Jeb Bush Wasn’t Bashful About Trading on Family Name

Jeb Bush Wasn’t Bashful About Trading on Family Name

Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush waves as he arrives to address a legislative luncheon held as part of the "Road to Majority" conference in Washington
REUTERS/Carlos Barria
By Eric Pianin

While Jeb Bush frequently is touted as both a two-term governor and a successful businessman, his often dubious record as an entrepreneur and investor has been widely documented over the past three decades. 

The 62-year-old scion of a powerful political family and now an announced candidate for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination was involved in a myriad business ventures dating back to the mid-1980s, The Washington Post noted on Monday in the latest media examination of Bush’s entrepreneurial exploits as he tried to amass his fortune. 

Related: Jeb Bush Shows Some Fire in Campaign Launch 

Bush brokered numerous real estate deals in Miami, helped to arrange bank loans in Venezuela, marketed shoes in Panama, sought out Mexican investors for a building-materials company, advised transnational financial services firms — you name it. He also made a boatload of money by sitting on a handful of corporate boards. And ever since he left the Florida governor’s office in 2007, Bush — like Democrat Hillary Clinton — has raked in substantial income by giving speeches while also consulting and managing investments for others. 

“Jeb Bush had a successful career in commercial real estate and business before serving as Florida’s governor,” Kristy Campbell, a spokeswoman for Bush, told the Post. “He has always operated with the highest level of integrity throughout his business career.” 

And yet the Post’s lengthy review of Bush’s business career — culled from records, lawsuits, interviews and newspapers accounts dating back more than 30 years — reveals a picture of a young man on the make who “often benefited from his family connections and repeatedly put himself in situations that raised questions about his judgement and exposed him to reputational risks.” 

Related: Can Jeb Bush Unite the GOP’s Establishment and Religious Wings?   

Five of Bush’s former business associates have been convicted of crimes; one remains an international fugitive on fraud charges. Bush has disavowed any knowledge of the wrongdoing and conceded that some of the businessmen he met in Florida took advantage of his relative youth and naiveté. 

One thing that comes through loud and clear in the Post report is that Jeb Bush had no compunction about trading on his family name in trying to make a buck. 

Major case in point: In early 1989, seven weeks after his father, George H.W. Bush, took office as president, Jeb Bush took a trip to Nigeria with the executive of a Florida company called Moving Water Industries. Bush had just been hired to help market the firm’s water pumps. 

With no less than a special escort from the U.S. ambassador to Nigeria, Bush and his new boss met with the nation’s political and religious leaders as part of the company’s effort to land a deal that would be worth $80 million. 

“My father is the president of the United States, duly elected by people that have an interest in improving ties everywhere,” the young Bush told the group. “The fact that you have done this today is something I will report back to him very quickly when I get back to the United States.” 

Just days after Bush returned to the U.S., his father sent the president of Nigeria a handwritten note thanking him for hosting his son. Not surprisingly, Moving Water Industries eventually landed the deals it was seeking, according to the Post.

Chart of the Day: Dem Candidates Face Their Own Tax Plans

Senator Bernie Sanders, former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Elizabeth Warren participate in the 2020 Democratic U.S. presidential debate in Houston
MIKE BLAKE/Reuters
By The Fiscal Times Staff

Democratic presidential candidates are proposing a variety of new taxes to pay for their preferred social programs. Bloomberg’s Laura Davison and Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou took a look at how the top four candidates would fare under their own tax proposals.

Quote of the Day: The Health Care Revolution That Wasn’t

Benis Arapovic/GraphicStock
By The Fiscal Times Staff

“The fact is very little medical care is shoppable. We become good shoppers when we are repeat shoppers. If you buy a new car every three years, you can become an informed shopper. There is no way to become an informed shopper for your appendix. You only get your appendix out once.”

— David Newman, former director of the Health Care Cost Institute, quoted in an article Thursday by Noam Levey of the Los Angeles Times. Levey says the “consumer revolution” in health care – in which patients shop around for the best prices, forcing doctors, hospitals and pharmaceutical firms to compete with lower prices – hasn’t materialized, but the higher deductibles that were part of the effort are very much in effect. “High-deductible health insurance was supposed to make American patients into smart shoppers,” Levey writes. “Instead, they got stuck with medical bills they can't afford.”

Congressional Report of the Day: The US Pays Nearly 4 Times More for Drugs

A pharmacist holds prescription painkiller OxyContin, 40mg pills, made by Purdue Pharma L.D.  at a local pharmacy
REUTERS/George Frey
By The Fiscal Times Staff

The House Ways and Means Committee released a new analysis of drug prices in the U.S. compared to 11 other developed nations, and the results, though predictable, aren’t pretty. Here are the key findings from the report:

  • The U.S. pays the most for drugs, though prices varied widely.
  • U.S. drug prices were nearly four times higher than average prices compared to similar countries.
  • U.S. consumers pay significantly more for drugs than other countries, even when accounting for rebates.
  • The U.S. could save $49 billion annually on Medicare Part D alone by using average drug prices for comparator countries.

Read the full congressional report here.

Chart of the Day: How the US Ranks for Retirement

Ken Bosma / Flickr
By The Fiscal Times Staff

The U.S. ranks 18th for retiree well-being among developed nations, according to the latest Global Retirement Index from Natixis, the French corporate and investment bank. The U.S. fell two spots in the ranking this year, due in part to rising economic inequality and poor performance for life expectancy.