorial
ambitions unless he has the right to choose his successor. He
doesn't trust the system that chose him to choose a prosecutor
who would continue the unfinished corruption probes.
He wants to wield in the public's interest, the veto that Cohn
And there's another issue: is the Senate really the place for
Giuliani? The back benches of the Senate chamber are a long way
from the combat zone. A senate seat was never in Dewey's plan.
Instead, he set his sights on the Governor's mansion and the
Public prosecutors have a unique power to make things happen.
Real power in Congress rests with its leadership. It takes years
before a newcomer gains meaningful access to that power. Someone
with a prosecutor's temperament might not fare so well.
A Mayor Giuliani would really change the way government is
conducted in this City. And if there were a President Cuomo in
the future, the prospect of a "Governor" Giuliani holds more
promise than that of "Governor" D'Amato ever could.
Unless, you prefer the old rules, that is.