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SUMMARY. With Bush, Money That Comes Around Goes Around. In 1990 Lee and Robert Bass, Bush's sixth highest career patrons, agreed to finance Harken Energy's drilling in Bahrain when Bush was a Harken director and his father was President. That same year Bush sold 212,000 shares of Harken stock to someone/something named "Lee," but not on the open market, which would have further depressed the worth of the stock, which was in the red. Bush use of the money enabled him to purchase a small share of the Texas Rangers, which built a baseball stadium by having the city of Arlington condemn private land and give millions in taxpayer money to the ball club owners. Later, when the club was sold, many considered the land revenue with zero sales tax and the stadium that came with the deal more valuable than the team.

Bush's share from the sale was $2.3 million (1.8%), but the other owners had voted to give him an additional $12.6 million (10%) of the sale as a bonus. One of the owners was William O. DeWitt, Jr., Bush's partner in an oil company that bought out Bush's failed oil company and whose father once owned the Cincinnati Reds. Another Texas Rangers owner was Richard Rainwater, once the money manager for the Bass brothers, then a billionaire speculator. When Bush became Texas Governor in '95 but prior to the Texas Rangers sale to Thomas Hicks in 1998, one of the bills he pushed was a Bush-backed stadium-financing bill that gave a $10 million bonus payment to Texas Rangers partners when a Dallas arena is built. This arena would also enhance the worth of Thomas Hicks' Dallas hockey team. "In the six months after that bill was signed, Bush's political fund received $37,000 from Hicks, $11,000 from [Rainwater's] Crescent President Haddock and $5,000 from Ross Perot, Jr. A 1999 press release notes "Ross Perot Jr., owner of the Mavericks, and Tom Hicks, owner of the Stars, will develop 50 acres around the arena with hotels, restaurants, stores and office space."

Thomas Hicks, another billionaire friend, is Bush's fith highest career patron. During Bush's term as governor he had Hicks in charge of a $1.7 billion university investment fund. Almost a third of the $1.7 billion was committed to funds run by Hicks' business associates or friends, including five funds run by major Republican political donors. $9 million of the fund was invested in a Rainwater equity fund and $10 million of the fund was invested in the Carlyle Group, an investment company staffed by former Reagan-Bush officials, including Bush's father and James Baker, a member of the Bush Cabinet. Bush then signed a law carving $13 million away from the fund and into a more agressive fund run by Hicks, exempt from state laws mandating open meetings and public records, UTIMCO

While UTIMCO performed well below the Dow Jones Average, an impressive list of GOP worthies and Bush campaign contributors have been direct beneficiaries of UTIMCO's investment strategies, through the fund's purchase of their stocks or through their fee-based participation in the fund's money management. State auditors had criticized the secretive nature of the Hicks committee's investment decisions and had complained about the potential for conflicts of interest for board members, but Hicks eventually resigned without providing such information to the public. Meanwhile, among others, The Bass brothers, Lee and Bob, (see first paragraph) benefited from UTIMCO's investment deals. --Politex, July 18,2002. For documentation, direct quotes, and further information, see below




Ken "Lay—along with his buds in the executive suite—famously ran Enron into the ground. He ripped off tens of thousands of electricity consumers in California, lying to them, manipulating the so-called free market while hiding the true nature of the corporate business from its stockholders and the government. In cold blood, he ruined the livelihood of thousands of its employees, screwing them out of any sort of "retirement." Surely Lay and the other chieftains at Enron ought to be charged with criminal malfeasance of some sort—fraud, conspiracy under the racketeering laws, obstruction of justice, or perjury, just for starters. Lay happens to be a major Bush family supporter, having financed both presidents' political conquests and acted as the frat brat's confidant on energy policy. Natch, he doesn't get charged with anything." --James Ridgeway, Aug. 6, 2002.

