Just Another Corporate Greedhead

Here's yet another story of those at the top of the corporate pyramid getting insider information, then selling-off their own holdings of the company's stock -- just before the stock price crashes. As usual, this big shot walked away with a slick profit and a wink, while small investors and company employees took a bath.

Such stories are commonplace in corporate America these days, but what makes this one so extraordinary is the name of the big shot. It's not Ken Lay, Bernie Ebbers ... or even Martha Stewart. This slick operator is none other than the guy who has lately been so loudly scolding CEOs for being greedheads: George W. Bush!

In 1986, George was a twice-failed businessman, having gone bust in two oil ventures. But a group of New York investors bailed him out of his financial mess by buying his failed company and putting him on the board of their company,Harken Oil and Gas. They liked having the son of the then-vice president, Bush the Elder, on their board as star power. They gave Little George a batch of Harken stock and paid him $120,000 a year to be a board member.

Four years later, on June 22, 1990, Bush suddenly sold all of his Harken stock for $835,000 in personal profit. Only eight days later, the audit committee of Harken's board disclosed that the company had suffered huge losses, and the price of Harken's stock promptly plummeted. When asked later if he had used insider information to enrich himself while common investors were unaware that they were about to get whacked, George W said he "had no idea" that the audit report was going to be awash in red ink.

George's denial might have been more credible except for one thing: He sat on the board's audit committee.

This is Jim Hightower saying . . . While Harken was small compared to Enron, WorldCom and the others, George W. Bush's personal, self-serving ethical failure was just as big as theirs.


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