NEW YORK – Just as the Bush family is about to put on a full-court press to save the failing presidential candidacy of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, former Nixon confidant Roger Stone and co-author Saint John Hunt, son of Watergate burglar E. Howard Hunt, have published an exposé titled “Jeb! and the Bush Crime Family: The Inside Story of an American Dynasty.”
“Virtually every one of Jeb’s failed business enterprises is a carried interest in which he put up no cash but used his family name and connections to secure loans, financing, waivers, or other financially significant benefits,” Stone and Hunt write. “No less than five of Bush’s former partners in these endeavors are in jail.”
With Jeb Bush recruiting his family’s assistance in the South Carolina primary, Stone seeks to make his new book every bit as relevant as the one he published last October with Robert Morrow, “The Clintons’ War on Women,” which spotlighted Bill Clinton’s history as a serial sexual predator and his wife’s role in covering up for him and attacking the victims.
The new Bush family exposé follows in the tradition of Kevin Phillips’ 2004 bestseller, “American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush,” and Russ Baker’s 2009 book, “Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, the Powerful Forces that Put It in the White House, and What Their Influence Means for America.”
Stone and Hunt trace the family history back to patriarch Prescott Bush, father of George H. W. Bush, presenting evidence of the role Prescott Bush played in financing the rise of Adolf Hitler to power in Nazi Germany in the 1930s.
Stone and Hunt write on Page 92 that shortly after Pearl Harbor, under the Trading with the Enemy Act, Franklin Roosevelt shut down Union Banking Corporation, a bank Prescott Bush ran as part of his duties at Brown Brothers Harriman for the benefit of Fritz Thyssen.
Thyssen was the German banker first introduced to Hitler in 1924 by Rudolph Hess, who went on to write a book published in the United States in 1941, “I Paid Hitler,” in which Thyssen described the key role he played financing Hitler’s war machine.
Stone and Hunt write on Page 322 that prior to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, George W. Bush, together with his long-time adviser James Baker and former British Prime Minister John Major, visited Saudi Arabia to solicit a contribution of more than $80 million to the Carlyle Group, a Washington-based $16 billion private investment firms with ties to U.S. intelligence that was “paying huge fees” to former President George H. W. Bush and Baker.
The authors report that the FBI was pulled off an investigation of the bin Laden family and Saudi royals after George W. Bush was elected president, ignoring evidence that on Sept. 11 Shafiq bin Laden, an “estranged” half brother of Osama bin Laden, gave the Carlyle Group $38 million to manage.
“It’s therefore not surprising that the BBC reported that FBI agents in London were pulled off an investigation of Bin Laden family and Saudi royals soon after George W. Bush took office,” Stone and Hunt comment. “In addition to Osama Bin Laden, other members of the family had terrorist connections and were under investigation by the FBI.”
Pot, CIA, failed businesses
Stone and Hunt on Page 15 take Jeb to task for his “conservative” stance on marijuana. They cite former New York Republican congressman John LeBoutillier, who wrote in 2013 that two former classmates who attended Phillips Academy at Andover told him at Harvard class reunions that Jeb, while attending, not only ran a marijuana and alcohol ring selling product to his classmates but also was a habitual marijuana smoker who was “stoned all the time.”
Stone and Hunt write that Jeb Bush played a role in the Iran-Contra affair. In 1977, George H. W. Bush, as one of his last acts as CIA director, got his Spanish-speaking son to work at age 24 as a “branch manager” and “vice president” at Texas Commerce Bank, then “an optimal cover for CIA activities.” Jeb Bush, who knew the language as a result of his time as an exchange student in Guadalajara, was sent along with his Mexican wife, Columba, to Caracas, Venezuela.
Jeb Bush officially was Texas Commerce Bank’s “top point man in the Venezuelan capital and, unofficially, the CIA’s main financial liaison to the Venezuelan oil industry and the Colombian narcotics cartels,” Stone and Hunt note.
“Jeb helped lay the groundwork for the future Reagan-Bush administration’s 1980s covert war against Nicaragua and leftist guerrillas in El Salvador by establishing banking and money laundering links between the CIA and the Medellin and Cali drug cartels,” Stone and Hunt continue.
“Jeb’s friends in the Colombian cartels, particularly Medellin cartel boss Pablo Escobar, would help finance the Nicaraguan contras in return for CIA-supplied weapons,” the authors write. “While in Venezuela, Jeb cleverly managed to hide the Colombian cartel’s drug revenues as oil industry revenues of ‘front’ companies. Texas Commerce Bank was the bank of choice for Latin American drug cartels. It was later discovered to have stashed $7 million in drug profits for the Gulf cartel of Mexico.”
Stone and Hunt write that Jeb Bush served as liaison for the Nicaraguan contras when his father was vice president, citing evidence in Pages 17-21 that Jeb was deeply involved with the CIA-led operation to traffic cocaine into the United States and sell it to raise money to fund the Nicaragua Contras after Congress cut off the funding with the Boland amendment.
While Jeb’s brother Neil was a board member involved in the fraudulent lending that bankrupted Silverado Savings in Denver in the 1980s, Stone and Hunt detail on Pages 40-41 how Jeb’s business career involved the bankruptcy of Broward Savings and Loan.
Jeb and a business partner borrowed money from the bank to buy a building, with the federal government ending up repaying most of the loan after the bank went insolvent. The government paid $4 million to make the loan good as part of the bailout of the savings and loan industry, after Jeb and his partner negotiated a settlement with the regulators to repay only $505,000 to retain the building.
On Page 5, Stone and Hunt cite the Cato Institute’s analysis of Jeb Bush’s term as Florida governor from 1999 to 2007. Cato documented that Florida general fund spending increased from $18 billion to $28.2 billion, or 57 percent, and total state spending increased from $45.6 billion to $66.1 billion, or 45 percent.
“There is no reason to think his appetite for big spending would be any different in the White House,” Stone and Hunt argue.
Stone and Hunt note that while Florida governor, Jeb Bush directed $150 million of the public employee’s pension fund to an alternative investment fund run by Goldman Sachs while Bush’s cousin, George H. Walker IV, ran the firm’s alternative investment division.
Jeb Bush directed another $250 million of the public employee’s pension fund to Lehman Brothers. Then, when he left office in 2007, Lehman hired him for $1.3 million a year, paid to his consulting firm Jeb Bush and Associates. Two months after Jeb joined Lehman Brothers, the firm sold Florida hundreds of millions of dollars of toxic, mortgage-backed securities on which it lost more than $1 billion after the securities defaulted.
Supporting the argument Stone and Hunt make, the Washington Post reported July 2, 2015, that more than a third of the $33 million in proceeds made by Jeb Bush and Associates from 2007 to 2013 came from banking giants Lehman Brothers and Barclays. Bush was paid a combined total of about $12 million for his work as a senior adviser, plus an additional $8.1 million in speaking fees.
“Bush has denied playing any role in Lehman’s sale of toxic securities to the state pension – as should be expected,” Stone and Hunt write on Page 48. ”He has not commented publicly about Florida’s initial investment in Lehman while he was governor. But the sequence of events with Lehman is par for the course with Jeb.”