World Bank hypocrisy

The Wall Street Journal's Bret Stephens makes good on his promise to dog the World Bank for its hypocrisy.

In the winter of 2006 an email was sent to the investigations hotline of the World Bank's Department of Institutional Integrity, or INT. Its subject was the "Hypocrisy of ED Tom Scholar." "Please know," read the text of the email written by a bank employee, "that UK ED Tom Scholar is continuing an affair with [a bank employee]. This woman has been given preferential treatment in [the department] because of her relationship with this powerful ED, this affair is well known, and is in violation of the Bank Staff Rules and the Boards Standards of Conduct."

"ED" means executive director. There are 24 such directors at the World Bank; collectively, they form the board that oversees the bank's work on behalf of its 185 member countries. Mr. Scholar is the ED from the United Kingdom. This week, all eyes were upon these officials as they decided on Paul Wolfowitz's future as president of the bank. Whether their conclusion is fair is a subject for another time. But no less important is whether, while penalizing Mr. Wolfowitz, the board isn't also covering up its own multitude of sins.

I first became aware of the 37-year-old Mr. Scholar--a former private secretary to British Chancellor Gordon Brown who also serves as an executive director at the International Monetary Fund--following the publication of my May 1 column, "Notes on a Scandal." The column, which detailed the hypocrisy of some of Mr. Wolfowitz's public detractors, including former World Bank senior managers with conflict-of-interest issues of their own, clearly struck a nerve within the bank.  
Stephens notes that it is unclear whether any action has ever been taken on ths complaint,that the complaint had been made repeatedly to Messrs. Danino and Coll, who are Wolfowitz's principal detractors, and that the Bank "lacks the most basic institutional mechanisms to police the conduct of its own members."

Mr. Scholar is likely to be named chief of staff to Gordon Brown when the latter moves into 10 Downing Street.

Clarice Feldman