Did GOP gov candidate Tom Foley exaggerate his experience in Iraq? The Connecticut Post probes his record.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley’s public-service career began in the summer of 2003, when the millionaire Greenwich investor suddenly evolved from big-time Republican fundraiser to high-ranking member of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq.
His focus was on privatizing state-owned businesses in an attempt to democratize the war-torn country.
“Donning bulletproof vests, dodging rockets and mortars, and avoiding IEDs became regular parts of the routine,” says Foley’s campaign website.
But in public comments made upon his return from the job, Foley downplayed the danger, said he often traveled around Baghdad without an escort and “never once ran into a situation that I considered hostile.” Foley’s website, the public face of his campaign for governor, also claims that his team of 10 helped restart many businesses, rewrote commercial law and “helped restructure the banking system.”
But a former provisional official, quoted in a report by the Associated Press in May 2004, said Foley “did not oversee the oil industry and related businesses or financial institutions such as banks and insurance companies.” And a 2006 book on Iraq called “Imperial Life in the Emerald City,” by Rajiv Chandrasekaran and published by Alfred A. Knopf, claimed that Foley’s team may have actually stalled the inevitable rebuilding of the Iraq stock exchange.
Foley, the book said, used an expletive to dismiss a consultant’s concerns that international law prohibited the sale of state assets by an occupying government.
In an interview last week and earlier remarks to the editorial board of the Connecticut Post, Foley defended his work in Iraq, denied the depictions presented in Chandrasekaran’s book and recalled Baghdad as place where he gambled daily with the potential for random violence, mostly from indiscriminate mortar rounds lobbed into the heavily fortified Green Zone.
Foley’s opponents in the Aug. 10 Republican gubernatorial primary — Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele, of Stamford, and R. Nelson Griebel, of Simsbury, said last week that Foley’s campaign claims are overstated and indicate a weakness of character.