Conflict of Interest

Corruption is the single defining factor that permeates the Bush cabal to its roots. It is the be-all and end-all, the driving force, the reason for being that dictates every action and every word of every Bush Leaguer. You pay to play, or serve those who do, or you will be ruined.

Conflict of Interest

Postby Ferguson Foont » Sat Aug 09, 2003 2:32 am

While the crime of "conflict of interest" was not specifically mentioned by the framers of our constitution as grounds for impeachment, it very probably meets the standards of "other High Crimes and Misdemeanors" that would serve as adequate grounds.

There has never in our history been as clear a case of conflict of interest as what is currently going on in Iraq with the contracts being issued for oilfield construction and equipment by our government. Here's a story in the <I>New York Times</I> by Neela Banerjee about how other qualified bidders on these contracts have been shut out by noncompetitive bidding and by tailoring the contracts specifically to benefit Halliburton, Dick Cheney's former employer, even while Dick Cheney may still be on their payroll and is influencing the decisions that result in Halliburton winning the competitions.

The title of the story is <A HREF="http://www.nytimes.com/2003/08/08/business/08REBU.html"><B>"Rivals Say Halliburton Dominates Iraq Oil Work,"</B></A> and I am providing it below in its entirety:
The Bechtel Group, one of the world's biggest engineering and construction companies, has dropped out of the running for a contract to rebuild the Iraqi oil industry, as other competitors have begun to conclude that the bidding process favors the one company already working in Iraq, Halliburton.

After the United States Army Corps of Engineers quietly selected Halliburton in the spring to perform early repairs of the Iraqi oil business in the aftermath of the war, other companies and members of Congress protested that the work should have been awarded through competitive bidding.

Halliburton's role in the rebuilding has been under political scrutiny because the company was formerly headed by Vice President Dick Cheney. But the Bush administration and the Corps of Engineers, which is overseeing the Iraqi oil reconstruction effort, have repeatedly said that Halliburton has no inside track.

Preliminary plans for a new contract, which industry executives had thought might total $1 billion, were announced late in June by the Corps of Engineers. The bidding was meant, in part, to introduce competition and a sense of fairness into the lucrative Iraqi reconstruction market, an executive with a major engineering concern said. Like many industry executives, he would speak only on condition of anonymity because his company does not want to jeopardize its chances for future government contracts.

But in the last month, the corps, which is overseeing the reconstruction efforts, has specified a timetable for the work that effectively means that the value of any contract companies other than Halliburton could win would be worth only about $176 million, according to Corps of Engineers documents and executives in the engineering and construction business.

Earlier this week, Bechtel cited the timetable as its reason for dropping out of the bidding. The company now plans to deal directly with the Iraqi oil ministry for future reconstruction work, a spokesman, Howard N. Menaker, said.

Although the oil ministry and the Army Corps of Engineers nominally cooperate, industry analysts say the Americans have the upper hand.

Officials of the Corps of Engineers did not return numerous phone calls yesterday seeking comment on the contract. But last month, in response to questions from other companies about Halliburton's role, the corps said on its Web site that all potential bidders had received the same information to "eliminate any competitive advantage" Halliburton might have from its involvement in the Iraqi reconstruction work so far.

A spokeswoman for Halliburton, Wendy Hall, would not discuss whether its engineering unit, Kellogg Brown & Root, would bid, saying only that "we will evaluate the opportunity."

After indicating in June that it planned to solicit bids, the Corps of Engineers held a conference of prospective bidders in Dallas on July 14. Records of the meeting show that it was attended by some of the most experienced engineering and construction companies in the world — including, besides Halliburton and Bechtel, Fluor, the Parsons Group, Schlumberger and Foster Wheeler.

Among those companies, only Fluor and Parsons have indicated so far that they plan to make bids by the Aug. 14 deadline. A winner will be announced by Oct. 15, according to the Corps of Engineers.

At the meeting and in the initial request for proposals, the Corps of Engineers put forth what the industry calls "an indefinite quantity, indefinite delivery" contract. Industry executives said they were told there could in fact be two principal contracts, one for the oil industry in northern Iraq and the other for the south. The value of each contract could range from $500,000 to $500 million over several years, according to the Corps of Engineers, which cited the continued instability in Iraq as a reason for keeping the terms so vague.

A transcript of the July meeting shows that bidders were concerned even then that Halliburton would have a competitive advantage over other companies because it was already working with the Corps of Engineers in Iraq and helping to assess the repairs needed at oil production sites and pipelines after the war and years of an economic embargo.

The corps denied that such a conflict of interest existed, according to the transcript.

Over the last three weeks, however, the Corps of Engineers has provided additional information to bidders indicating that by the July meeting, it and Halliburton already had a fairly clear understanding of the scope and financial value of the work to be done and the timetable for completing it.

The newly released information indicates that a week before the Dallas meeting, the Corps of Engineers and Halliburton participated in a large workshop in Baghdad that also included representatives of the Iraqi oil ministry and the ruling Coalition Provisional Authority to draw up a detailed plan for rebuilding much of the Iraqi oil industry by the end of March 2004.

A week ago, the Corps of Engineers Web site carried an amendment to the contract proposal, saying that 220 projects, mostly at installations above the ground, must be completed for Iraq's oil production to reach prewar levels. The projects are divided into three phases, with a total estimated cost of $1.14 billion.

But the corps notes in the plan that the first two phases, which together would require about $967 million in investments, would have to be completed by Dec. 31.

Halliburton's competitors worry that if the winner of the new contracts is not announced until Oct. 15, that company could not even begin the work before year's end. The only company that could do the work based on that timetable is Halliburton, its competitors say.

Only the third and final phase, worth about $176 million and requiring the work to be completed by March 31, could realistically be performed by a Halliburton competitor, its rivals say.

"The feeling at our company was 'Yes, Halliburton is the incumbent, but we had an opportunity there,' " a representative of another engineering concern said. "But if we had believed that from the beginning we had no chance of winning this, we wouldn't have bid."

Responding to pointed questions about the timetable by potential bidders, the Corps of Engineers' Web site said the proposed schedule was "not intended to change anything" about the bidding process.

For its part, the Kellogg Brown & Root unit of Halliburton will do whatever work the corps gives it, Ms. Hall, the spokeswoman, said.

"It is not known at this time how or if the future award of another Corps of Engineers contract will affect current K.B.R. operations or the terms and conditions of its contract," she said.

The first wave of Halliburton employees arrived in Iraq in March, to oversee the extinguishing of several oil well fires near Basra. Since then, its responsibilities, under the direction of the Corps of Engineers, have expanded from its initial job of making emergency repairs.

Working in Iraq has helped turn around Halliburton's financial performance, its second-quarter results showed. The company made a profit of $26 million, in contrast to a loss of $498 million in the period a year earlier. The company stated that 9 percent, or $324 million, of its second-quarter revenue of $3.6 billion came from its work in Iraq.
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Postby harper pine » Sat Aug 09, 2003 2:51 am

When I first read it, I couldn't believe Bechtel was out of the running, but then saw they were doing kind of an end run.

It is amazing how Bush, Inc, and Halliburton have been able to utter bland remarks about how aboveboard and normal the Halliburton contracts are, and how everyone seems to swallow it. It's as though everyone's been hypnotized by the repetitive phrases coming out of GW's mouth. I guess that's the glory of "keeping on message."

I think someone—Waxman?—is trying to look into it.

By the way, that report of his on science and politics looks really good, but I haven't finished it yet.
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Postby harper pine » Sat Aug 09, 2003 3:15 am

Cheney firm's rival is forced to drop oil bid

David Teather, New York
Saturday August 9, 2003
The Guardian

One of the main bidders for the lucrative contract to rebuild the Iraqi oil industry has dropped out of the race, amid concerns that the tender process unfairly favours Halliburton, the company with close ties to the US vice-president, Dick Cheney.

The construction giant Bechtel, one of the biggest engineering companies in the world, now plans to sidestep Washington and apply directly to the Iraqi oil ministry for work.

The growing disquiet over cronyism in George Bush's administration was further stirred yesterday when it emerged that a friend of the president who helped his election campaign had been hired as the director of private development in Iraq.

Thomas Foley, 51, befriended Mr Bush when they attended Harvard. He will be in charge of 200 state-owned enterprises including mining, chemical, cement and tobacco production, and report directly to the top US administrator in Iraq, Paul Bremer.

A Halliburton subsidiary, Kellogg Brown & Root, was quietly awarded a contract without tendering in the spring to perform immediate repairs to Iraq's oil infrastructure, and extinguish oil fires. The Army Corps of Engineers said the work, which could be worth up to $7bn (£4.3bn), was part of a wider contract signed last year.

Two further contracts worth $500m each for repair work in the oil industry have since been offered.

However, a week ago, the date for completion of the work was brought forward to December 31, sparking concerns that the deadline would be nearly impossible to meet for any company not already on the ground in Iraq.

The Army Corps did not return telephone calls on the matter yesterday.

A Bechtel spokeswoman, Alison Abbott, said: "The Army Corps of Engineers' final plan for Iraqi oil services work details their intent to accelerate the transition of responsibility to the Iraqi oil ministry, effectively minimising the scope of any new contracts. Given this plan, Bechtel has decided to focus our efforts on future opportunities with the ministry."

The San Francisco-based company won the $680m chief contract to begin work on rebuilding other Iraqi infrastructure - roads and schools - from the US agency for international development earlier this year.

At a meeting with the Army Corps last month to discuss the forthcoming contracts, several of the putative bidders expressed concerns that Halliburton would have an unfair advantage because it was already working in Iraq.

Halliburton was involved in a separate meeting in late July in Baghdad with the Army Corps, the oil ministry and other officials to set out what was needed to restore Iraq's oil infrastructure to prewar levels.

Mr Cheney is the former chief executive of Halliburton, and left with a $36m severance package in 2000 to join the White House campaign. In its latest financial results, Halliburton said 9% of its $3.6bn quarterly revenues had come from Iraq.

Democrats have expressed dismay that a single company should make so much from the rebuilding of Iraq, and questioned the links between Mr Cheney and the firm.


http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,1015229,00.html


And so we meet another one of Bush's friends. Being in charge of of 200 state-owned enterprises as director of private development should give him a chance to invite a lot of other friends to the party. Put on yer dancin' shoes.
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Postby harper pine » Sat Aug 16, 2003 11:47 pm

Wasn't sure where to put this. From the August 14, Daily Outrage at the Nation.

Yesterday's post on the megalomania of the Texas GOP noted that the Bush presidential campaign in 2000 was notorious for accepting cheap rides on corporate jets, and suggested candidate Bush "probably will behave just as badly in 2004."

