Saturday, July 11, 2015

Will Jeb Bush be the Next President?

Jeb Bush: People Need to Work Longer Hours
By Candace Smith via Good Morning America
July 8, 2015
Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush said Wednesday that in order to grow the economy "people need to work longer hours" -- a comment that the Bush campaign argues was a reference to underemployed part-time workers but which Democrats are already using to attack him.
During an interview that was live-streamed on the app Periscope, Bush made the comments to New Hampshire’s The Union Leader answering a question about his plans for tax reform.
"My aspiration for the country and I believe we can achieve it, is 4 percent growth as far as the eye can see. Which means we have to be a lot more productive, workforce participation has to rise from its all-time modern lows. It means that people need to work longer hours" and, through their productivity, gain more income for their families. That's the only way we're going to get out of this rut that we're in."
Already the Democratic National Committee has pounced, releasing a statement that calls his remarks "easily one of the most out-of-touch comments we’ve heard so far this cycle," adding that Bush would not fight for the middle class as president.
In a statement, a Bush aide clarified that he was referring to the underemployed and part-time workers: "Under President Obama, we have the lowest workforce participation rate since 1977, and too many Americans are falling behind. Only Washington Democrats could be out-of-touch enough to criticize giving more Americans the ability to work, earn a paycheck, and make ends meet."
Bush commented on this issue speaking before the Detroit Economic Council back in February.
"For several years now, they have been recklessly degrading the value of work, the incentive to work, and the rewards of work. We have seen them cut the definition of a full-time job from 40 to 30 hours, slashing the ability of paycheck earners to make ends meet," he said. "We have seen them create welfare programs and tax rules that punish people with lost benefits and higher taxes for moving up those first few rungs of the economic ladder."
A 2014 Gallup poll found that already many Americans employed full-time report working, on average, 47 hours a week, while nearly 4 in 10 say they work at least 50 hours a week.
US workers toil more hours than workers in any other large, industrialized country, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
There are 6.5 million people in the country who, according to the Bureau of Labor, are working part time for economic reasons. This means they are involuntarily working part time because they can't find full time employment and presumably would work more if they could.
Some took Bush's comments as an opportunity to pounce.
The Clinton camp weighed in, with campaign chair John Podesta tweeting: Americans are working pretty hard already & don't need to work longer hours — they need to get paid more.
Rick Tyler, the national spokesman for Ted Cruz's campaign also issued a statement.
"It would seem to me that Gov Bush would want to avoid the kind of comments that led voters to believe that Governor Romney was out of touch with the economic struggles many Americans are facing," he said. "The problem is not that Americans aren't working hard enough. It is that the Washington cartel of career politicians, special interests and lobbyists have rigged the game against them."
Jeb Bush's Wealth Soared When He Left Governor's Office, Tax Returns Show
By Steve Eder
30 June 2015
Jeb Bush on Monday at Nephron Pharmaceutical Company in West Columbia, S.C. Tax returns he released on Tuesday show that he and his wife, Columba, had income of $7.3 million in 2013.Credit Sean Rayford/Getty Images
After he left office as governor of Florida, Jeb Bush’s net worth grew to at least $19 million from $1.3 million, a significant leap in wealth that reflects the power of his connections and the breadth of his entrepreneurial pursuits.
Mr. Bush and his wife, Columba, reported $28.5 million in adjusted gross income from 2007, the year he left office, through 2013, according to tax returns he released on Tuesday. Nearly $10 million came from his speaking engagements.
The Bushes’ income topped out at $7.3 million in 2013, the last of 33 years of returns he made public. The return showed that they paid $2.9 million in federal taxes on that income, for an effective tax rate of 40 percent.
Mr. Bush’s disclosure of voluminous financial records comes early in a presidential campaign that has elevated the issue of candidates’ wealth, and the way it may distance them from ordinary Americans in an era of economic uncertainty.
After he left state politics eight years ago, Mr. Bush made clear that he wanted to make money. The mystery was just how much he had made.
The Bush campaign reported that the couple’s total net worth is now between $19 million and $22 million.
The wealth of America’s political dynasties is emerging as a major theme of the 2016 campaign. And while the fortune amassed by Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton dwarfs what Mr. Bush collected, the records show that he similarly had little difficulty leveraging his prominent name to gain millions of dollars in the private sector.
