Saturday, October 31, 2015

Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and that hill of beans ... by gimleteye

Read the excellent report in the New York Times: "... a review of Mr. Bush’s finances shows that he has built his personal wealth with the help of companies that had business interests with Florida while he was governor." Remember: Jeb had two years advance on his brother, George W. Bush, putting in place the experiment of privatizing government services like prisons and water management infrastructure.

Jeb!'s path to wealth -- political connections -- belongs to a very exclusive club and mainly offered to high ranking politicians who cash out after leaving office. (The New York Times report notes the incongruity of Jeb's current campaign seeking to limit the influence of former elected officials as lobbyists.)

Jeb's earlier ventures included well-documented consultant gigs that traded on his family status (ie. water pumps to Nigeria) and hood-ornament status in Armando Codina's empire; Codina was then the most recognized and accomplished of Miami's Cuban American builders. Jeb! told a reporter at the time, "I want to be very wealthy." He did, and his path to wealth was the Governor's Office.

This primary season and with alacrity, Marco Rubio is supplanting Jeb! with the Latin Builders Association. The LBA had been Jeb's political base during his campaigns for governor. In a recent Politico report on Rubio by Ann Louise Bardach, lobbyist Jorge Luis Lopez explains the phenomenon, "blood is thicker than politics". 

For Jeb!, "there are much cooler things I could be doing", means returning to super-sized wealth spun from Republican contacts. It would certainly be easier than a presidential campaign where very, very little has gone right except for persuading top Republican donors to part with more than $100 million before the GOP presidential season had even sorted itself out.

Marco wouldn't begrudge Jeb's retirement from this primary battle to "earn" tens of millions more, even if his value-added contribution doesn't amount to a hill of beans. It is the American Way and Marco knows whatever happens during this presidential primary season, that hill of beans will make him rich, too, whatever the outcome. No hard feelings.

Report Traces Jeb Bush’s Ties to Companies That Had Business With Florida
NY Times, Oct. 20 2015 (By MATT FLEGENHEIMER and STEVE EDER)

Since announcing his presidential candidacy in June, Jeb Bush has made clear his distaste for officials who trade on their connections.

He has assailed the revolving-door culture of Washington, calling for “a little bit of a recession” there to thin the ranks of the permanent political class. He has proposed a strict six-year ban on lobbying for departing members of the House and the Senate.

And he has shown little patience for the euphemisms of the Capitol, using derisive air quotes to describe “government relations” and “government affairs” experts.

“It’s easy for elected officials to lay out standards of performance for others,” Mr. Bush said during a July speech in Tallahassee, where he worked for eight years as Florida’s governor. “But what are the high standards worth if they’re not applied to themselves?”

Yet a review of Mr. Bush’s finances shows that he has built his personal wealth with the help of companies that had business interests with Florida while he was governor, and that singled out his political expertise and government experience as important assets. Roughly half of the $36.8 million he has earned since he left office in 2007 stems from such companies, according to campaign disclosures and government filings.

Mr. Bush’s financial ties are the focus of a planned 38-page e-book by Peter Schweizer, the researcher who recently chronicled the financial entanglements of the Clinton family in the book “Clinton Cash.” (The New York Times was one of at least three news organizations to receive a copy of the report before its publication. There were no agreements or conditions concerning how the contents would be used; The Times vetted the information and built on it with its own reporting.)

When Mr. Bush departed the governor’s office in 2007, he did not register as a state or federal lobbyist.

But he quickly made the transition back to the business world he had given up for public office — and there were plenty of opportunities awaiting him.

Mr. Bush, working out of the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables and often in partnership with his younger son, Jeb Jr., was well known for keeping a hectic schedule, juggling commitments as a consultant, a paid speaker, an investor and a board member. The assortment of business engagements led Mr. Bush and his wife, Columba, to attain the wealth that they had long sought. During the summer, Mr. Bush’s campaign estimated the couple’s net worth at $19 million to $22 million.

Last week, Mr. Bush’s campaign released his tax return for 2014, showing that it was his most prosperous year, with income of $8.3 million.

In total, his tax returns over the past eight years showed $36.8 million in adjusted gross income.

Mr. Bush’s spokeswoman, Kristy Campbell, noted that Mr. Bush was a successful businessman before becoming governor. “After leaving office, Jeb returned to the private sector, forgoing a taxpayer-funded state pension and building a successful consulting and investment business,” she said. “Jeb’s record, both in office as Florida’s governor and in the private sector as a successful businessman, is one of integrity.”

A sizable chunk of his earnings is attributable to Mr. Bush’s work with three companies — Tenet Healthcare, Lehman Brothers (later Barclays) and Rayonier Inc. — that had business interests with the state while he was governor.

In April 2007, four months after leaving office, Mr. Bush was named to the board of Tenet, which paid him more than $2 million in cash and stock over the next eight years, according to the company’s public filings. Florida was among Tenet’s biggest markets.