As alert reader Norman Scott points out, we can dispense with the "probably": Vice President Dick Cheney, who like the president is in the midst of a month-long (!) vacation, flew this week to a Wyoming fund-raiser accompanied by two military Blackhawk helicopters, two Air Force-operated luxury jets, and also the Air Force's largest transport, a C-17, which was in turn loaded with five Secret Service vehicles. Cheney mobilized all of this hardware solely to attend a reception at the remote ranch of multimillionaire Tom O'Gara, who made his fortune selling armored military and civilian vehicles.

The event raised $175,000 for the Bush-Cheney campaign. And it's all profit, because the cost of the massive vice presidential entourage for this campaign stop is billed to you and me, the taxpayers.


http://www.thenation.com/outrage/index.mhtml?bid=6

Guess he can't be too careful when he leaves the undisclosed location.
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Postby Ferguson Foont » Sun Aug 17, 2003 12:44 am

Now why on earth would Bush care to ride on a corporate jet when he's got Air Force One?

Does anyone actually have any kind of serious doubt that Bush will use AF1 as his personal jet, and bill us for his campaign travel? C'mon, folks.
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Simple. Straightforward.

Postby Ferguson Foont » Sat Aug 30, 2003 6:23 am

Ben Sargent in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

<IMG SRC="http://images.ucomics.com/comics/bs/2003/bs030830.gif">
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Postby harper pine » Sun Sep 28, 2003 8:57 pm

In GOP, Some Doubt Need For $20.3 Billion For Rebuilding

By Jonathan Weisman and Juliet Eilperin
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, September 26, 2003

A new curriculum for training an Iraqi army for $164 million. Five hundred experts, at $200,000 each, to investigate crimes against humanity. A witness protection program for $200,000 per Iraqi participant. A computer study for the Iraqi postal service: $54 million.

Such numbers, buried in President Bush's $20.3 billion request for Iraq's reconstruction, have made some congressional Republicans nervous, even furious. Although the GOP leadership has tried to unite publicly around its president, cracks are beginning to show.


The discontent is relatively contained so far, said Jim Dyer, Republican staff director of the House Appropriations Committee, but that is because few lawmakers have read the proposal's fine print. As more details seep out, he said, anger is sure to rise.

Those details include $100 million to build seven planned communities with a total of 3,258 houses, plus roads, an elementary school, two high schools, a clinic, a place of worship and a market for each; $10 million to finance 100 prison-building experts for six months, at $100,000 an expert; 40 garbage trucks at $50,000 each; $900 million to import petroleum products such as kerosene and diesel to a country with the world's second-largest oil reserves; and $20 million for a four-week business course, at $10,000 per student.

"If those are what the costs are, I'm glad Congress is asking questions," said Brian Reidl, a budget analyst at the conservative Heritage Foundation. "If the White House wants to be portrayed as spending tax dollars in Iraq as cost-effectively as they spend [money] anywhere else, they're going to have to explain this."

Already, the administration's request for $400 million to build two 4,000-bed prisons at $50,000 a bed has raised enough questions in Congress to force Provisional Authority Administrator L. Paul Bremer to explain that cement must be imported to make concrete.

"We're not talking sanity here," Dyer said. "The world's second-largest oil country is importing oil, and a country full of concrete is importing concrete."

Republicans have grown nervous enough about Iraq that Vice President Cheney and White House budget director Joshua B. Bolten traveled to Capitol Hill on Wednesday to meet privately with the agitated ranks and go over the $87 billion emergency war spending request.

"What [lawmakers] really wanted them to do was carefully review it so they can justify to constituents why they voted for it," said a GOP aide who was at the meeting. "You've got to be able to go back home and explain why we need to do all this."


Meanwhile, at a House hearing yesterday, Democrats pressed Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz about whether the administration plans to withdraw troops right before the 2004 presidential election. He said no decisions are being made on political grounds.

"These are national security decisions; they have to be made on that basis," he said. Wolfowitz said that does not mean that "we're not trying to, in fact, get more Iraqis on the front lines, get them dying for their country so fewer Americans have to."

It is the reconstruction spending, however, that is drawing some conservatives' ire. Moore, who heads the political action committee Club for Growth, called some of the aid request "frivolous" and much of it "preposterous." Pete Sepp, a spokesman for the conservative National Taxpayers Union, said Americans are being misled.

"Many members of the general public are being led to believe this money is just to turn the lights back on in Iraq," Sepp said. "Once word gets out about the nature of some of these projects, it will pose a real dilemma for a number of policymakers who believe U.S. foreign aid is already suffering from administrative problems as well as overambitious goals. These are the kinds of things that radio talk show hosts love to chew up and give to their listeners."


But as soon as the discussion turns to the nuts and bolts of Iraq's reconstruction, the public's long-standing antipathy to foreign aid quickly surfaces, Teeter said.

Then, he said, the overwhelming sentiment is, "We need to take care of our own." It is up to Republicans to keep the conversation centered on the troops, while Democrats will try to focus on the reconstruction's spending details.


Duffy dismissed as "preposterous" Democrats' assertions that the administration is willing to spend more on Iraqis than on its own citizens. The federal government spends $5.9 billion on prisons each year, compared with the $510 million the administration wants for corrections in Iraq next year, he said. Domestic air and ground transportation consumes $64 billion, dwarfing the $753 million the White House wants for Iraq.