Mr. Bush said his wealth has also allowed for significant charitable contributions. The couple reported $110,616 in donations on their 2013 return. In a statement on his website, Mr. Bush said they donated $739,000 to charity from 2007 to 2014.
"I’m proud of what Columba and I have contributed," he said.
The effective tax rate of 40 percent that Mr. Bush paid compares with the 13.9 percent rate that Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential candidate, reported paying in 2010, a figure that drew widespread criticism.
The release of the returns, 16 months before the general election, is intended to position Mr. Bush as particularly open to scrutiny compared with other candidates. It included filings for several years that had previously been disclosed during his campaigns for governor. The Bush campaign said he has requested extensions for filing his 2014 taxes and his financial disclosure report, which will include details of his assets and liabilities.
Deep in the 2013 filing, he reported $5.8 million in "consulting and speaking" income. Separately, Mr. Bush’s campaign provided details of his engagements showing that he delivered about 260 paid speeches from 2007 to the present, for which he earned a total of $9.95 million. He listed 10 speeches at the Poongsan Corporation, a South Korea-based copper manufacturer that has long ties to the Bush family. His most recent audiences included the National Automobile Dealers Association and the American Council of Life Insurers.
The campaign did not release details of the income from his consulting engagements.
In the early going of the 2016 campaign, the candidates’ financial and business affairs have drawn particular scrutiny. Their wealth can be seen as a double-edged sword, signifying both financial acumen but also socioeconomic distance from most voters at a time when income inequality is a pressing issue.
Among the field of candidates, Mrs. Clinton disclosed in May that she and her husband had made at least $30 million since the start of 2014, largely from giving paid speeches. Senator Marco Rubio reported that he cashed out a retirement account last year. And in June, as he announced his candidacy, Donald Trump held up a document showing his net worth to be around $8.7 billion.
Mr. Bush and his wife have paid a higher tax rate than many fellow millionaires because most of his earnings come in the form of wages and salaries, instead of investment income, which is often taxed at a lower rate.
"One thing is obvious," said Alan Viard, a resident scholar at the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute and a former staff economist in Congress, who took a cursory look at the returns. "Compared to many people in his income range, Jeb Bush clearly has less capital gains income, and therefore has a higher effective individual income tax rate."
For several years, Mr. Bush, 62, has used an office at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, Fla., working closely with his son, Jeb Jr., while consulting, giving speeches and managing a private investment business.
One of his endeavors included serving as a paid director to the hospital company Tenet Healthcare, which backed President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. The position invited questions for Mr. Bush, who as a candidate opposes the health care law.
Mr. Bush profited handsomely from his Tenet shares. According to the newly released tax returns, Mr. Bush acquired $441,203 worth of stock in Tenet Healthcare in May 2011. The stock doubled in value by the time he sold it in October 2013, earning him a profit of $462,013 in just 29 months.
Like other hospital stocks, Tenet rose sharply from October 2012 through March 2013, when President Obama’s re-election made it likely that the health care law would be carried out. The law was considered a boon for hospitals because it was expected to increase business and reduce the expense of caring for uninsured patients who could not pay their bills.
Mr. Bush resigned from the Tenet board in 2014 when he was preparing for his presidential campaign, and this year sold off his stakes in his two remaining businesses as he contemplated a run for the presidency. He sold his consultancy, Jeb Bush & Associates, to his son and business partner, Jeb Jr., while also shedding his interest in the Britton Hill entities, a group of private investment and advisory firms.
His other high-profile and controversial engagements have included working as a paid adviser to Lehman Brothers, an appointment that included seeking an investment in 2008 in the failing bank from Carlos Slim HelĂș, a Mexican billionaire. Mr. Bush also consulted for the building materials manufacturer InnoVida, which went bankrupt and whose founder pleaded guilty to fraud charges.
The tax forms also trace the period in the 1980s and 1990s when Mr. Bush, then a young entrepreneur, was building his own political base in South Florida. He told a reporter at the time, "I want to be very wealthy."
The returns showed that his average adjusted gross income was about $400,000 over the 18 years before he became governor.
Josh Barro and Patricia Cohen contributed reporting, and Kitty Bennett contributed research.

Jeb Warns Newsmax: Get Ready For 'Most Negative Campaign' Ever

By Paul Scicchitano and Kathleen Walter
Thursday, 19 Apr 2012
Americans are facing what will likely be the "most negative campaign in modern times" over the next six months, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush tells Newsmax, and Mitt Romney must brace himself for tough personal attacks from President Barack Obama
Bush, the former two-term governor of the Sunshine State, also said in an exclusive Newsmax.TV interview that he hopes Romney — as the presumptive GOP presidential nominee — will invite Florida’s charismatic first-term Sen. Marco Rubio to become his running mate. That may be the key to Republicans defeating Obama in November, he says
"There will be so much negativity and so many personal attacks against Gov. Romney. That’s already been telegraphed that that’s going to happen," Bush declared in an exclusive interview from his office near Miami.
"I think Mitt needs to stay above the fray a bit, and to offer a hopeful message that can lift people’s spirits up because after the end of this four or five months of really negative campaigning," Bush added. " I think people are going to be motivated by a more positive message.
Bush called Rubio "probably the best" candidate for vice president on a list that likely includes himself — the son of former President George H.W. Bush, and the brother of former President George W. Bush
"Well I can’t speak for Gov. Romney, and I can’t speak for Sen. Rubio, but if I was on both sides of that conversation I would ask — and I would hope that Marco would accept," Bush said. "There’s a lot of things in between that may not make that happen, but I am a great admirer of Mitt Romney’s and I’m a huge fan of Marco Rubio’s, and I think the combination would be extraordinary.
With respect to his own response to such a call from Romney, Bush acknowledged, "Well I’d consider it, but I doubt I’ll get a call, and I don’t know if it’s the right thing for me to do. I didn’t run for president for a similar kind of reason, so I’m all in to try to help him get elected.
Bush's short list of top-tier vice presidential candidates he thinks Mitt
Romney should consider includes Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez and Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels
Asked about the prospect of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice getting the nod, Bush indicated that she too would be a solid choice, echoing the findings of a recent CNN poll.
"She certainly, again brings tremendous foreign policy experience, and she’s just an extraordinary person," he said. "So, as I said . . . this is a problem of abundance for Gov. Romney, which is a good thing.
Admittedly, Bush’s mother — former first lady Barbara Bush — may be pressuring her son to take his place on the national stage along with his father and brother, but he remains non-committal about that prospect — at least publicly so
"In 2016 my intent is to be supporting Mitt Romney’s re-election number one. Number two: Moms are moms," he cautioned. "Moms love their children hopefully and they’re supportive of their children, and she wants what’s best for me. I’m putting words in my mother’s mouth which will get me in serious trouble, but she’s a huge Romney supporter, and as she should be.
Asked about his private meetings with President Obama in the Oval Office with his father, George H.W. Bush, Bush said he was impressed by Obama and the fact he was "genuinely respectful" of his Dad
He cautioned Republicans and Democrats to avoid personal attacks
"I don't think we need to demonize the president," he said, noting he didn't like it when his brother George W. Bush was targeted for personal attacks during his presidency
He described the presidency as a "great job" in reference to the bond those who hold the office share with one another — regardless of ideological differences.
"It’s a job that would be incredible to be in. But there are things that only presidents and former presidents can appreciate, so I think there’s a level of mutual respect there.
For example, the elder Bush has grown close to former President Bill Clinton and maintains a healthy respect for Barack Obama on a personal level. "I think there’s kind of a president’s club," Bush observed. "There are not that many people that are alive that have served in that position and understand the pressures that exist, understand the human toll.
With Florida expected to once again figure prominently in the general election — "Florida!, Florida!, Florida!" as the late Tim Russert of NBC famously scribbled on a white board — Bush insists that it will be important for the GOP nominee to move past the border control issue when reaching out to the all-important Hispanic voters of his state and elsewhere in the nation.
"You get beyond that to talk about aspirational things," he said. "The newly arrived to our country don’t want a handout. They’re not looking to get in line. They’re not looking to get a free lunch.
He said that Hispanic voters want an opportunity to work hard and provide for their families. "They want to be able to dream — dreams that are big — and be able to pursue those dreams," said Bush. "That spirit is what we need in our country to lift the cloud of pessimism that exists and restore long-term economic growth. So connecting with that sense of aspiration, I think which is truly a conservative message in my mind — limited government, and an abundance of opportunities for people — is really what we stand for, is what the message ought to be about.