Jonathan Bush (upper left) "Bush's oil career similarly paralleled his father's. His expertise was in raising money rather than in drilling for oil. Like his father, who was backed by his uncle Herbert Walker, the young George W. Bush used an uncle, Jonathan Bush, to assemble investors for his first ventures. Unlike his father, however, George W. Bush never found much oil. No matter; the domestic oil industry of the 1970s made much of its money by drilling holes in the tax code rather than in the ground....His uncle Jonathan agreed that actually finding oil was not all that important. "In those days, it behooved you to drill," Jonathan Bush told Bill Minutaglio. "You didn't have to do terribly well in order to do well because you got so many write-offs. So it was an attractive way to invest money and save taxes." Arbusto's secretary recalled, "I really don't recall us ever drilling a well and making anything all that great." --Lars-Erik Nelson, Review of 4 Bush Biographies

Bush "had been able to raise the capital for Arbusto with the help of his Uncle Jonathan. Philip Uzielli, a good friend of James Baker, had bailed him out at the right time. He had been saved from fiscal ruin by the merger with Spectrum 7 [owned by William DeWitt, a family benefactor]; and Harken had taken a gamble on George W. because of, among other reasons, the power of his family name. While George W. was a smart, well-liked boss and colleague, his insecurities prevented him from giving credit where credit was due." --Elizabeth Mitchell, W: Revenge of the Bush Dynasty

Roland Betts (upper left) is a third-generation Yalie. Unlike Bush, he considers himself to be a liberal Democrat. "Throughout Bush's adult life, Betts has been his mentor, his business partner, and his best friend. At Yale, when Bush's father was preoccupied with the pressures of his political career, Roland's father stepped into the breach."... Today, Betts is worth, "an incredible amount of money. The most judicious of his deals involved financing every movie made by the Walt Disney Company between 1984 and 1991, as Disney was just starting to get into the film business; he also persuaded Disney to give him the copyrights. Later, Disney had to buy back the rights to titles like Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, and Pretty Woman. Betts calls this 'thinking long-term.'" In 1983 Betts got Bush on the board of Silver Screen Management, his movie company, so Dubya was able to get a share of the pie on the Disney deal. "Bush is a rich man because of his association with Betts," writes Helen Thorpe in New York (Sept. '99)

After George worked at the White House, helping to get his father elected President, he decided to leave the East and go back to Texas. But soon he contacted Betts about a deal to buy the Texas rangers. Betts recalls the subject of George's political aspirations was important to the decision: " 'My willingness to put a lot of money into the Rangers is based on the fact that you're there,' Betts told George. 'If you're going to run for office anytime soon, then I don't want to do this.' Eventually Betts convinced his friend to delay his entry into politics until after they transformed the Rangers into a profitable team. You do something that's yours, you get out from under your father's shadow,' urged Betts. 'When we build a new stadium, you're going to be in the newspapers every single day, getting positive coverage for creating new jobs. As opposed to being just President Bush's son.'" While Betts and the others put up the big bucks for the Texas Rangers, Bush managed to come up with around $600,000 from the sale of oil stocks earned by putting together deals through family and university connections and representing the Bush family name in those companies.

Richard Rainwater (bottom left) is "a billionaire speculator and money manager who ranks among the wealthiest 100 Americans. It's well known that Rainwater has been a major financial backer of Bush's political career, but it's a little-known fact that he's also largely responsible for Bush's personal wealth. He's put Bush into various profitable deals, from oil and gas to real estate, but the big one was the Texas Rangers baseball franchise," says Jim Hightower (May, '99) Rainwater and Bush sold the baseball team to another Texas high roller and Bush campaign contributer, billionaire Tom Hicks. But their relationship didn't stop there.

When Bush became Guv in '95, he put all but his Texas Rangers stock into a blind trust managed by--surprise--Rainwater. Hightower implies the financial relationship wasn't a one-way street: "Bush is nothing if not loyal to Rainwater, who has done very nicely while his pal has been governor. Among the favors Rainwater has enjoyed: *State buildings sold to Rainwater's real estate company at bargain basement rates; *State college and public school funds invested in Rainwater's company; *A Bush-sponsored tax cut that failed, but would have cut millions in annual taxes for Rainwater; and *A stadium-financing bill backed by Bush that gave a $10 million bonus payment to a Rainwater company."