For conservatives pushing for less spending in the United States, such comparisons hold little value. It is not the dollar totals but the targets. "A $54 million study for their post office?" asked Dan Mitchell of the Heritage Foundation.


And many congressional Republicans quietly say they will never challenge the president's request in public. To do so, they say, would risk an intraparty rift that could endanger Bush's reelection efforts as well as their own.

Democrats, meanwhile, question how long the GOP can remain unified. "Republicans are losing confidence the president can commit these resources in a reasonable way," Senate Minority Leader Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.) said.

Senate GOP leaders are rushing to bring the $87 billion request to a vote by the end of next week, prompting Democratic complaints that the measure is not being fully considered. Daschle questioned the need for haste, noting that Bremer told Democrats this week that the money will not be needed until January.


http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/ar ... Sep25.html
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Postby harper pine » Sun Sep 28, 2003 9:09 pm

Friends of the family

Companies wishing to make money in post-Saddam Iraq need look no further than an Iraqi uncle and nephew, and their hawkish friends in Washington, writes Brian Whitaker


Wednesday September 24, 2003
The Guardian

Fancy your chances making a fast buck from the reconstruction of Iraq? Well, you'll need to invest in a bullet-proof vest for starters, and then make some well-connected business contacts on the ground.

That's where the Iraqi International Law Group can help. Indeed, judging by the blurb on their website, they are the only firm worth consulting if you want to strike it rich in Iraq.

"At IILG, our task is to provide foreign enterprise with the information and tools it needs to enter the emerging Iraq and to succeed," the website says. "Our clients number among the largest corporations and institutions on the planet. They have chosen IILG to provide them with real-time, on the ground intelligence they cannot get from inexperienced local firms or from overburdened coalition and local government officials."

As for its mission, the firm explains: "The lawyers and professionals of IILG have dared to take the lead in bringing private sector investment and experience to the new Iraq.


Amid all this boasting about its lucrative connections, IILG is surprisingly modest about the family connections of its founder, Salem Chalabi. The website doesn't mention that he is a nephew of Ahmed Chalabi, who just happens to be the leader of the US-backed Iraqi National Congress (INC), a member of the governing council and current president of Iraq. Uncle Ahmed, a former banker in Jordan, fled the country in 1989 before he could be arrested in connection with a $200 million financial scandal. He was later tried in his absence and sentenced by a Jordanian court to 22 years in prison on 31 charges of embezzlement, theft, misuse of depositor funds and currency speculation.


Shortly before the war, Salem Chalabi took part in a conference on bringing democracy to Iraq and pushed for a post-war truth and reconciliation commission on the South African model.

Later, during the invasion, the Pentagon sought to appoint him as adviser to the ministry of justice, working in Jay Garner's ill-fated project to take over the administration of Iraq.

Salem's dynamic new law firm is currently operating from suites 1632-1634 of Baghdad's Palestine Hotel. This, according to the website, is a temporary arrangement "while we renovate and restore our permanent office building in the centrally situated Harthiyya district".

Although none of the "largest corporations and institutions on the planet" have yet identified themselves as Salem Chalabi's clients, IILG appears to be part of a carefully-constructed network aimed at channelling business into Iraq.

Interestingly, the firm's website is not registered in Salem Chalabi's name but in the name of Marc Zell, whose address is given as Suite 716, 1800 K Street, Washington. That is the address of the Washington office of Zell, Goldberg &Co, which claims to be "one of Israel's fastest-growing business-oriented law firms", and the related FANDZ International Law Group.

The unusual name "FANDZ" was concocted from "F and Z", the Z being Marc Zell and the F being Douglas Feith. The two men were law partners until 2001, when Feith took up his Pentagon post as undersecretary of defence for policy.


This ties in with a recent announcement by Zell, Goldberg & Co that it has set up a "task force" dealing with issues and opportunities relating to the "recently ended" war in Iraq.

One of its activities, the announcement said, was to assist US companies "in their relations with the United States government in connection with Iraqi reconstruction projects as prime contractors and consultants".

At the time, Zell Goldberg & Co made no mention of a connection with Salem Chalabi or IILG in Iraq, but said it was working in the US with the Federal Market Group. This organisation - whose website is adorned with a "God bless America" logo - specialises in helping companies to win US government contracts and claims a 90 per cent success rate. With friends like these, it will not be surprising to find Salem Chalabi moving out of the Palestine Hotel and into his newly restored headquarters in Harthiyya district sooner than expected.


http://www.guardian.co.uk/elsewhere/jou ... 04,00.html
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Postby Kali » Tue Oct 28, 2003 5:31 pm

<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2003/10/28/business/28CND-FUND.html?hp">Regulators Sue Fund Company for Securities Fraud</a>
By GRETCHEN MORGENSON

Published: October 28, 2003

<b>Federal and state securities regulators filed civil lawsuits today against Putnam Investments</b> and two of its senior fund managers, contending that both the giant mutual fund company and its executives committed securities fraud beginning as early as 1998.

The case against Putnam, the fifth-largest mutual fund company in the nation with $272 billion under management, involves its practice of allowing some large investors to trade rapidly in and out of shares, even though its stated policy was to prohibit such trades. Regulators also contend that Putnam engaged in securities fraud by failing to disclose to fund shareholders or to its board of directors a series of personal trades by its managers that harmed public shareholders.

