Jeb Bush's Sleazy Political Payback to Dubya's Donors
Over at the International Business Times, Andrew Perez, David Sirota and Matthew Cunningham-Cook have the scoop on how former Florida governor Jeb Bush, currently weighing a 2016 bid, steered billions of dollars from his state's pension funds to the fundraisers of his brother, George W. Bush.
The IBT report lists 19 top George W. Bush fundraisers, dubbed as “Pioneers” and “Rangers” by the campaign, whose firms received business from the state of Florida, amounting to $1.7 billion of retirement money. The firms include Morgan Stanley, UBS, the Carlyle Group, JP Morgan, and Lehman Brothers, among others. Altogether, these top firms gave $5 million to former president George W. Bush, the Republican National Committee and the Republican Party of Florida. That means they received 340 times what they gave to these GOP committee organizations.
“If not an actual conflict of interest, these examples would provide fodder for apparent conflicts of interest,” Common Cause Florida's Peter Butzin told IBT. “Those folks who give … expect something in return. And if that something in return is not blatantly sending business their way or resulting in a particular vote, it most certainly is at least providing an opportunity for access, to get the foot in the door, so that they can make the case with that official.”