Zoellick’s career rocket has been fueled by twin power sources – decades of Bush
administration appointments, coupled with the policy purchasing power of dominant
corporations. In 2007 he ascended to President of the World Bank.
Zoellick started his governmental career at the Department of the Treasury, from 1985 to 1988 as a counselor to Secretary James Baker, eventually as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Financial Institutions Policy. Zoellick followed Baker to the State Department as Under Secretary, and in August 1992, was appointed Deputy Chief of Staff to President George G.W. Bush
Zoellick left the White House with Bush in 1993, becoming a vice president at Fannie Mae, the nation’s quasi official housing finance guarantor. He was also senior international advisor to Goldman Sachs and taught at the U.S. Naval Academy and Harvard University.
Zoellick was a paid consultant on the Enron advisory board, a Board Director of Alliance Capital and in 2001 joined the George W Bush administration. The previous year Alliance invested a portion of the Florida State pension fund in Enron stock. When Enron collapsed, Florida lost more than $280 million. The Florida State Board of Administration sued Alliance for failing to sufficiently research Enron, and for not following an agreed-upon investment strategy. That suit was later withdrawn by Florida Governor Jeb Bush.
The Securities and Exchange Commission settled an enforcement action with Alliance Capital in 2003, resolving charges that is had defrauded mutual fund investors. Alliance paid $250 million in penalties to the harmed shareholders.
In 2001,President George W. Bush appointed him U.S. Trade Representative (USTR). His agenda was to bring China into the World Trade Organization, and to complete free trade agreements with Singapore, Chile, Australia, Morocco, Jordan, the Dominican Republic, Bahrain, and five Central American countries. In February 2005, he became Deputy Secretary of State under Condoleezza Rice.
In June 2006, he resigned from the State Department and returned to Goldman Sachs as vice-chairman of international affairs. He’d reportedly been pushing to replace former CSX Chairman John Snow as Treasury Secretary, but Goldman Sachs Chairman Paul Paulsen was given that plum.
As USTR, he’d praised CSX as a “world-class cargo facility” in a 2004 speech hailing the U.S.- Central America Trade Pact. But Forbes magazine called CSX one of the worst performing companies in history.
His free trade positions dovetail with his private pursuits. Zoellick has been on the boards of several multinational companies, including Viventures/Vivendi Universal, Alliance Capital, and a Bermuda-based South African patent and copyright security firm.Vivendi is a major multinational company that buys up formerly public communications and water systems. It’s benefited enormously from the privatization of public services pushed by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Viventures is a venture capital fund that finances telecommunication and internet systems when they are privatized.
Zoellick was one of the first to invoke the idea of “evil” in President Bush’s foreign policy. In a January 2000 Foreign Affairs essay he wrote: "There is still evil in the world — people who hate America and the ideas for which it stands." Two years earlier, Zoellick was one of the signatories (along with Bush mainstays Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Elliott Abrams, Zalmay Khalilzad, John R. Bolton, Richard Armitage, William Kristol, and others) of a Jan. 26, 1998 letter to President Clinton which called for "removing Saddam's regime from power." Zoellick was named President of the World Bank in 2007 when Paul Wolfowitz was forced to resign for putting his girlfriend on payroll, then giving her undeserved promotions and raises.
- Enron Who’s Who, BBC.
- “Alliance Capital Management Will Pay Record $250 Million and Make Significant Governance and Compliance Reforms To Settle SEC Charges,” SEC press release, 12/18/03.
- “Why Bush can't seem to find a good Treasury Secretary,” Time magazine, 5/25/06.
- "Campaign 2000: A Republican Foreign Policy," Foreign Affairs, January 2000.
- “Envoy Visits Darfur Camp To Stress U.S. Commitment,” Washington Post, 4/16/05.