The fund managers sued by the regulators were Justin M. Scott, 46, chief investment officer of Putnam's International Equities Group, and Omid Kamshad, 41, chief investment office of its International Core Equity Group. Regulators contend that the two men used nonpublic information about their mutual funds' holdings to profit personally in frequent trades that date to as early as 1998. Mr. Kamshad's personal trading continued until last March, the commission said, even though Putnam officials said last week that the trades by fund executives had stopped in 2000.


And,the #6 largest shareholder in Halliburton is ... none other than ..???

Read about it here: <a href="http://marc.perkel.com/archives/000067.html">David Letterman-style, the Top Ten shareholders for Halliburton Company, Inc., are as follows:</a>

#6 Putnam Investment Manage-ment, LLC, with more than 12.5 million shares. Putnam also owns stock in United Defense/the Carlyle Group and in Fresh Del Monte. Putnam is another top mutual fund holder in Halliburton.
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Postby Kali » Tue Oct 28, 2003 5:45 pm

Please note, on that "Letterman" list above, under #7 the following:

# 7 FMR Corporation (Fidelity Management & Research), with 10 million shares. FMR, the world's largest mutual fund company, and Wellington (see #2, below) are by far the biggest shareholders in TB Woods Corp., <b><u>where presidential cousin Craig Stapleton was a director before becoming ambassador to the Czech Republic.</u> FMR also owns big in United Defense/Carlyle, connected to former President George H. W. Bush, and Fresh Del Monte, where presidential brother Marvin P. Bush is back on the board. Interestingly, FMR also owns about 50,000 shares of Harken Energy, George W. Bush's old stomping grounds (current value: about $20,000). Fidelity's Magellan Fund is also the second largest mutual fund holder in Halliburton.</b>


<b>Craig Stapleton, Bush's cousin, and a Bush Pioneer, appears to be the <u>owner of Putnam Investments!</b></u>

Ack. If that's true, then the story on the front page of the New York Times today is about GEORGE W. BUSH'S COUSIN! We would have to find support for the following information, which I haven't seen anywhere but here:

<a href="http://www.tpj.org/index.jsp">Texans for Public Justice</a>

Name: Craig & Dorothy Stapleton
Occupation: President, Marsh & McLennan
Industry: Finance
Home: Greenwich, Connecticut

Craig Stapleton is married to Bush’s cousin Dorothy. He is head of Marsh & McLennan’s real estate practice. The company owns Putnam Investments & Marsh Mercer Consulting Group. Stapleton worked in President Bush’s White House and was an investor with Bush in the Texas Rangers ball team, which made Bush a millionaire 15 times over. Bush’s profits got a boost from the other partners, who gifted him extra equity in the deal, and by local taxpayers, who paid $135 million for the team’s new stadium. Stapleton organized a ‘98 Bush fundraiser that netted $250,000.
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Postby Kali » Tue Oct 28, 2003 6:18 pm

Is this direct or indirect connection? Who knows. It could be either.

Craig Stapleton, Bush's cousin was (still is?) President of Marsh and McLennan Real Estate, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of March and McLennan Co., and Putnam Investments is Marsh McLennan's investment managment subsidiary, I believe.

Here's a Biography of
Craig Roberts Stapleton

Craig Roberts Stapleton, U.S. Ambassador to the Czech Republic, arrived in Prague on August 24 and presented his credentials to President Vaclav Havel on August 28, 2001. Ambassador Stapleton was sworn in by Secretary of State Colin Powell in Washington, D.C. on August 17, after being confirmed by the U.S. Senate on August 3.

President George W. Bush nominated Craig Stapleton as Ambassador to the Czech Republic on April 6, 2001. Prior to assuming his duties in the Czech Republic, Mr. Stapleton was a real estate executive, serving since 1982 as President of Marsh and McLennan Real Estate Advisors, Inc., New York, New York, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Marsh and McLennan Companies. His responsibilities included negotiating office leases in the major cities of the United States, Canada and Europe.

Mr. Stapleton previously served on the Board of Directors of a number of publicly traded U.S. companies, including Alleghany Properties, Cornerstone Properties, Security Capital Corporation, Sonoma West and T.B. Woods. He was a partner of President Bush in the ownership of the Texas Rangers from 1989-98.

Mr. Stapleton's charitable involvement has focused on private education. He has served as a Trustee of the Brunswick School, Greenwich, CT, and numerous committees at Harvard including Chairman of the Committee to Nominate Overseers, the Committee of University Resources, the Visiting Committee for Harvard College, the Schools and Scholarship Committee, the Harvard Alumni Association and the Harvard Capital Campaign. He served on the Board of the Peace Corps under President George H. W. Bush.

Mr. Stapleton has been married to Dorothy Bush Walker since 1971. They have two children, Walker 27, and Wendy 23. The Stapletons live in Greenwich, Connecticut. Mr. Stapleton is a graduate of the Phillips Exeter Academy, Harvard College (magna cum laude) and Harvard Business School.
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Postby Kali » Wed Oct 29, 2003 1:26 pm

<b><font size="+1">The President of Marsh and McLennan?
Bush's cousin, Craig Stapleton.</font>

Info from <a href="http://www.opensecrets.org/bush/ambassadors/stapleton.asp">Center for Responsive Politics (Open Secrets.org)</a>

Stapleton is president of Marsh and McLennan Real Estate Advisors Inc. He is a former partner with President Bush in the Texas Rangers baseball team, and served on the board of the Peace Corps under Bush's father. He and his wife were both listed among the Bush campaign's Pioneer fund-raisers.


