Kerik might have had more than a nanny problem
NEW YORK — As local newspapers reported a series of new allegations against Bernard Kerik, New York political observers suggested Monday that he hadn’t withdrawn his nomination as Homeland Security secretary solely because of a nanny problem.
And Democrats and Republicans alike predicted that former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, who had pushed Kerik’s candidacy with members of the Bush administration, would take the greatest political heat for the failed nomination.
Over the last two days, the news media has reported that Kerik allegedly had helped a mob-linked Staten Island firm win a city sanitation contract.
Other stories suggested that he had failed to disclose thousands of dollars in gifts as required by city law and that he had carried on extramarital affairs with two women, including Judith Regan, a prominent editor who had published Kerik’s autobiography.
“People are going to wonder, how could the (former) mayor not have known that Kerik had all these problems?” asked Nelson Warfield, a GOP consultant. “It adds up to a highly embarrassing development for Giuliani, especially with other Republicans.”
At the White House, however, officials said the failed nomination would not affect Bush’s relationship with Giuliani, who campaigned for the president and has been a supporter.
“Absolutely not,” White House press secretary Scott McClellan said. “In fact, they are very good friends.” The press secretary noted that Giuliani had offered an apology to the president when the two had dinner Sunday night.
Giuliani did not comment on the controversy Monday. Kerik withdrew his nomination Friday evening, saying he had discovered that his family had hired an illegal immigrant to take care of his children. He explained that he had learned this only when filling out forms for the confirmation process, and decided to withdraw his nomination.
On Monday, Kerik made a brief appearance outside his Times Square office, where he works for Giuliani’s security consulting firm. He asked the media to leave his family out of the burgeoning news coverage.
“For my family, this is a difficult time,” he said, wearing a black jacket and Yankees baseball cap. “We have seen things written and heard things, sort of unbearable things … you know, some true, some not true, accurate, inaccurate.
“If you want to attack me, attack me,” he continued. “But don’t attack my family. Don’t chase people down the street near my house.”
The new allegations, published in the New York Daily News and The New York Times, were the product of investigations begun before Bush nominated him earlier this month for the homeland security post.
The News reported on Sunday that Kerik allegedly received and failed to disclose thousands of dollars in cash and other gifts while he was New York City police commissioner.