IMF ex-chief Strauss-Kahn had separate ethics rules

By Kase Wickman
Sunday, May 29, 2011 20:46 EDT
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When International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn was arrested after being accused of attempting to rape a hotel maid in New York City, onlookers wondered whether the IMF would sanction him for abusing his position (Strauss-Kahn reportedly yelled “don’t you know who I am?” while attacking the maid).

Strauss-Kahn resigned, but the New York Times reported that the IMF has two separate codes of ethics, one for rank-and-file staffers and another for board members like Strauss-Kahn.

The policing system for the IMF’s approximately 2,400 staffers includes a hotline to report misconduct, publication of all ethics complaints and a designated ethics investigator to follow up on the complaints. This system, however, does not apply to the IMF’s board members. The ethics investigator does not have the power to examine the activities of the board, which has its own five-person ethics team, whose work is confidential. The only way the board can discipline its members is by writing them, or their home countries, a warning letter.

Katrina Campbell, an ethics expert, told the Times that though the staff ethics code was written into Strauss-Kahn’s contract, he was ultimately only held accountable by the board.

“There are a lot of controls in place when it comes to the staff, but not for the leadership,” Campbell said.

Kase Wickman
Kase Wickman
Kase Wickman is a reporter for Raw Story. She holds a journalism degree from Boston University and grew up in Eugene, OR. Her work has been featured in The Boston Globe, Village Voice Media, The Christian Science Monitor, The Houston Chronicle and on NPR, among others. She lives in New York City and tweets from @kasewickman.
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