Bernard Kerik, President Bush’s nominee to head the Homeland Security Department, is a multimillionaire as a result of a lucrative partnership with former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and an even more profitable relationship with the manufacturer of Taser stun guns, the New York Times reports. Kerik will oversee an enormous department that does business with some of the companies that helped make him wealthy. Kerik has sold the right to make a feature film about his rags-to-riches life to the film company Miramax.
The relationship with Taser International has by far been the biggest source of his newfound wealth, earning him more than $6.2 million in pretax profits through stock options he was granted and then sold, mostly in the last month. A White House spokesman said Kerik would resign from Taser’s board and sell his remaining stock if confirmed. Stock options that were worth little when they were granted became extremely valuable, in part because of the sales pitch that Kerik made on the company’s behalf to other police departments. Executives at Taser approached the Customs and Border Protection division of the Homeland Security Department to encourage it to buy Tasers for its officers. Kerik tried to help with that pitch, referring the company to a Customs official from New York he knew. The agency, which has thousands of armed officers, is evaluating the Taser.