Tom Hicks (middle left), the investment banker billionaire to whom Bush and Rainwater sold the Texas Rangers, owns a vast sports and media empire and was George's biggest '98 campaign contributor. Bush had allowed him to head up a committee charged with "investing $1.7 billion of public university money in the form of investments in private companies." Unfortunately, according to R. G. Ratcliffe in a March 20, '99 investigative article written in the Houston Chronicle, questions have recently been asked because "almost a third of the $1.7 billion has been committed to funds run by Hicks' business associates or friends (and).... five funds run by major Republican political donors." These questions have remained unanswered and Hicks has been unwilling to answer questions about his activities on the public's behalf.. "In the past three years, state auditors have criticized the secretive nature of (the Hicks committee's) investment decisions and have complained about the potential for conflicts of interest for board members." Recently, Hicks has decided to take on fewer responsibilities within the public university fund and the committee has promised to be more public in its financial activities, but has declined to provide explanations about past dealings, citing contractual agreements with the parties involved. Hicks' power at the University of Texas is such that the new football and basketball coaches had to be interviewed by him prior to being offered jobs.

Bush "top fund-raiser" Wayne Berman, is president of Park Strategies LLC in Connecticut, whose activities are being looked at by the FBI. One such activity has $50 million in state pension funds being invested through Park Strategies into a Carlyle Group fund. Carlyle is a "Washington merchant bank and client of Park Strategies that retains former president George Bush as a senior consultant." In 1991 Bush had appointed Berman to be assistant secretary of commerce. Last year Berman and retired senator Al D'Amato (R-NY) formed Park Strategies and hired Paul Silvester, who previously was Connecticut's treasurer and was in charge of investing state pension funds. According to a Sept. '99 Washington Post story, "Silvester was a catch for the firm because of his familiarity with state treasurers from around the country, who control massive pension funds hungry for new investments. Berman too is intimately familiar with many top state officials because he is a leading fund-raiser for the Republican Governors Association."

The Carlyle Group (upper right) is also a who's-who of political operatives: "Like Park Strategies, Carlyle also markets its familiarity with government officials--among its partners are former secretary of state James A. Baker III, former defense secretary Frank C. Carlucci and former White House budget chief Richard Darman. The Carlyle Asian investment fund that received the $50 million sum from Connecticut also retains former president Bush as a top adviser, and Carlyle's European fund retains former British prime minister John Major. Both men have made hundreds of thousands of dollars counseling Carlyle on where to invest its money overseas, introducing Carlyle executives to foreign leaders and giving speeches at Carlyle gatherings. Bush's fees from Carlyle are poured into his accounts in various Carlyle funds, which lately have yielded up to 40 percent a year in returns."

In the February,2000 "Harper's" Joe Conason "report[s] that scant weeks after Dubya was sworn in as first-term Texas governor in 1995, the University of Texas Board of Regents voted to place millions of state dollars with the Carlyle Group, even though Bush had just quit his job as a corporate director of Carlyle-owned Caterair, a leading U.S. airline caterer." Bush billionarie friend, business associate, and major campaign contributor Thomas Hicks is the Bush-appointed chairman of The University of Texas Investment Management Co. which manages the Permanent University Fund. Nearly $9 million of the PUF has been invested in Richard Rainwater's Crescent Equities. We previously noted that Rainwater, Bush, and others sold the Texas Rangers to Hicks while Bush was Texas governor, and Bush's Texas Rangers stock was not held in blind trust. However, other Bush stock was held in blind trust, by Rainwater. During his first term Bush proposed that the state consider privatizing state mental hospitals, which "could have benefitted Magellan Health Services, Inc... controlled by Richard Rainwater," according to the "Houston Chronicle," 8/16/98. During that same period he signed legislation that will provide a $10 million bonus to Texas Rangers partners when a Dallas arena is built. This arena will also enhance the worth of Thomas Hicks' hockey team. "In the six months after that bill was signed, Bush's political fund received $37,000 from Hicks, $11,000 from Crescent President Haddock and $5,000 from Ross Perot, Jr. ... majority owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team." Crescent owns a share of the Mavericks.

Getting back to Hicks and the PUF fund, during Bush's first term Hicks' committee was charged with "investing $1.7 billion of public university money in the form of investments in private companies." Unfortunately, questions have been asked because "almost a third of the $1.7 billion has been committed to funds run by Hicks' business associates or friends (and).... five funds run by major Republican political donors."

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Gene Lyons provides more details about Conason's Feburary "Harper's" story. For the first time, Hicks is named: "At the urging of wealthy campaign donors, Bush signed a law 'privatizing' {the $13 million PUF] endowment...The new law set up a non-profit corporation called UTIMCO--the University of Texas Investment Management Co.--to allow a big chunk of the money to be invested more 'aggressively.' A key provision exempted UTIMCO from state laws mandating open meetings and public records....Well, the Dallas firm of Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst wanted privacy too--especially since its managing partner, a high-stakes player named Tom Hicks, was wearing both hats, his and UTIMCO's. Shallow thinkers might suspect a conflict of interest."

