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DON'T KNOW WHAT I'M CAPABLE OF? COME TO TEXAS AND LOOK AROUND. --George W(hitewater) Bush

"Politicians Help Themselves to Public-Sector Capital While Lecturing the Voters on the Virtues of Hard Work and Self-Reliance" ADG

And Dubya May Be Coming to a Polling Place Near You.


NEW FACTS ABOUT BUSH'S "WHITEWATER" MADE AVAILABLE.

by Jerry Politex, Wednesday, January 12, 9:00 p.m. ET

Bush tells folks outside of Texas that if they don't know what he's capable of doing, they should just come down to Texas and look around. Then they'd know. Some are dismayed by what they've found. On Monday we wrote that in the February issue of "Harper's" Joe Conason's will "report 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." (see below)

Independent of Conason, we went on to identify Bush billionarie friend, business associate, and major campaign contributor Thomas Hicks as 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." 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," according to a March '99 report in the "Dallas Morning News."

Writing in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette today, columnist 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." (see below)

After Lyons starts his column describing Clinton's Whitewater problems, he concludes that "if Arkansas is 'incestuous,' it's hard to think what adjective describes Texas, where public and private fortunes are commingled to a degree unknown in other states, and GOP leaders have helped themselves to public-sector capital while lecturing the poor on the virtues of hard work and self-reliance. Under laws enacted at Bush's behest, rich Republicans have used billions in state funds to finance leveraged corporate buyouts and other risky investments to benefit themselves and their friends. If you didn't know better, you'd think Conason was writing about Indonesia or Saudi Arabia."


BUSH CARLYLE GROUP CONNECTIONS PROBED ON TWO FRONTS

by Jerry Politex, Monday, Jan. 10, 12:30 a.m. ET

In early September the "Washington Post" published a story about Bush "top fund-raiser" Wayne Berman, 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 the Washington Post, "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 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."

Later that month Connecticut ex-treasurer Silvester pleaded guilty to felony charges of racketeering and conspiracy as a result of federal charges of personal and campaign funding kickbacks. Early in October The Hartford Courant reported that "Only two of these high-powered players have been connected to criminal scenarios in the Silvester case," one of them being Wayne Berman. According to reporters Jon Lender and Mike McIntire, "Wayne D. Berman [is] a Washington, D.C.-based business consultant and, until recently, a major campaign fund-raiser for GOP presidential front-runner George W. Bush. Sources say Berman charged the Carlyle Group more than $900,000 for helping it land tens of millions in pension investments from Silvester last year. Berman is now the partner of former New York Sen. Alfonse D'Amato in a new, second consulting firm called Park Strategies, which employed Silvester for several months after he left office earlier this year." Lender and McIntire conclude that all of this "is just the latest example of business as usual - of the way things work - in a government office that has the power to enrich private individuals when making public investments. In Silvester's case, however, it also is clearly a story of business-as- usual going far beyond the gray area of blurred lines and venturing into the clearly criminal zone of kickbacks and racketeering."

In a later story Lender and McIntire add, "Silvester, who faces up to six years in prison, pleaded guilty in September to engineering a broad conspiracy involving the illegal exchange of finder's fees, jobs and consulting contracts for state pension investments. He is cooperating with prosecutors in a bid for leniency when he is sentenced in March." Naturally, Wayne Berman, one of George W. Bush's money men, is no longer active in the Bush presidential campaign, but that's hardly the end of Dubya's connection to questions of impropriety and worse.

In the upcoming February issue of "Harpers," Joe Conason's "How George Bush Got Rich" will report 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, according to Matt Drudge.

Conason's investigation of Governor Bush, his past employer, and the money men who determine the use of the vast funds of the University of Texas should not end in 1995. The relevant committee that the Board of Regents uses to decide upon how the University of Texas invests its billions is run by billionaire Tom Hicks, a Bush appointee who was Dubya's major campaign contributer to his '98 gubernatorial race and a maximum contributor and one of his major fundraisers in his presidential campaign. This investment banker to whom Bush and his billionaire mentor,Richard Rainwater, sold the Texas Rangers, owns a vast sports and media empire. Bush has 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, 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." 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," according to a March '99 report in the "Dallas Morning News."

During Dubya's first term as governor he had an active and ongoing relationship with Hicks and Rainwater to the advantage of all three men. While not proving a quid-pro-quo, here's what "Houston Chronicle" reporter R.G. Ratcliffe found (8/16/98): 1. Bush proposed that the state consider privatizing state mental hospitals, which "could have benefitted Magellan Health Services, Inc... controlled by Richard Rainwater," who at that time was co-partner of the Texas Rangers (not in a Bush blind trust) and President of Crescent Real Estate Equities (in a Bush blind trust). 2."[Dem candidate for governor] Garry Mauro claims Bush vetoed the Patient Protection Act in l995 because it would have affected the profits of a major hospital chain that Rainwater controlled." 3. Bush endorsed a property tax reform bill that would have saved a Rainwater investment company $2.5 mil in school property taxes. 4. Bush-signed legislation will provide a $10 million bonus to Texas Rangers partners when a Dallas arena is built. 5. This arena will also enhance the worth of Thomas Hicks' hockey team. Further, Hicks bought the Texas Rangers from the Bush partnership. 6."In the six months after that bill was signed, Bush's political fund received $37,000 from Hicks, $ll,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. 7.Hicks is the 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 Rainwater's Crescent Equities.

Since these actions have taken place, the Guv has sold his share of the Texas Rangers for around $l5 mil as well as his Crescent holdings for an undisclosed amount. However, while he owned stock held by Rainwater, Bush created problems by not putting all of his holdings in a blind trust, having the same business partners involved in both blind trust holdings and non-blind trust holdings, and bringing them or their firms into state government to become involved in the administration of state funds.

Given the growing numbers of players from both the Poppy and the Junior administrations being pulled into the vortex of probes and questions about the getting of one's private wealth as well as the private wealth of one's friends, the use of government funds, the getting of campaign funds, and considerations of both the letter and the spirit of various state and federal laws, there are numerous public concerns that George W. Bush might want to address. As Conason writes in his "Harper's" story to be published January 25th, "There's no indication that Governor Bush or his father violated any law in their relationships with Carlyle, but this story suggests the values that the governor might bring" to the presidency. "The many deals suggest a Republican version of the Lincoln Bedroom sleepovers in the White House."



DUBYA'S 10TH DAZE O' CHRISTMAS

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