Pataki Joins Bilderberg’s Conclave

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The New York Sun

Don’t bother asking Governor Pataki what he was up to over the weekend: It’s a secret, and he can’t tell you.

After wrapping up the usual state business, Mr. Pataki flew to Canada to participate in the annual conclave of the Bilderberg Group, a clandestine club of the world’s business and political elite that has been likened to a shadow government and has been said to shape global events.

He was there as the group’s guest, according to a member of Bilderberg’s steering committee, Richard Perle, a former Defense Policy Board chairman. He was the only American governor in attendance and the only politician in attendance known to be considering a presidential run, Mr. Perle said.

Mr. Pataki grappled with the world’s most intractable problems alongside the likes of Henry Kissinger, David Rockefeller, an Iraqi politician, Ahmad Chalabi, a former Clinton administration Middle East negotiator, Dennis Ross, and the chairman of Coca-Cola, George David.

Bilderberg guests from previous years include Senator Clinton and a former governor of Virginia, Mark Warner, both of whom who are considering running for president in 2008. President Clinton also hunkered down with the club one year. One of the most famous rumors associated with the Bilderberg is that it “anointed” Mr. Clinton in the spring of 1992.

Arriving in specially arranged black limousines, invitees gathered at suburban Ottawa’s Brookstreet hotel under a blanket of security. A Canadian newspaper reported that the hotel was surrounded by a wrought-iron fence whose gates were protected by “thick, wraparound, bike-lock wires.”

High gas prices and Iran’s nuclear threat reportedly topped this year’s agenda. As usual, the discussion was completely off the record; nobody on the inside is allowed to talk about it with outsiders. Mr. Pataki could assume that whatever happened in Ottawa would stay in Ottawa.

Mr. Perle did note that he was im pressed with New York’s governor. “I think he’s intelligent and thoughtful – sort of the person who would go and spend a weekend listening to a discussion of a broad range of policy issues,” he said. In recent years, Mr. Pataki has promoted policies that he says would reduce energy usage and has pushed for ethanol subsidies.

A spokesman for the governor, David Catalfamo, did not return calls and email messages seeking comment on Mr. Pataki’s participation.

The group was started in the early 1950s by Joseph Retinger, a Polish exile who founded the anti-Communist “European Movement,” and Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands as a forum for frank discussion among the elite to improve ties between America and Western Europe.

As the governor wrestled with global problems, his successors yesterday focused their attention on poverty. Republican gubernatorial candidate John Faso and Democratic candidate Eliot Spitzer were among the constellation of politicians attending the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty’s annual legislative breakfast at the Roosevelt Hotel on Madison Avenue.

The breakfast is a time to honor the work of the council, which coordinates the efforts of a number of groups fighting Jewish poverty. It’s also where politicians bolster their pro-Israel credentials and make connections with some of the city’s wealthiest donors.

Also on hand were Mayor Bloomberg, Mrs. Clinton, the Assembly speaker, Sheldon Silver, Rep. Anthony Weiner, and Senator Schumer. Mr. Faso was one of the few Republicans attending, and he did not address the audience, though he worked the room with efficiency before the proceedings began.

Mr. Schumer won laughs when he told of the time when a local Brooklyn newspaper ran an April Fools satire story with the headline “New Revelation: Weiner Schumer’s Illegitimate Son.” A social agency contacted Mr. Schumer after the article ran and asked if he needed counseling. Mr. Schumer said the article was intended as a joke, and the agent replied, “We all go through denial.”

The New York Sun

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