And from today's story, below, we read this sentence:
The [Putnam] fund company, which is based in Boston and is a unit of the insurance giant Marsh & McLennan, oversees more than 100 mutual funds for more than 12 million shareholders and 401(k) plan participants


Here's the NYTimes story today:
<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2003/10/29/business/29FUND.html">Mutual Fund Accused of Fraud in Rapid Trading by Managers</a>
By GRETCHEN MORGENSON

Published: October 29, 2003

Federal and state securities regulators filed civil lawsuits yesterday against Putnam Investments and two of its former fund managers, accusing them of fraud. They are the first lawsuits against a mutual fund company and some of its executives produced by a widening investigation into the trading of fund shares.

Putnam, which has $272 billion under management and is the fifth-largest fund company in the nation, allowed some big investors to trade rapidly in and out of shares, even though its stated policy was to bar such activity, the Securities and Exchange Commission said in its suit.

Regulators also contend that Putnam engaged in securities fraud by failing to disclose to fund shareholders or to its board the series of personal trades by its managers that harmed public shareholders. Improper trading by one fund manager dates back to 1998, regulators said.

The investigation of mutual fund improprieties, which began last month with a single complaint by New York State officials against one hedge fund, is spreading quickly and going in unexpected directions.

<b>"For the first time we are in the heart of the mutual fund business," said Prof. Norman Poser of Brooklyn Law School, an expert in securities law. "I can imagine there are going to be some really big reverberations from these disclosures."

Putnam sought to reassure investors yesterday, including workers who have 401(k) retirement accounts in Putnam funds and big institutions who have voiced concerns that the company had lax controls. The fund company, which is based in Boston and is a unit of the insurance giant Marsh & McLennan, oversees more than 100 mutual funds for more than 12 million shareholders and 401(k) plan participants.</b>

In a statement responding to the allegations by the securities commission and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the company said it had not acted fraudulently. "We have been cooperating with both the S.E.C. and the commonwealth," it said. "We will work with them to resolve these issues in an appropriate and expeditious manner."

Putnam recently dismissed the fund managers who were sued by regulators yesterday. The managers are Justin M. Scott, 46, who was chief investment officer of Putnam's International Equities Group, and Omid Kamshad, 41, who was chief investment officer of its International Core Equity Group.

The regulators contend that the men used nonpublic information about their funds' holdings to profit personally through frequent trades. Mr. Kamshad's personal trading continued through March, the commission said, even though Putnam officials said last week that the improper trading by fund executives ended in 2000.

"There are some 95 million Americans who are invested in mutual funds, representing half the households in this country, and they deserve better," said Stephen M. Cutler, director of enforcement at the S.E.C. "We're going to continue to be aggressive in pursuing appropriate enforcement actions where mutual funds abuse the trust of those investors."

William F. Galvin, the secretary of the commonwealth of Massachusetts, also sued Putnam and the fund managers for civil securities fraud. Calling the fund company's practices outrageous and deceitful, Mr. Galvin said: "Mutual should mean equal opportunity for gain and loss. There should not be two classes of investors."

Mutual funds calculate their share prices, known as net asset values, at 4 p.m. based on the value of the securities held in the portfolio. But prices of foreign securities can be hours old because those markets have already closed. Subsequent world events or corporate news can presage moves in those markets when they open, creating a buying opportunity to those who recognize that the securities are mispriced and can trade freely in fund shares.

Fund managers with their intimate knowledge of portfolio holdings are in a better position than anybody to capitalize on these moves. Putnam's policy said that it would police and prevent anyone from carrying out rapid trading, known as market timing.

According to the Massachusetts complaint, the two former fund managers traded shares of Putnam funds when events in United States markets were expected to move overseas stock prices.
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Postby Kali » Sat Nov 01, 2003 12:37 am

Putnam's CEO & president Lawrence Lasser is about to get the (obligatory) ax from Marsh and McLennan. This is the beginning a another big scary rip-off story with a mutual funds company as the main character ... yet it is bound to be the tip of the iceberg, if you know what I mean.

As for Lasser, it would appear that over the last 18 years of his time at Putnam he's certainly been well-fed by his company, taking home the bacon and whole herds of pigs.

For instance (just a drop in the bucket):

<b>Reuters, March 29, 2001</b>
<b>Putnam President Received USD 33 million Bonus in 2000</b>
Boston, MA, United States -<u> Lawrence Lasser</u>, president of Putnam Investments, received a USD 33 million bonus despite an average loss in most of the company's funds, according to the latest proxy filing. The company defended Lasser's bonus, saying the 27% increase was based on a formula that took into account Putnam's corporate performance. Putnam's profit, revenues and market share all increased in 2000 despite the negative performance of its funds.


This story is not over, it's not front page where it belongs, yet. But it WILL be. We're talking about pensions and mutual funds for MILLIONS of people. And Putnam is just ONE company (the fifth-largest).
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Postby Ferguson Foont » Sat Nov 01, 2003 9:47 am

A $33 million bonus in a year where the funds showed a loss. This, I believe, is what we call "looting."
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The Bush Dynasty

Postby Ferguson Foont » Mon Jan 12, 2004 5:43 pm

I have put this here because I couldn't locate a more relevant thread for it and this place is already too complicated as it is.

