Jeb Bush wants us to believe he is “a better Bush,” someone more ethical than his scandal-scarred brother and more able to than his stumbling father.
Good luck on both counts. A close look at the former Governor of Florida shows us he is as corrupt as George W. and as bumbling as George H.W.
Before his foray into politics in the Sunshine State, Jeb played real estate mogul and entrepreneur with some success. His real success, however, came in playing fast and loose with rules, laws and ethics.
In 1985, he started helping Miguel Recarey Jr., a fast-buck artist building a health care business with a primary goal of bilking Medicare.
As the son of a then sitting vice president, Bush went to bat for Recarey to help him win business with the federal government. Even worse, like his brother, Jeb Bush omits facts, lies outright and conveniently forgets his transgressions.
For example, the latest Bush who wants to be President claims he “made one call” to a “mid-level official” to help Recarery. Congressional testimony, and interviews by The Washington Post, tell a different story. Bush made “multiple contacts” with government decision makers on Recarey’s half.
C. McClain Haddow, the chief of staff to Margaret Hekler, secretary of health and human services at the time, said Bush was so active that he “certainly altered the trajectory of the decision.”
In 1987, health and human services official Kevin Moley, a Bush family friend, warned Jeb that he was inviting trouble with his aggressive advocacy for Recarey. In congressional testimony, Moley said ‘Jeb, this is something, you know, you probably won’t want to be involved in.'”
Bush ignored Moley’s advice. Federal regulators later shut down Recarey’s International Medical Centers because millions of federal dollars were missing. Recarey fled to Spain to avoid extradition on charges of bribery and outright theft.
Aligning himself with questionable characters if not unusual for Jeb Bush. He openly advocated for a federal loan guarantee for a Miami contractor later convicted of fraud for that loan program, he served on the board and was paid as a consultant for a Florida manufacturer where the top officers are now in prison for defrauding investors and the federal government and he worked for another Florida company involved in fraud on a deal to sell water pumps to Nigeria through the Export-Import Bank of the United States.
Maybe Bush needs such deals to help support his wife’s expensive spending habits. In 1999, Columbia Bush, was detained by federal customs officials and fined for lying about the amount she spent on a $19,000 five-day shopping spree in Paris.
Mrs. Bush likes to spend. In one day, she borrowed $42,311.70 for a one-day jewelry shopping gig at one store in South Florida.
She shops and runs up large bills at Mayors Jewelers, the preferred spot by those with millions of funds from illegal drug operations to buy expensive Rolexes. Bush’s wife likes Rolexes as well. She spent $16,600 for one of the watches in 1997 and $11,700 for another. Such purchases were charged through an open-ended account she has at Mayors.
And, like her husband, Mrs. Bush avoids telling the truth about what she is doing. Her attempt to low ball the actual amounts on what she paid on her Paris shopping trip cost her $4,100 in fines and customs duties at Atlanta’s Hartsfield Airport.
A perfect pair for next occupants of The White House?
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