According to Lyons, Conason writes that the "aggressively" investing Hicks committee turned a 16% profit for the fund, "well below the Dow Jones average" and well below what other "agressive" investors have made in the market. However, "an impressive list of GOP worthies and Bush campaign contributors have been direct beneficiaries of UTIMCO's investment strategies." More pointedly, Conason reports that "Within weeks of Bush's inauguration....UT regents entrusted $10 million with The Carlyle Group, a Washington merchant bank staffed by former Reagan-Bush officials."

for more, see Bush's Whitewater

for profiles on the top 20 campaign contributors to 2000, see Public-i

Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst Incorporated, Dallas... Hicks, Muse is a leverage buyout firm that owns Chancellor Media, the nation's 2nd largest chain of radio stations. Its founder and Chairman is Thomas O. Hicks. Hicks owns the Texas Rangers baseball team, which he bought from Bush and his partners in 1998. He [was] also the Chairman of the University of Texas Management Company, which manages the assets of the state's public universities.Bush Career Patron #5 at $316,650.

Bass family, Forth Worth, Texas... The Bass brothers inherited their millions from grand uncle Sid Richardson, a Texas wildcatter. Robert and Lee Bass joined President Bush's Team 100, a group of $100,000 donors to the RNC. The family agreed to finance Harken Energy's drilling in Bahrain in 1990 when George W. Bush was a Harken director. In 1995, Bush appointed Lee Bass Chairman of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission. Bush Career Patron #6 at $275,927.

Who Bought Bush's Risky Harken Stock?

"...Was Bush's sale of Harken stock [in 1990] another instance of a helping hand from family friends? Or was it a simple case of a buyer trying to make a killing in a high-risk investment?...By the time of the sale, Harken's finances also were in the red. Daily trading activity in the stock was as little as 1,300 shares on the New York Stock Exchange. If Bush had tried to sell such a large amount of Harken stock on the open market, it would undoubtedly have driven the price far below the $4 a share he was paid....Uncovering little evidence to support an insider trading case, the SEC didn't interview Bush. SEC investigators interviewed Smith, but, according to Smith, they never asked the broker who bought Bush's stock. Over the past two years, news organizations have tried to persuade Smith to ask the buyer to waive the confidentiality that surrounds the transaction, but the retired broker has declined. Smith's difficult-to-read handwritten notes turned over to the SEC in the insider trading probe of Bush supply a clue. The notes for June 9 appear to state that "Geo Bush will sell 212,010 shares in about 2 weeks." The June 22 entry on the day of the sale appears to state, "s/212,140 at 4 to Lee for Bush." Smith declines to say whether the apparent word "Lee" refers to a person or an entity." --AP, July 14, 2002

"Bush "privatized"...$9 billion in university [of Texas] assets, transferring them to a nonprofit corporation known as Utimco that could make investment decisions behind closed doors.In effect, the money was put under the control of Utimco's chairman: Tom Hicks [who later purchased the Texas Rangers from Bush and others, with Bush earning $2.3 million and the others, some of whom having been involved in his previous oil dealings, gifting Bush an additional $12.6 million]. Under [Hicks'] direction, at least $450 million was invested in private funds managed by Mr. Hicks's business associates and major Republican Party donors. The managers of such funds earn big fees. Due to Mr. Bush's change in the rules, these investments were hidden from public view; an employee of Utimco who alerted university auditors was summarily fired. Even now, it's hard to find out how these investments turned out, though they seem to have done quite badly [for UTIMCO]." --Paul Krugman, July 16, 2002

"Among the beneficiaries of the privatized UTIMCO's investment deals were various longtime Bush family political contributors including Sam and Charles Wyly (of McCain smear fame); the Carlyle Group (post-presidential teat for George H.W. Bush and James Baker III among others); Adele Hall of Hallmark Cards, a Bush Pioneer; and the Bass family of Fort Worth, who also had an important deal with Harken Energy around the time that Bush unloaded his Harken stock." --Joe Conason, 07.16.02

Joe Conason Describes The Players And Their Deals

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