He believes that Romney’s prospects for victory are tied to the economy and that President Obama can no longer blame his brother for America’s woes.
"A lot will depend on how the economy’s doing and how job growth is taking place as we move through the summer into the Fall but we had a tepid recovery," he said. "We have huge debt, huge deficit. The president can blame all sorts of other people, but the fact is he’s been president now for going on four years and the results are not as good as anybody would like.
Moreover, he said, the effective unemployment rate is closer to 12 percent than the official 8.3 percent rate in government statistics. "It’s because people have given up hope trying to find a job. A lot of people have no chance of getting a job in their mind because the president hasn’t stimulated the private sector," according to Bush. "In fact, by his policies and his rhetoric, he’s created so much uncertainty, and so much doubt, that people that invest to create the jobs in our society are doing so reluctantly — or not at all.
As a former governor, Bush said he anticipates that a Romney administration would seek to build partnerships with the states on issues such as education.
"We should strive to move to a student-centered system where everything revolves around student learning, and less revolves around economic interests of the adults," Bush explained, noting that Romney served as governor of Massachusetts which has achieved high marks for student achievement. "I think this is where Gov. Romney stands, and I think it’s the right place to be.
In terms of Bush’s successor — Gov. Rick Scott — Bush said that Scott has taken a "business-like approach to government" consistent with his campaign message, while devoting less time to the public relations side of the job
"I think he’s more interested in service. And the politics of politics doesn’t seem to interest him," said Bush. "God bless him for that. I mean aren’t you tired of politicians that wake up each day kind of sticking their finger in the wind, and saying ‘ooh I better not do this?
Bush also said he supports efforts by Michael Reagan, the son of the late president Ronald Reagan, to replace California’s full-time legislature with part-time lawmakers, mirroring the system used in Florida and 40 other states
"I can’t imagine being governor of Florida with a full-time legislature. It would have driven me nuts personally," he said. "But more importantly, you know, if you have a full-time legislature, the void is filled — and it’s filled with, a lot of times, just nonsensical stuff.
With so much at stake in the general election, Bush stressed that it’s also important to have a Republican-controlled Senate
To that extent, he recently came out in support of Republican senatorial candidate Josh Mandel of Ohio. "Josh is the real deal. I mean he’s a very energetic, very conservative, very smart guy," said Bush.
Old Family Scandals May Haunt Jeb Presidential Run By Sharon Churcher

If Jeb Bush decides to run for president, GOP leaders are warning that he may face "hurtful" questions about past family scandals.
In 1999, while he was governor of Florida, his wife, Columba, was fined for declaring only $500 worth of goods to U.S. Customs on her return from Paris, where she actually made close to $20,000 in purchases.
Three years later, his daughter Noelle, was arrested at age 24 for alleged prescription fraud while trying to buy a tranquilizer, Xanax.
In 2005, his son, Jeb Jr., then 21, was arrested in Texas for public intoxication and resisting arrest.
Politico reported Wednesday that, as " the buzz picks up" about whether George W. Bush’s younger brother will run for the White House, donors are questioning whether he is prepared to face "new questions" about the old scandals.
"The issues have been brought up by the press and others in the past, and the family issues may well be brought out again," said Al Cardenas, chairman of the American Conservative Union, who headed the Florida GOP while Bush was governor. "If these matters are brought up, it would hurt him, not politically but personally. He has to make up his mind whether that’s a burden he wants to bear."
A former aide to former President George W. Bush, Tony Fratto, insisted that these "family concerns" will not deter Jeb Bush from considering a run.
"He dealt with them as governor and since then," Fratto said. "How a race impacts your family, whatever their conditions are, a lot of the same issues he may be considering are the same as lots of other [potential] candidates."
Fratto pointed out that if Bush were to run, his possible rivals would include the "heavily scrutinized" Hillary Clinton.
"You have two families here where it’s hard to come up with any more secrets about them," he said.
"In a way, it’s a luxury that they can go into a race without worrying about what kinds of things people might try to dig into their past and unearth....
"If Jeb runs, and if Hillary runs, neither is going to be shocked at that level of critical commentary, scrutiny and investigation into their pasts," Fratto said.
Jeb Bush’s concerns about his family’s privacy are thought, however, to have played a role in his decision to skip the 2012 presidential race.