Tenet said in public filings that it “benefited greatly from Mr. Bush’s extensive background in government service, his perspectives on public policy and social issues and his experience as a business leader.”

While Mr. Bush was governor, Tenet operated several private Florida hospitals, which participated in the state’s Medicare and Medicaid programs. In 2006, Tenet agreed to pay $7 million to settle claims by the Florida attorney general’s office that it had inflated prices to obtain more than $1 billion in excess Medicare payments.

Mr. Bush, in the summer of 2007, signed a consulting contract with Lehman Brothers, the Wall Street bank. According to his campaign, he was paid about $2 million a year for his services, which at one time included sitting on the board of Lehman’s private equity unit.

Mr. Bush ended up advising Barclays following its purchase of Lehman units in the United States in 2008 after the bank sought bankruptcy protection. Last year, he was paid $2.7 million.

Among the victims in Lehman’s collapse was Florida’s public pension system, which had invested heavily with the bank over the years.

During the summer of 2007, Lehman sold the state pension fund $842 million of mortgage-backed debt, which soon went into default, according to Bloomberg News.

Mr. Bush has denied that as a consultant, he steered Lehman to the pension fund, saying he had no role in Florida’s investments with the bank.

By the end of 2008, Mr. Bush joined the board at Rayonier, a Jacksonville-based forest products company, an appointment that paid him a total of about $1 million by the end of 2014, according to filings in which the company praised Mr. Bush’s “invaluable political expertise” in Florida.

While Mr. Bush was governor, Rayonier negotiated land sales with Florida.

These included the state’s $40 million purchase of 8,465 acres of land and timber as part of a conservation effort in northeast Florida in 2003.

In 2000, during an earlier land negotiation with Rayonier, Mr. Bush, then governor, criticized how Florida arrived at the prices it paid for land, but nevertheless approved a $20 million purchase of property near Jacksonville that the public would be unable to use for 25 years. “Man, I can’t wait to get back into the real estate business and sell property to the state,” Bush said at the time, according to The Associated Press.

On the campaign trail, Mr. Bush has made ethics reform and concern over political coziness centerpieces of his message, positioning himself — despite his last name — as a figure far removed from the rhythms of Washington.

In June, when he released 33 years of tax returns, Mr. Bush noted that his income had increased “thanks to hard work and experience.”

“But one thing I didn’t do was get paid to lobby or cut deals with the state government I just left,” he said. “That was a line I drew and it was the right one.”


Anonymous said...

Fucking criminal.

Sandy Oestreich said...

THANK YOU for this fairly detailed account on Personal Money-Maker Jeb!

It's surely no crime to earn $$. BUT, not by juggling nefarious deals with Lehman and Ranier: "Man, I just can't wait to get back to real estat business!"

Especially when Jeb! was governor and deeply involved with both of these Corporations, and sat on the Board as scandalous deals went down.

(Sheesh..I sit back and reflect, now at 80 y/o, at my leading The National Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) for FIFTEEN SOLID YEARS before the Florida legislature FOR FREE for male and female alike, 18/7 !

I and my 300 000 are still at it, working with bill Sponsors Sen. Joyner (SCR 74) and Rep. Berman (HCR 8001) again and again, annually, scrounging for ooperating funds via home garden sales.

Getting almost every single Democrat's cosponsorship and 1 or 2 Republicans every year by dint of Very Hard Work. Also, being run off the road by them and getting public death threats.

TO THINK THIS JEB! and SO many of The Other Party steal, bilk and lie to us!

While WE all work and sacrifice endlessly for the good Cause of making bald Sex Discrimination a Violation of the US Congress. While THEY make up lies about the ERA to please ALEC and Koch, its founding fathers


ALL we want is a level playing field mostly for women and girls, as we are the ones who take the brunt of sex discrimination.

Makes me even more tired to think of the luxuries the Bushes and the not-attending-work/Congress Marco have connived.

WHEN can we American Women and Girls be mentioned in the Nation's contract with its now-male People (39 actual mentions in that contract) along with the vote?

Why are we women destined, 1 of 7 of us, to wind up in Poverty that taxpayers must fund--Medicaid, Food Stamps, Public Assistance, just so Big Jeb and Marco can feast on our bones?

Ladies, all 326 of organizational members of my ERA organization are already forming up to Revolt.

YOU can take Marco and Jeb! and all those Fat Cats and ...

We Females want to stop being thrown under the bus legislatively (916 anti-woman bills IN JUST 3 MONTHS).

REPUBLICAN LADIES, BETTER START GETTING INFORMED! READ THE GOP PLATFORM and stop voting Against Yourselves--it's the GOP Congress that gleefully votes against you by KILLING THE PAYCHECK FAIRNESS ACT EVERY SINGLE YEAR...and Refuses even to grant hearings to the legislation that pave the way to YOUR sex-equal TREATMENT.

YOU need to be sick of your GOP sickos as WE are.


I don't

Sandy Oestreich said...


Anonymous said...

Nice to see Twitter making fun of Jeb: