Jeb Bush — believe it or not, he isn’t just a guy who scammed his brother into the presidency. He’s a member of a great political dynasty, unprecedented since the Kennedys. Or, at least, he is in his own mind. The scion of a one-term vice-president with an IQ of 98, and brother of another whose term will be remembered as one of the most humiliating times in American history, Jeb recently went on Facebook to declare that he’s “actively exploring the possibility of running” in 2016.
But Jeb isn’t the only one exploring these days. Oh no. Mother Jones and a few more have decided to send a warning shot across Jeb’s bow, compiling a (short) list of a few embarrassing details that might come up during presidential muck-raking. No, they’re not photos of that one time he walked out of the bathroom with toilet paper stuck to his shoe. Turns out Florida Governor Jeb Bush and his own family have stepped in a little worse than that (multiple times) over the years.
Jeb Bush — Socialist Pothead
Bush learned a lot during his years at Andover High School, made a lot of friends in many circles. Jeb was always the whipping boy of the family, and like many whipping boys, he went through a period of rebellion against his family. He grew his hair long, started smoking pot, and joined the Socialist Club in his high school. That didn’t last long, though; Daddy Bush had him sent off as an exchange student in Mexico when he was 17.
Family Family — Stalkers, Swag Smugglers and Dope Fiends
Jeb’s eldest son, George P., broke into an ex-girlfriend’s house in 1994, and got chased out by her father. He returned, and parked his SUV on the lawn. His ex told police George had “been a problem,” but nobody pressed charges. Three guess why.
When he was 16 years old, in 2000, Jeb Jr. was found having sex with a 17-year-old in a car in a mall parking lot. The police report called it “sexual misconduct,” but “Jebby” wasn’t formaly arrested.
Two years later, Bush’s daughter Noelle was busted for trying to purchase Xanax from a pharmacy with a fake prescription. She was sent to rehab, where a “white, rock-like substance” thought to be crack was found on her person.
In 2002, Bush’s wife was detained at the Atlanta airport after flying in from Paris. She failed to declare $19,000 in clothes and jewelry purchased in the City of Lights, and had to pay a $4,100 fine.
Neil Bush, Jeb’s brother, helped to bankrupt a savings and loan, and spent a while touring Asia with Reverend Sun Myung Moon. His purpose: Promoting the construction of a 51-mile underwater highway from Alaska to Russia. We have no idea what if anything that means, but the Tea Party would certainly find something to say about it.
Friends in Low Places — Batista spies, Fraudulent Slum Lords, Terrorists and International Fugitives
In the early 1980s, Jeb found a benefactor in the form of Cuban-American real estate developer Armando Codina. Cofina was the chairman of his father’s unsuccessful presidential bid in 1980. After that failed, Codina moved Jeb to Miami (which is how he wound up in Florida), and gave him 40 percent of his real estate business. In 1985, they bought an office building with a $4.56 million loan, failed to repay the loan, and settled for $500,000. Six years later, they sold the building for $8 million.
In 1986, Jeb made friends with Camilo Padreda, a former spy for the Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista. He paid Bush $75,000 to help him find slum buildings paid for with government loans, despite having already scammed half a million from a Texas savings and loan. Three years later, Padreda plead guilty to scamming the government for millions, in a transaction not related to Bush’s dealings.
In 1989, Paving the way for his first run for governor in Florida, Jeb won favor with Cuban voters when he talked his dad into releasing Cuban terrorist Orlando Bosch. Bosch orchestrated the bombing of an airliner that killed 73 people, and was an “unrepentant terrorist” in Federal prison at the time.
In 2010, Bush gave a commencement speech for Ohio-based, online, for-profit charter school “Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow.” This company, owned by a major GOP donor, hasn’t exceeded more than a 40 percent graduation rate in five years. And there’s no telling how many actually went. In 2001, a state audit uncovered that while ECOT had been paid by the state for over 2,000 student, only seven — SEVEN — had actually logged in for classes. ECOT was forced to repay the state $1.7 million.
Sir Scams-A-Lot — Shady Dealings A-Go-Go
In 1988 (Reagan’s last year, between Batista spies and releasing terrorists), Jeb was involved with a water pump company later found of having funneled $28 million in bribes to a Nigerian official. That money came from a $74 million U.S.-backed loans, which Bush used his soon-to-be daddy-president to help secure.
Lehman Brothers hired Bush as an “adviser” in 2007, just before the bank collapse, hoping he could use his brother to pour some money into the bank. That didn’t work, and Lehman Brothers went under.
That same year, Jeb joined the board of a building materials company called InnoVida. They used forged documents to convince investors that the company wasn’t a huge, insolvent scam. Bush among other “misappropriated” over $40 million of investors’ money. The founder ultimately went to prison for money laundering, and Jeb agreed to repay $270,000 to investors as compensation for fraud in 2011.
Then again…Bush isn’t the only Florida governor with experience in scamming investors and the government, is he?
Taken to (Charter) School
In the 1990s, continuing through today, charter schools were a big deal in Florida. and now we know why. In 1999, Jeb teamed up with the Greater Miami Urban League to open Florida’s first charter school. The school was graded by the system Jeb put in place, and rated a “D” at the time. It’s grade has now gone up to a C-, but it’s $1 million in debt.
The Ghosts of Comments and Dealings Past — Playboy Bunnies, Black People and Mom
In 1994, during his governor’s run, Jeb said that women on welfare “should be able to get thier life together and find a husband.”
The same year, when asked what he would do for the African Americans of Florida, Bush replied “Probably nothing.” A few years later (during his brother’s very close election) he proved himself wrong, purging over 12,000 eligible Florida voters from the rolls as “convicted felons.” More than 40 percent of them were black, in a state where blacks then made up only about 15.6 percent of the population.
Cynthia Henderson was appointed by Bush in 1999 as secretary of business regulation — which is pretty good for someone who worked her way through college as a Playboy Bunny. Henderson later got caught taking Bush’s private jet for a trip to the Kentucky Derby, with the entire trip paid for by Bush himself. Her boyfriend ultimately wound up footing the bill, but only after Bush had to come out and publicly declare he wasn’t sleeping with her.
And finally…perhaps the first thing any Bush has ever said that we agree with:
In April of this year, Jeb’s mother, Barbara Bush, said of Jeb that he’d be “by far the best qualified man. But, we’ve had enough Bushes.”
And to that, Babs, we all toast.
UPDATE: Here’s the latest headline from Fox News on Jeb. And…a screaming bullet to the head from our Teapublican Party:
“Praised by liberals?” Uh-oh, Jeb. Guess we won’t be splitting Chris Christie’s vote next year, after all.
Huge, Huge H/T to Mother Jones