GOP fatcats gave Rove expensive shotgun

The owner of the South Texas ranch where Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot a hunting companion chipped in on the gift of a shotgun for presidential aide Karl Rove last year.

Specifically, a Beretta 687 Silver Pigeon II, a handsome 20-gauge shotgun worth $2,073 that Katharine Armstrong and 10 other friends gave the senior adviser and deputy chief of staff to President Bush, according to financial disclosure forms released Friday for top White House aides.

Among the others who teamed to give the pricey gift, most of them prominent Texas Republicans from Rove’s former hometown of Austin, were Mark McKinnon, the chief media strategist for Bush’s two presidential campaigns, and Ernie Angelo, a former Republican national committeeman from Midland.

The only detail provided by White House spokesman Ken Lisaius was that the shotgun was a gift to Rove from friends.

Armstrong was chosen by Cheney to release the first word about the February hunting accident and was instrumental in how the story of Cheney’s wounding of attorney Harry Whittington came out. Armstrong said Whittington made mistakes that led to the accident during a quail hunt on her ranch, when Cheney later took all the blame, and that there was no drinking, when Cheney acknowledged later he had had one beer several hours before the afternoon hunt.

Rove’s disclosure revealed he is worth between $1.8 million and $6.9 million, mostly in stock and bond funds, a rental house in Ingram, Texas, and a Florida beach house. He reported receiving several other gifts, including from Nancy Reagan a $411 collectable shadowbox with silver coins, former President Reagan’s signature and a pin-and-relief portrait.

The disclosures cover 2005. Federal ethics laws require only that financial information be reported in broad ranges.

White House chief of staff Joshua Bolten listed assets worth $1.1 million to $2.3 million, including a vacation home in Key West, Fla., worth $500,000 to $1 million. Bolten reported receiving tickets worth $8,000 to the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts _ two for the National Symphony season opening ball in September 2005 and two for the Kennedy Center honors in December 2005.

Joel Kaplan, the former deputy White House budget director who is now a deputy chief of staff, listed $60,000 to $115,000 in law school loans and reported that he took out a nine-month loan in 2005 to buy a Tiffany Co. engagement ring worth $15,000 to $50,000.

Bush’s national security adviser, Stephen Hadley, listed assets held by him, his wife and his two daughters worth $2.8 million to $6.8 million. His holdings include money market accounts, CDs, investment funds, life insurance policies, a real estate partnership, retirement accounts and education funds.

Dan Bartlett, counselor to the president, has from $417,021 to $1.1 million in stock, bond and money market funds _ about the same as last year. His assets include land in Kerr, Texas, worth $15,000 to $50,000.

Allan Hubbard, Bush’s top economic adviser, and his family reported assets of $11.7 million and $52 million in private holdings, retirement accounts and other business investments. He reported that the total included his wife’s assets of between $9.8 million and $46.7 million and his children’s assets of between $500,000 and $2.8 million