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Did Paul Twomey just lie to congress?
Did Paul Twomey just lie to congress?

"It was for the stability of the internet and a multistakeholder consensus"

Where ICANN's outgoing CEO and president Paul Twomey is asked to state his "salary in Australian dollars" - he gives it and US dollars instead which is a much smaller number. And he rounds down to the closest one-hundred thousand. Three times. And then when congress knows that's the wrong answer because they've read the annual report they ask him again and he says: "In Australian dollars... it's about eight hundred K".

What? No, actually it is not.

Based on the exchange rate at the time 1 US = 1.25 AU, and published numbers from ICANN's annual report the numbers are: salary and benefits, $972,000 USD which is over a million ($1,222,883.73) Australian dollars. Also noted, ICANN has 7 million surplus dollars in the bank, taxes every domain name eighteen cents and nearly all of one hundred million domains have paid this tax.

The fun starts at 0:39

In 1999 Twomey came to ICANN from his post as a government-internet wonk in Oz, where he'd just finished ruining the Australian Internet which is today still reels from the mess he made. Like most people, I just dropped out from the whole domain scene when it was clear that ICANN had nothing to do with "giving IANA legal protection" and was now something that made the UN look simple, effective and efficient.

So we come back ten years later and find these guys have done nothing, NOTHING in ten years and, oh, surprise, they paid themselves really really well all this time to do nothing.

So they get hauled before congress. Again. Paul had just finished his ten tear tenure with ICANN and the technical people once again peeked to see what ICANN was up to. For his last great act, Paul Twomey then proceeds to lie to congress. About money. For himself.

And that, folks, are your domain tax dollars at work.

I'm sure, if Paul were aksed, he'd say "Oh, I misunderstood the question".

Sure you did. Because you're in the limelight, and are literally having a senator stare at you angrily, and ask you're a question - you don't pay attention, no, you just don't bother to concentrate because something else is more important right now? is that what you're asking us to believe?

Or is it because as the CEO an President of the Internet Names and Number company, you couldn't remember a number? About money. Like, how much you pay yourself.

"Gosh did I say 800K when the real number is over a million-two? I'm so silly. Numbers, who needs 'em?"
- Paul Twomey, CEO of The Internet Corporation for Assigned names and Numbers

And if you're gonna lie, don't say 800, nothing that ends with 00 is credible. Make it 855 0r 871 or something. I mean, make it look like a real number. Look how real your own number is, the real number, the actual number you should have given then if they'd asked for a figure in US dollars, which they didn't - 927K. Ronding down to 900K wasn't good enough? God forbid you tell the actual truth. While under oath. Before congressional investigating panel.

Ok, so you rounded down. Twice. And then gave him the number, In the wrong currency, that is, the one that makes it look almost twice as small. How does the thought process work with something like that, "Salary, shit, over a million two - something, but that's Australian, it's under a mil USD... I'll just round down... 900, no 800 that sounds better". 927 -> 900 -> 800 "Why, 800 Senator!" Lier. That number isn't right in any currency, this isn't a mistake, honest of otherwise, this is deliberately misleading congress about how much they pay you. That's right, only congress has real oversight over ICANN and when they ask "how much do we pay you again" they expect the truth (I guess) and don't get it. Well isn't that precious?

So maybe you really didn't remember how much money you make the number and really thought you made "800K" in some currency or other. Or maybe you did the math real quick then deliberately misled the senator.

Either way it's a damn good idea you're out of ICANN, now we can start to devolve the hopeless morass of bureaucracy that has stifled any real innovation (no, broken IDN, 20 year old v6 - that nobody can talk to, or DNSSEC - that breaks everything don't count) for a decade and still not delivered the consumer choice it was supposed to.

ICANN Annual Report 2008. P106

ICANN's President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dr. Paul Twomey’s services are currently provided to ICANN through a professional services agreement with Argo Pacific Party Limited (Argo Pacific), an Australian Proprietary Company. Dr. Twomey has an interest in Argo Pacific.

Payments were made to Argo Pacific under a contractual arrangement with ICANN (the terms of which have been approved by the ICANN Board of Directors) for the provision of Dr. Twomey’s professional services, benefits allowance, and for related expenses (incidental travel, telecommunications, computer supplies, and office supplies). Pursuant to the agreement, during the year ended June 30, 2008, Argo Pacific was paid $256,000 associated with Dr. Twomey’s employee benefits, $543,000 in base compensation, and $148,000 in bonuses. Argo Pacific’s agreement with ICANN is denominated in Australian Dollars. ICANN’s functional currency is in US Dollars, thus the payments to Argo Pacific are impacted by exchange rate fluctuations between the US dollar and Australian dollar. During the year ended June 30, 2007, Argo Pacific was paid $219,000 associated with Dr. Twomey’s employee benefits, $451,000 in base compensation, and $210,000 in bonuses. These bonuses were for service during the fiscal year ending June 30, 2004, 2005, and 2006. Furthermore, during the year ended June 30, 2007, Argo Pacific received $24,000 in foreign currency adjustments for years prior to 2007 and received $37,000 in foreign currency adjustments for the 2007 year. Reimbursements made to Argo Pacific for related expenses such as travel, telecommunications, and office supplies amounted to $25,000 and $26,000 for the years ending June 30, 2008 and 2007, respectively. Total payments made to Argo Pacific for the years ended June 30, 2008 and 2007, were approximately $972,000, and $967,000, respectively.