"They thought he wouldn’t do it because of Columba …[that] has not changed," a GOP donor said.
Bloomberg News last year reported that Jeb often speaks movingly about Columba, whom he met while he was an exchange student in her native Mexico. He has said that their relationship remains fiery.
"Did I mention that my lover is my wife?" he quipped to an immigration policy group.
Jeb Bush missed red flags in Florida business scandal
Monday, March 30, 2015
Miami (CNN)There were plenty of red flags surrounding the company Jeb Bush was planning to join: lawsuits, bad headlines, even previously convicted drug dealers in top positions.
But somehow Bush seemed to miss them all in 2007 as he prepared to join InnoVida as a $15,000-a month-consultant -- a position that would lead to board membership and stock options.
Just months out of the Florida governor's mansion, the consulting gig with InnoVida would help Bush replenish his bank account after eight years in public service. It was also a chance for him to lend the credibility that comes with being the son of a former president and the brother of a sitting one to a home state start-up making what promised to be a revolutionary new building material.
But in reality, Bush was getting caught up with a smooth-talking CEO who would ultimately be sent to prison for more than a decade for running a $40 million investment fraud. Bush's ties to InnoVida and chief executive Claudio Osorio are resurfacing as the former governor considers a White House run.
A CNN investigation uncovered a paper trail revealing a pattern of financial malfeasance allegations against Osorio and troubling accusations against his top lieutenants, raising questions about why Bush would associate with businessmen who have such disconcerting histories. Bush's work at the troubled company is all the more notable considering he's built a political career touting his business acumen, boasting to voters in Iowa recently that he's actually "signed the front side of a paycheck."
"It's hard to imagine any due diligence investigation that would have missed lawsuit after lawsuit against Osorio alleging fraud, misrepresentation and ethics violations," said Ken Boehm, the chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center, an ethics watchdog group that reviewed public records with CNN. "Even if they were doing due-diligence lite, they would have found the lawsuits. These lawsuits weren't hidden. They were in his home county.
Elite circles
Osorio traveled in elite circles. At political fundraisers and events at his multimillion-dollar Miami mansion, he chatted up the rich and famous, persuading them to invest millions in his company. He had the look of a successful entrepreneur, complete with a Colorado mountain house and a Maserati.
He even tried talking his way into the Oval Office, but had to settle for a 2009 meeting with President Barack Obama's personal assistant, according to court filings.
Osorio recruited Bush to the company because the political heavyweight would, as the Securities and Exchange Commission's complaint put it, "add an air of legitimacy to InnoVida."
Bush has never been accused of wrongdoing. He paid back more than half the $470,000 InnoVida paid him over his three years as a consultant and maintains Osorio deceived him and other board members.
"It is now obvious that Mr. Osorio deliberately misled a board of prominent business leaders about his company's dealings and that is why he is now in jail," Bush spokeswoman Kristy Campbell told CNN in an email.
Campbell has previously told reporters that Bush vetted the company before signing on as a consultant, visiting its factories in Miami and Dubai. And she told CNN that Bush hired a former federal law enforcement agent to conduct a background check on Osorio, which found "no red flags indicating criminal or financial wrongdoing."
It's a confounding explanation considering the allegations of shady dealings that had dogged Osorio and his associates for years.
Checkered pasts
Several top InnoVida officials have checkered pasts. One of the company's owners was convicted of cocaine trafficking in 1990. A decade earlier, a future board member was busted, accused of trying to board a flight from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with a pound of cocaine in his underwear and another pound in his bag.
Before Bush started working at the company, at least three lawsuits were filed against Osorio that accused the businessman of financial wrongdoing and unethical behavior.
The most high-profile suit against Osorio was a 1999 class action he faced as chief executive of a Fortune 500 company called CHS Electronics. Shareholders sued Osorio, alleging securities fraud after the company collapsed.
In a foreshadowing of InnoVida's collapse, shareholders sued CHS and its executives, accusing them of misleading investors, artificially inflating CHS' stock price, overstating profits and income and fraudulently reducing expenses. The suit accused Osorio of personally manipulating the company's financial statements to show a profit, a practice referred to internally as "Claudio's magic."
Osorio and other CHS executives settled the suit for almost $12 million, but admitted no wrongdoing.
