Hillary Clinton’s handpicked World Bank president oversees a bank that is being accused of systemic racism by a former employee and by a civil-rights leader who works for Jesse Jackson.
Jim Yong Kim, current president of the World Bank, got his nomination from President Barack Obama in 2012 after Hillary Clinton “championed Jim as candidate,” according to Paul Farmer, who was a co-founder with Kim of a health group that enjoys a working relationship with the Clinton Foundation. Bill Clinton also recommended Kim to Obama, and supported him in public after Obama nominated Kim.
But Kim’s World Bank is being accused of racism and also of whitewashing racism in internal diversity reports, which could complicate Clinton’s effort to present herself as a civil rights champion in this presidential campaign.
The case began with a complaint by a whistleblower, former World Bank employee Dr. Yonas Biru, a Ethiopian immigrant who came to the United States in the late 1970’s.
“I worked for the World Bank for seventeen years. Towards the last seven years of my career there I was a deputy global manager of the international comparison program,” Dr. Biru told Breitbart News. Biru said that he covered many of the responsibilities of his superior, the global manager. “The major problems started in 2007 when the global manager retired and I expressed interest in the position.”
Biru said that he was passed over for the position specifically because of his race. “The former global manager said the hiring director told him, ‘The Europeans are not used to seeing a black man in a position of power,’” Biru said, referring to “Europeans” on the World Bank board.
Biru filed a complaint that went to the World Bank Administrative Tribunal. He said that prompted the Bank to smear him in his personnel file, which he said was excellent up to that point. “In 2009, when I filed a formal complaint…they deleted my name, my title and leadership role from all World Bank publications and then said ‘This guy had no experience, so we can’t hire him [for the global manager position],’” Biru said.
The case prompted Congress to pass a law stating that the World Bank must introduce external arbitration of disputes in order to continue to get federal funding. After Kim took over the Bank, Biru said he continued to fight for his good personnel record to be restored, but Kim did not take action.
“The issue with Kim is, he was approached by Congressional Black Caucus leaders and also Sen. [Barbara] Mikulski. They asked him to reinstate my record, to ‘Restore his HR record that you guys have deleted,’” Biru said, noting that they essentially said “this guy needs to work” in a new position but can’t because of the damage done to his file.
“What they did was very shocking,” Biru said. “They said ‘Okay, we will restore his record internally but not externally.’”
Biru claims that the Bank restored his good record on his internal file but potential employers looking at his “external” file still see contradictions.
“The Bank’s rules are clear, if there is a contradiction between the Bank’s HR file internally and what is in the public domain, they have a responsibility to correct what is outside,” Biru said. “If you look in my internal file you will see I was a deputy global manager, I was internationally praised, I am quoting verbatim. What you will see on the external file is that I had no management role at the Bank and that I lack credibility internationally and lack competence.”
“So what the Bank now is saying is that my record internally is too good to be true, it’s hagiographic, so they will not honor” their responsibility to restore the record on the external file, Biru said. “Now I have no record! My HR record has [effectively] been completely wiped out.”
Biru said that the Government Accountability Project and the DC Civil Rights Coalition both “documented how divisive and systemic the racial discrimination is” at the World Bank. A Government Accountability Report from 2009, prior to Kim’s tenure, found that in 2008 only four of the Bank’s 3,500 headquarters employees were African-Americans.
Breitbart News has obtained a copy of a memo credited to Frank E. Watkins, public policy director of Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH Coalition, on behalf of the DC Civil Rights Coalition.
The memo, entitled “The World Bank 2014 Diversity Report: Neither Independent Nor Credible,” roundly criticizes one of the Bank’s internal diversity reports that seemingly absolved the Bank of discriminatory practices.
The Coalition found numerous problems with the Bank’s report, including: “The Independent Report: Why is the Name of the Author Not Shown? … The Report Is Misleading … The Expert’s Review of the Tribunal’s Judgments Is Neither Independent Nor Credible … The Report Is Internally Inconsistent, Suggesting A Liberal Editing Exercise…”
“Despite the report’s assertion that ‘there is no evidence of racism,’ the conclusion is predicated on the assumption that there is a systemic problem requiring systemic change. Management is focused on a policy of ‘tokenism,’ such as hiring more black young professionals, but refusing to overhaul its justice system to establish accountability,” the memo claimed.
The World Bank defended the findings of its 2014 internal diversity report but also noted that the report found some problems when it comes to race. World Bank spokesman David Theis told Breitbart News:
“The Strategic Review of Current Diversity, Inclusion and Racial Relations Issues Related to the World Bank Group Workforce was an internal study commissioned by our Human Resources department and Staff Association in FY14.
The review confirmed that, at the World Bank Group, different groups appear to be treated equally with no disparate application of talent management practices. Second, the review found that the institution’s Internal Justice System makes clear that racially-based negative behavior will not be tolerated and will have consequences for perpetrators. The Internal Justice System was also found to provide a robust, well-designed and well-conceived system, with a range of formal and informal means of addressing incidents of harassment or intimidation whenever they arise. Importantly, the review found no prima facie evidence that race, ethnicity or nationality have affected the rulings of the World Bank Administrative Tribunal.
On the other hand, the review showed a perceived lack of commitment to a racially inclusive environment, an inadequately diverse racial presence at key and influential positions within the World Bank Group, and greater difficulties for certain groups in reaching higher level professional and leadership positions.
Since the review, we have made good progress on racial diversity in key positions: 9 of 31 VPs are from Sub-Saharan Africa or are African American. Two years ago, there were only 3. One of six regional Chief Economists is now from sub-Saharan Africa.”
The Clinton campaign did not return a request for comment as of press time.