Daniel Bucheli, a staffer for Republican congressman Darrell Issa (who has of late been watchdogging the Obama administration’s Benghazi record), recently took a two-day free trip up the road from the nation’s capital to visit New York City with some interesting bedfellows. Transportation cost $850, lodging was $169, and total meal expenses were $110. The occasion was the Humpty Dumpty Institute’s 43rd annual congressional staff delegation to the United Nations, kicked off by an “organizational dinner” at Gnocco Cucina & Tradizione in the East Village, known for its “well-dressed salads and an unassuming pork tenderloin lavished with Parmesan shavings and a balsamic emulsion,” according to New York Magazine. Then it was off for a presumably good night’s rest at the One UN Hotel: “Located 28 stories above the avenues, the hotel’s 439 spacious guest rooms and suites offer a tranquil retreat from the bustle below. Few luxury Midtown Manhattan hotels provide accommodations quite like this, with each window offering guests incredible skyline views.”
The next day, Bucheli and fellow congressional staffers toured the UN and sat down for briefings from Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis, U.S. Alternate Representative of the United States for Special Political Affairs, and Hervé Ladsous, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, among others. According to its website, the Humpty Dumpty Institute is “a unique non-profit organization that serves people in the developing world through the implementation of large-scale humanitarian projects and through its work with the United Nations.” William J. Rouhana, Jr., the group’s chairman and co-founder, was also founder and former chief executive of Winstar, a roof-top wireless operation that went bankrupt during the dot-com bust of the 1990s after running up $3.6 billion in debt; Rouhana was subsequently accused of artificially inflating the company’s revenues, according to an April 2002 Forbes report.
Besides its congressional UN tours, Humpty Dumpty is the beneficiary of lavish New York high society fundraisers and sponsors the Global Creative Forum, an annual event in Los Angeles that has featured a bevy of Hollywood celebrities, including actors Don Cheadle, Charlize Theron, and Ed Begley, Jr., along with ex-president Bill Clinton. According to the institute’s website, the forum “builds bridges between the United Nations and the entertainment industry (film, television, music, internet and social media).”
“The GCF inspires activities that support the Creative Community Initiative, a joint program of the U.N. and the UN Foundation, and explores ways the U.N. and the entertainment industry can join forces to raise awareness and mobilize the public in support of the Millennium Development Goals and other U.N. issues.” Rouhana has been a longtime backer of Democratic causes, giving $5000 to Connecticut congressman Jim Himes during the 2012 election cycle, along with $3500 to the successful 2012 U.S. Senate bid of Chris Murphy, also of Connecticut.