In another example, Osorio started a venture in 2002 to sell video game accessories. Two years later, his business partner sued Osorio, accusing him of lying about his intention to fund the venture and mismanaging it. A jury eventually ordered Osario to pay $2.2 million.
Perhaps the strangest allegations against Osorio came in a 2006 lawsuit. In that case, he reportedly made a deal with a company to sell computer terminals overseas. The lawsuit said the equipment was shipped but Osorio never paid up. The company even accused him of trying to steal computer terminals as they sat in port.
Beginning to unravel
As things began to unravel for Osorio, he filed for personal bankruptcy. Court papers filed after Bush left the company show "the Osorios were insolvent on April 25, 2007" -- more than six months before he would sign on as a consultant to InnoVida.
InnoVida's books mirrored Osario's troubled personal finances.
The criminal indictment against Osorio said "InnoVida was not financially sound and profitable, and did not generate sufficient profits between 2007 and 2011," which covered most of Bush's tenure on the board.
Osorio had more basic problems than aggrieved former business partners and angry shareholders -- he couldn't even pay the rent.
Nine months before Bush joined InnoVida, a judge evicted the company from its factory space, ordering the sheriff to clear everyone from the premises, according to court filings. The judge dismissed the case in June 2008, but gave the landlord the right to take InnoVida back to court if it fell behind on rent again.
Some of Osorio's closest associates left paper trails that traced back decades.
Craig Toll was InnoVida's chief financial officer, who would later go to prison for four years for his part in the company's scam. He was also the CFO at CHS Electronics, where he was accused by shareholders of signing false and misleading quarterly reports.
CHS shareholders leveled the same accusation against executive Antonio Boccalandro. After CHS collapsed, he and Osorio went on to form a holding company called Miami Worldwide Partners, which paid Bush for some of his InnoVida consulting work.
Before Engin Yesil invested more than $8 million in InnoVida and became a part owner, he sold cocaine. He was arrested, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to six years in prison.
As a medical student in the 1980s, future InnoVida board member Harlan Waksal was busted in the Fort Lauderdale airport, accused of trying to smuggle 2 pounds of cocaine. Police said he jammed half of it in his underpants and put the remainder in his luggage. His conviction was eventually overturned after a court ruled he had been illegally searched.
Decades later, Waksal made national headlines when the company he co-founded, ImClone Systems, was rocked by an insider trading scandal that ensnared Waksal family friend and DIY queen Martha Stewart, sending her to federal prison.
Even with all the lawsuits, criminal records and scandals in public view, Bush still joined InnoVida.
Bush's work
It's not clear what exactly he did for the company as a consultant and how much oversight he provided as a board member. Campbell, the Bush spokeswoman, didn't respond to questions about his consulting work. When he agreed to pay back more than half his consulting fees, the settlement depended on a nondisparagement clause that kept the details secret.
Court papers show part of his consulting work included "sales and marketing" and that he negotiated a finder's fee for landing investors in Nigeria, Mexico, South Africa and Florida. Campbell said Bush never collected those fees.
Bush's paychecks came from two Osorio-controlled companies, InnoVida and Miami Worldwide Partners. The financial lines between the two were blurred, with Osorio using Miami Worldwide to transfer InnoVida money to his personal bank account. Miami Worldwide didn't file its taxes during Bush's tenure.
During much of Bush's tenure, Osorio transferred millions of dollars from InnoVida to Miami Worldwide at a time when InnoVida's companies were not paying their payroll taxes, liability insurance or rent. InnoVida's payroll taxes added up to more than $100,000, according to court filings.
Campbell said Bush was not aware of the companies' tax problems.
Meanwhile, Osorio continued to swindle investors during Bush's tenure.
He convinced a Tanzanian businessman to invest $2 million to build "floating homes," a project that sank. He persuaded NBA player Carlos Boozer to invest $1 million in InnoVida and use his friendship with Obama's assistant, Reggie Love, to score the White House meeting.
Scamming the government
Osorio even scammed the government. In 2010, InnoVida received about $3 million from OPIC, a government agency that helps American companies do business in developing countries. Instead of building a manufacturing plant and homes in Haiti after the earthquake, as InnoVida promised, Osario pulled another bait and switch and used the money to pay investors and himself.
