GIULIANI’S CLIENT LIST….A year ago, the senior managing director for Rudy Giuliani’s consulting firm, Giuliani Partners, said, “We bend over backwards and are very careful about who we do business with, for the most obvious reasons — from the beginning, Rudy’s brand of integrity and ethics always had to be preserved.”

In retrospect, the comment seems almost comical. The latest dubious client to draw scrutiny is Purdue Pharma, manufacturer of OxyContin. The NYT’s report details the extent to which the former mayor went to bat for the OxyContin makers, in exchange for a small fortune, lobbying prosecutors, meeting with DEA officials, persuading lawmakers, and winning public-relations battles, all for a company led by executives who later pleaded guilty to criminal charges.

For those keeping score at home, the list of controversial clients, none of which Giuliani is willing to acknowledge publicly, is getting pretty long. There’s the Hank Asher controversy, the business relationship with a Qataran emir accused of sheltering dangerous terrorists (including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed), and the Hong Kong organized crime figure with reported ties to North Korea, among others.

Of course, these are just the ones we already know about. Why, pray tell, won’t Giuliani come clean about the others? Jonathan Chait takes a look today at the former mayor’s list of excuses.

Giuliani’s first defense is that he cannot divulge his clients because they asked to sign confidentiality agreements. In fact, Giuliani Partners, not its clients, is the party that requests confidentiality.

Giuliani also says we shouldn’t worry, because most of his clients have been revealed in the press, anyway. “Just about every single client of Giuliani Partners, which is my security company, has been discussed, has been examined, certainly every significant one,” he told Russert. Just about every client? This is approximately as reassuring as a murder suspect who tells the police they can search just about every room in his house.

Giuliani has further insisted that every one of his clients is upstanding. “None of them,” he told Russert, “amount to anything other than ethical, lawful, decent work done by both companies, sometimes of the highest standards, always ethical and decent.” Not only is this obviously false, if you think about it, it has to be false. Giuliani is in the business of selling his reputation. What sort of firms need to buy that product? Not the Boy Scouts of America. It’s drug smugglers, scandal-plagued firms, and others who need the imprimatur of Giuliani’s 9/11 halo.

But that’s fine, of course, because “Rudy’s brand of integrity and ethics always had to be preserved.” Please.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.