The Haiti Democracy Project is concerned that a person nominated to a

be deputy attorney-general in charge of the criminal division of the Justice

Department, and confirmed by a Senate vote on September 19, shielded a

telephone company credibly accused of fraud with President Aristide and

may be impeding the financing of the Haitian government’s lawsuit against

this firm and former president.


Click here for Lucy Komisar’s investigative article, commissioned by the Haiti

Democracy Project.

The Treasury Department’s anti-corruption unit originally hailed the

initiation of this lawsuit and it is essential that this poor country

make effective progress against corruption if it is ever to relieve

poverty and achieve democracy.

We in the United States should do everything possible to assist a

poor country like Haiti when it attempts to control corruption, and

that means NOT shielding U.S. co-conspirators from lawful investigation.

There is strong evidence that the former Haitian president and the

IDT telecommunications firm connived to manipulate Haiti’s

long-distance rates and divert the proceeds to that president’s

offshore bank accounts.

Alice Fisher, who is up for confirmation, had that firm, IDT, as a

client and wrote a letter denying wrongdoing despite evidence to the

contrary. Then, when named to a top post in the Justice Department as

a recess appointee, she helped block a procedure which the Dominican

Republic and many other countries have used, namely to employ seized

assets to finance a continued lawsuit against the remaining suspected


As an exceedingly poor country, Haiti would have a hard time finding

the money to pay an American law firm, Winston and Strawn, to

continue the lawsuit, but there is enough money available in the

seized assets of convicted Haitian drug dealers and there is a

standard procedure for so using it. She appears to have blocked Haiti

from using this available asset, and the lawsuit is in limbo.

We in the Haiti Democracy Project have proposed Haiti for threshold

status under the Millennium Account, which could free up hundreds of

millions of investment funds to create jobs for the poorest people in

the hemisphere. However, the Millennium Account is stringent in its

anti-corruption criteria and we need Haiti to have success in this

lawsuit before there is any serious chance it will qualify.

We hope that the Senate will insist on a closer look at Alice Fisher’s credentials before approving this appointment.


See also Mary Anastasia O’Gray, New Jersey & Aristide, Perfect Together, Wall Street Journal, August 4, 2006