As a board member, Bush did have at least a few questions for management. Not long after a company board meeting in 2009, he emailed Toll, InnoVida's chief financial officer.
"Your offer to send me the cash flow information on the company would be greatly appreciated," Bush wrote, adding that he'd like to also see the company's liability insurance.
Toll replied and attached an "unaudited cash flow statement" and told Bush he'd forward the insurance policy as soon as he got it.
Bush never got the audited financials and it appears he never received a copy of the insurance policy, possibly because the company may have never had insurance. Insurance paid for the almost $12 million settlement in the shareholders lawsuit against CHS Electronics, so it may have been difficult for Osorio and Toll to insure InnoVida.
Audited financial statements are routinely relied upon by investors, board members and others to assess a company's financial health, but Bush never received them.
More than once, Bush said the board needed to see audited financials, but the board never got them, Campbell said. Osorio's explanations for why they weren't forthcoming, "seemed plausible at the time," she said.
Bush was concerned with how slowly the company provided information to the board, Campbell said. When a board member raised additional concerns with Bush, the governor worked to address them in what ultimately culminated in a confrontation between board members and Osorio, she said. Three days after that September 2010 meeting, Bush cut ties with Osorio and InnoVida, citing concerns over how the company was run, according to court documents.
On the way out the door, Bush urged Osorio "to adopt more professional, transparent business practices, including obtaining audits by a national accounting firm," according to court papers.
The admonition came too late. A few years later, Osorio would be in prison.
Jeb Bush’s email troubles grow more serious
16 March 2015
The political world knew that the 2016 presidential race would take shape early this year, but few could have guessed that email access and email security would be one of the dominant issues in the nascent election cycle.
Hillary Clinton’s private email account during her tenure as Secretary of State has been the subject of enormous interest to the media and Republicans, with former Gov. Jeb Bush (R) helping lead the charge. "For security purposes, you need to be behind a firewall that recognizes the world for what it is, and it’s a dangerous world, and security would mean that you couldn’t have a private server," the Republican complained last week. "It’s a little baffling, to be honest with you, that didn’t come up in Secretary Clinton’s thought process."
It’s equally baffling that Bush had no idea how vulnerable he was on the issue he’s chosen to complain about.
Jeb Bush used his private e-mail account as Florida governor to discuss security and military issues such as troop deployments to the Middle East and the protection of nuclear plants, according to a review of publicly released records.
The e-mails include two series of exchanges involving details of Florida National Guard troop deployments after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the review by The Washington Post found.
The Washington Post’s report on the security risks surrounding Jeb Bush conducting official business on his private account coincided with a New York Times article, which noted that it took the former governor more than seven years "to comply fully with a Florida public records statute" on email disclosure.
The report quoted a non-partisan expert with the Florida-based First Amendment Foundation who said Bush’s disclosure policy was "a technical violation of the law." The governor was required to turn over records pertaining to official business "at the expiration of his or her term of office," and the Republican waited more than seven years to meet these obligations.
And while the revelations are themselves noteworthy, what seems especially problematic for Bush is the broader context in which these details appear.
If, for example, the Clinton story never existed, and we were just now learning about Bush’s emails, my suspicion is the revelations would be treated largely as an afterthought. To be sure, transparency and sunshine laws matter, but it’s hard to imagine the Beltway media creating a feeding frenzy, featuring breathless coverage of Jeb’s email "scandal." Even his Democratic detractors would probably prefer to focus their energies elsewhere.
But the Clinton email story does exist, and collectively, the political world decided this is an important national issue, crucial to evaluating the competence and credibility of a leading presidential contender. Bush himself encouraged this heightened scrutiny, talking publicly about how "baffling" Clinton’s actions were on the issue.
It’s against this backdrop that we’ve discovered that Bush "did exactly what Hillary did." After he and his team went through official emails, they decided "what were public-record emails and what wasn’t." The fact that he also ignored state law and created security risks only complicates matters further.
What we’re left with are legitimate concerns about Bush’s judgment. When he went on the offensive on the Clinton email story, did he not think his own, nearly identical problems would emerge? Or was this a case in which Team Jeb went on the attack without bothering to recognize their vulnerability?
Either way, Bush has worked assiduously to cultivate an image of a hyper-competent manager. If he wants this reputation to be taken seriously, the GOP candidate has a long way to go.