This is a piece by rightwinger Kevin Phillips. He's no fan of the Bushes, I'll tell you what.

Yes, they CAN be taught! Anyhow, this appeared in the Los Angeles Times at the URL http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/sun ... commentary, and is provided below in its entirety for your fair use and mine:
Kevin Phillips wrote:<FONT SIZE=+1><B>The Barreling Bushes</B></FONT>
<B>Four generations of the dynasty have chased profits through cozy ties with Mideast leaders, spinning webs of conflicts of interest.</B>

By Kevin Phillips
January 11, 2004

WASHINGTON -- Dynasties in American politics are dangerous. We saw it with the Kennedys, we may well see it with the Clintons and we're certainly seeing it with the Bushes. Between now and the November election, it's crucial that Americans come to understand how four generations of the current president's family have embroiled the United States in the Middle East through CIA connections, arms shipments, rogue banks, inherited war policies and personal financial links.

As early as 1964, George H.W. Bush, running for the U.S. Senate from Texas, was labeled by incumbent Democrat Ralph Yarborough as a hireling of the sheik of Kuwait, for whom Bush's company drilled offshore oil wells. Over the four decades since then, the ever-reaching Bushes have emerged as the first U.S. political clan to thoroughly entangle themselves with Middle Eastern royal families and oil money. The family even has links to the Bin Ladens ‹ though not to family black sheep Osama bin Laden ‹ going back to the 1970s.

How these unusual relationships helped bring about 9/11 and then distorted the U.S. response to Islamic terrorism requires thinking of the Bush family as a dynasty. The two Bush presidencies are inextricably linked by that dynasty.

The first family member lured by the Middle East's petroleum wealth was George W. Bush's great-grandfather, George H. Walker, a buccaneer who was president of Wall Street-based W.A. Harriman & Co. In the 1920s, Walker and his firm participated in rebuilding the Baku oil fields only a few hundred miles north of current-day Iraq. As senior director of Dresser Industries (now part of Halliburton), Walker's son-in-law Prescott Bush (George W. Bush's grandfather) became involved with the Middle East in the years after World War II. But it was George H.W. Bush, the current president's father, who forged the dynasty's strongest ties to the region.

George H.W. Bush was the first CIA director to come from the oil industry. He went on to became the first vice president -- and then the first president -- to have either an oil or CIA background. This helps to explain his persistent bent toward the Middle East, covert operations and rogue banks like the Abu Dhabi-based Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), which came to be known by the nickname "Bank of Crooks and Criminals International." In each of the government offices he held, he encouraged CIA involvement in Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and other Middle Eastern countries, and he pursued policies that helped make the Middle East into the world's primary destination for arms shipments.

Taking the CIA helm in January 1976, Bush cemented strong relations with the intelligence services of both Saudi Arabia and the shah of Iran. He worked closely with Kamal Adham, the head of Saudi intelligence, brother-in-law of King Faisal and an early BCCI insider. After leaving the CIA in January 1977, Bush became chairman of the executive committee of First International Bancshares and its British subsidiary, where, according to journalists Peter Truell and Larry Gurwin in their 1992 book "False Profits," Bush "traveled on the bank's behalf and sometimes marketed to international banks in London, including several Middle Eastern institutions."

Once in the White House, first as vice president to Ronald Reagan and later as president, George H.W. Bush was linked to at least two Middle East-centered scandals. It's never been entirely clear what Bush's connection was to the Iran-Contra affair, in which clandestine arms shipments to Iran, some BCCI-financed, helped illegally fund the operations of the anti-Sandinista Contra rebels in Nicaragua. But in 1992, special prosecutor Lawrence E. Walsh asserted that Bush, despite his protestations, had indeed been "in the loop" on multiple illegal acts.

Much clearer was Bush's pivotal role, both as vice president and president, in "Iraqgate," the hidden aid provided by the U.S. and its military to Saddam Hussein's Iraq in its high-stakes war with Iran during the 1980s. The U.S. is known to have provided both biological cultures that could have been used for weapons and nuclear know-how to the regime, as well as conventional weapons. As ABC-TV broadcaster Ted Koppel put it in a June 1992 "Nightline" program after the 1991 Persian Gulf War: "It is becoming increasingly clear that George [H.W.] Bush, operating largely behind the scenes through the 1980s, initiated and supported much of the financing, intelligence and military help that built Saddam's Iraq into the aggressive power that the United States ultimately had to destroy."

During these years, Bush's four sons ‹ George W., Jeb, Neil and Marvin ‹ were following in the family footsteps, lining up business deals with Saudi, Kuwaiti and Bahraini moneymen and cozying up to BCCI. The Middle East was becoming a convenient family money spigot.

Eldest son George W. Bush made his first Middle East connection in the late 1970s with James Bath, a Texas businessmen who served as the North American representative for two rich Saudis (and Osama bin Laden relatives) ‹ billionaire Salem bin Laden and banker and BCCI insider Khalid bin Mahfouz. Bath put $50,000 into Bush's 1979 Arbusto oil partnership, probably using Bin Laden-Bin Mahfouz funds.

In the late 1980s, after several failed oil ventures, the future 43rd president let the ailing oil business in which he was a major stockholder and chairman be bought out by another foreign-influenced operation, Harken Energy. The Wall Street Journal commented in 1991, "The mosaic of BCCI connections surrounding Harken Energy may prove nothing more than how ubiquitous the rogue bank's ties were. But the number of BCCI-connected people who had dealings with Harken ‹ all since George W. Bush came on board ‹ likewise raises the question of whether they mask an effort to cozy up to a presidential son."

