Jeb Bush’s emails detail communications with top donors

13 Mar 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Jeb Bush’s emails detail communications with top donors.

Among the many thousands of emails Jeb Bush received as Florida governor are a string of notes from campaign donors asking for favors and making suggestions. Politifact, which bills itself as “an independent fact-checking journalism website aimed at bringing you the truth in politics,” takes issue with Bush’s claim that when he abolished race-based affirmative action at Florida’s public colleges, minority enrollment ultimately increased rather than collapsing. “I eliminated affirmative action by executive order — trust me, there were a lot of people upset about this,” Bush said in February at the Conservative Political Action Conference. “But through hard work we ended up having a system where there were more African-American and Hispanic kids attending our university system than prior to the system that was discriminatory.” As even Politifact indirectly acknowledges, Bush’s statement is actually totally factual. The National Review reported last night that Bush soon will name Justin Muzinich, vice chairman of the New York City investment firm Muzinich & Co., as policy director.

It’s an insight into Bush’s work as governor that’s possible only because his emails are open for review, something not yet available for those sent and received by Hillary Rodham Clinton as secretary of state. It noted that Bush announced last month that he was bringing on April Ponnuru, “a leading member of the reform-conservative movement (and the wife of National Review’s Ramesh Ponnuru) as a senior policy adviser.” The Democratic opposition group, American Bridge, criticized the Muzinich hire, saying his experience at a hedge fund “certainly won’t do anything to help the perception that Jeb doesn’t represent the values of the middle class.” Scott Jennings, a Louisville, Ky., Republican strategist and former adviser to former President George W. But, positioning himself as a transparent candidate if he runs for the Republican nomination, he has posted online more than 275,000 emails from his two terms in office.

A review by the Associated Press of Bush’s emails found that prominent donors to Bush and his family regularly urged him to appoint certain candidates for judgeships, public boards and other committees. His firm, RunSwitch PR, handled the super PAC Kentuckians for Strong Leadership and the issues group Kentucky Opportunity Coalition, both of which flooded the airways on McConnell’s behalf.

In 2013, blacks have dropped slightly to 13 percent of the student body, but that small dip is more than made up for by the surge of Hispanics to 24 percent of students (a surge that helps explain the small dip for blacks). She did not respond to AP’s questions about specific emails involving two fundraisers, but one of them, Mark Guzzetta, said Bush denied his requests just as frequently as he granted them. “We always joked it would be better to be a stranger with no connection,” Guzzetta said. “He was so deliberate because he wanted to make sure we received no special favors.” Bush freely gave out his personal email address during his time in office and often received notes of inquiry, complaint and thanks.

Last month, Bush put the emails he said were related to his work in state government on a website, a move he and his aides said was designed to show his administration was open and in touch with constituents. Bush was required by Florida’s notably strong public records law to provide to the state all correspondence related to state government after he left office, and those emails were publicly available before Bush created his website. Bush, for example, created the “Talented 20″ program in Florida, which guarantees admission at a state university to the top 20 percent of a high school class.

Even Politifact notes that minority graduation rates have risen substantially in Florida, but the website never even considers that the “hard work” Bush mentioned may have played a roll in that. Another financial backer who sought to sway Bush was Guzzetta, a Boca Raton real estate developer who was finance co-chairman of Bush’s gubernatorial campaign. In email messages, Guzzetta urged Bush to make appointments for judgeships, a property insurance commission and the Florida Transportation Commission, among other slots. In May 2000, Guzzetta wrote Bush expressing frustration. “When companies or individuals come to me these days for the purpose of hiring me, it’s not because of my wonderful relationship with the president of the Senate or with the Speaker of the House — it’s because of my association with the administration and you,” he wrote.

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