Other hints of cronyism came in 1990 when inexperienced Harken got a major contract to drill in the Persian Gulf for the government of Bahrain. Time magazine reporters Jonathan Beaty and S.C. Gwynne, in their book "The Outlaw Bank," concluded "that Mahfouz, or other BCCI players, must have had a hand in steering the oil-drilling contract to the president's son." The web entangling the Bush presidencies was already being spun.

Second son Jeb Bush, now the governor of Florida, spent most of his time in the early and mid-1980s hobnobbing with ex-Cuban intelligence officers, Nicaraguan Contras and others plugged into the lucrative orbit of Miami-area front groups for the CIA. But he too had some Middle East connections. Two of his business associates, Guillermo Hernandez-Cartaya and Camilo Padreda, both indicted for financial dealings, were longtime associates of Middle Eastern arms dealer, BCCI investor and Iran-Contra figure Adnan Khashoggi. Prosecutors dropped the case against the two, and a federal judge ordered Padreda's name expunged from the record. But a few years later Padreda, a former Miami-Dade County GOP treasurer, was convicted of fraud over a federally insured housing development that Jeb Bush had helped to facilitate. Jeb Bush also socialized with Adbur Sakhia, the Miami BCCI branch chief and later its top U.S. official.

Neil Bush, most famous for the scandal surrounding the corrupt practices of Colorado's Silverado Savings & Loan, where he served as a director during the 1980s, also picked plums from Persian Gulf orchards. In 1993, after his father left the White House, Neil went to Kuwait with his parents, brother Marvin and former Secretary of State James A. Baker III. When his father left, Neil stayed to lobby for business contracts, and after returning home evolved a set of lucrative relationships with Syrian-American businessman Jamal Daniel. One of their ventures, Ignite!, an educational software company, also included representatives of at least three ruling Persian Gulf families.

The Bush family's Middle Eastern commercial focus is further exemplified by Marvin, the youngest brother of the current president. From 1993 to 2000 he was a major shareholder, along with Mishal Youssef Saud al Sabah, a member of the Kuwaiti royal family, in the Kuwait-American Corp., which had holdings in several U.S. defense, aviation and industrial security companies.

George H.W. Bush's own Persian Gulf relationships kept expanding. While serving in the Reagan White House during the 1980s, he was known in the Middle East as "the Saudi vice president," and a New Yorker article last year described the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. as "almost a member of the [Bush] family." Indeed, many saw the 1991 Gulf War to expel Iraq from Kuwait as an outgrowth of Bush's close ties to the oil industry and to Persian Gulf royal families, who felt threatened by Saddam Hussein's expansionism.

After losing his bid for a second term as president, Bush joined up in 1993 with the Washington-based Carlyle Group. Under the leadership of ex-officials like Baker and former Defense Secretary Frank C. Carlucci, Carlyle developed a specialty in buying defense companies and doubling or quadrupling their value. The ex-president not only became an investor in Carlyle, but a member of the company's Asia Advisory Board and a rainmaker who drummed up investors. Twelve rich Saudi families, including the Bin Ladens, were among them. In 2002, the Washington Post reported, "Saudis close to Prince Sultan, the Saudi defense minister Š were encouraged to put money into Carlyle as a favor to the elder Bush." Bush retired from the company last October, and Baker, who lobbied U.S. allies last month to forgive Iraq's debt, remains a Carlyle senior counselor.

If the 1991 war with Iraq and its aftermath cemented the Bush ties with oil elites and royalty in the Middle East, it angered Islamic true believers and radicals. By the late 1990s, many of the Islamic insurgents who had been mobilized by the CIA and others to chase the Soviets out of Afghanistan were becoming increasingly anti-American. They found a kinship with Osama bin Laden, the renegade of his billionaire Saudi family, who was outraged at the U.S. presence in Saudi Arabia.

When the U.S. launched a second war against Iraq in 2003 but failed to find weapons of mass destruction that Hussein was purported to have, international polls, especially those by the Washington-based Pew Center, charted a massive growth in anti-Bush and anti-American sentiment in Muslim parts of the world ‹ an obvious boon to terrorist recruitment. Even before the war, some cynics had argued that Iraq was targeted to divert attention from the administration's failure to catch Osama bin Laden and stop Al Qaeda terrorism.

Bolder critics hinted that George W. Bush had sought to shift attention away from how his family's ties to the Bin Ladens and to rogue elements in the Middle East had crippled U.S. investigations in the months leading up to 9/11. Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) complained that even when Congress released the mid-2003 intelligence reports on the origins of the 9/11 attack, the Bush administration heavily redacted a 28-page section dealing with the Saudis and other foreign governments, leading him to conclude, "There seems to be a systematic strategy of coddling and cover-up when it comes to the Saudis."

There is no evidence to suggest that the events of Sept. 11 could have been prevented or discovered ahead of time had someone other than a Bush been president. But there is certainly enough to suggest that the Bush dynasty's many decades of entanglement and money-hunting in the Middle East have created a major conflict of interest that deserves to be part of the 2004 political debate. No previous presidency has had anything remotely similar. Not one.

<I>(Kevin Phillips' new book, "American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush," has just been published by Viking Penguin.)</I>


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