Title Page
Report Summary
Who Are They?
View All of the Bush Pioneers & Rangers
Pioneers & Rangers by Industry
Pioneers & Rangers by Occupation
Multi-Pioneer Families & Employers
Pioneers & Rangers by State
The Scandal Sheet
What Did They Get?
Federal Appointments
Federal Contracts
White House Sleepovers
Payola Policies for Top Money Industries
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Who Are The Bush Pioneers & Rangers?
The Scandal Sheet on Pioneers & Rangers

Corporate Scandals
At least 148 of the 642 elite 2000 and 2004 Bush donors (23 percent) have been involved in corporate scandals or helped run companies involved in them. At least 100 of the 2004 elite donors (19 percent) have corporate-scandal status.

  • The scandal poster boy is Enron Pioneer “Kenny Boy” Lay, who was one of 22 wealthy business leaders whom President Bush invited to lunch in 2001 to discuss his tax cut for the wealthy. Later that year, disclosures about Enron’s conflicts of interest and flimflam accounting reduced this $60 billion Wall Street darling to bankruptcy. Enron’s colossal fraud would have been impossible without the active or passive cooperation of Enron’s:
    • Auditor, Arthur Anderson, which employed 2000 Pioneer Stephen Goddard as head of its Houston office;
    • “Outside” law firm Vinson & Elkins, which employs two-time Pioneer Thomas Marinis; and
    • Such investment banks as Credit Suisse First Boston, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Merrill Lynch and UBS, which collectively employ 10 elite Bush donors.

  • In 2002 10 top Wall Street banks agreed to pay a record $1.4 billion to settle New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer’s charges that their analysts promoted stocks of companies that kicked back lucrative underwriting contracts to the banks. Spitzer next probed mutual funds that secretly granted special trading privileges to large investors, thereby letting them profit at the expense of regular investors. Finance companies hit by the mutual-fund scandal include Bank of America, Bear Stearns, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley and UBS, which employ a total of 13 elite Bush donors--none of whom were Pioneers in 2000. Now Spitzer is probing insurance brokers to see if incentives they received from insurers induced them to sell policies that were not in the best interest of their customers. Brokers subpoenaed in the probe include Marsh & McLennan (M&M) and Aon Corp, the president and CEO of which both became elite Bush donors in the 2004 campaign. M&M, which also was slammed in the mutual-fund scandal, employed Pioneer Craig Stapleton before Bush appointed him to be Czech Ambassador.

  • John Stafford headed drug giant American Home Products (AHP) from 1986 until 2001. At the FDA’s behest AHP removed the diet drug fen-phen in 1997 after research showed that it exposed millions of consumers to elevated risks of heart failure. An AHP safety manager and the scientist who reviewed the drugs’s FDA application said the company covered up these risks. Now called Wyeth, the company is a top producer of estrogen replacement drugs. A 2002 study was halted after women who took Wyeth’s Prempro suffered unacceptable increases in their rates of breast cancer, strokes and heart attacks. Subsequent studies have linked Prempro to elevated risks of dementia.

  • Chicken kingpin Lonnie Pilgrim is the Bush Pioneer who heads Pilgrim’s Pride. It owns a processing plant implicated in the 2002 Listeria meat infection that killed eight people and caused three miscarriages. A federal meat inspector said his USDA superiors previously overruled inspector recommendations to close the plant, which had mold and algae growing on its walls and ducts that dripped on processing tables.

  • Alabama homebuilder Mitchell Brothers, Inc. (MBI), which accounts for three 2004 elite Bush donors, paid $1.75 million in 1996 to settle a class-action lawsuit by 16 African-Americans who said MBI denied them housing based on their race. Ex-MBI leasing agents complained to federal officials that MBI showed blacks the worst apartments and flagged their names on a waiting list so they would not be called about vacancies. MBI paid $900,000 to settle a related lawsuit by an ex-employee who said she was fired for refusing to discriminate.
Campaign Donor Scandals
At least 82 of the 642 elite 2000 and 2004 Bush donors (13 percent) have been involved in scandals that involve campaign-donor clout—either their own or that of their employers.  At least 53 of the 2004 elite donors (10 percent) have ties to campaign-donor scandals.
  • MassMutual Financial Group CEO Robert O’Connell became a Bush Pioneer for the first time in 2000 by sending employees a letter noting that he had contributed $1,000 to Bush and urging them to funnel their contribution checks to him to pass along to the campaign. A Federal Elections Committee spokesperson said that this strong-arm tactic is legal if it is confined to executive and administrative staff and so long as the employees are not pressured to contribute!

  • Two-time elite Bush donor Munr Kazmir may be America’s most powerful Pakistani Jewish immigrant. After starting a company that supplied hospitals with respiratory therapists, Kazmir co-chaired New Jersey’s GOP finance committee when future Ranger Christine Todd Whitman was elected governor in 1993. The following year state regulators probed allegations that Kazmir’s company: Helped respiratory therapists cheat on exams; Sent hospitals unlicensed respiratory therapists; and pressured a secretary to don a white coat to aid patients. This probe sparked a protest from state lawmaker Patrick Roma--who took campaign money from Kazmir. In 1998 Kazmir paid $26,000 to settle the charges and launched a mail-order drug company. When the federal government granted disaster loans to businesses harmed by the World Trade Center attack, Kazmir’s Direct Meds was New Jersey’s top beneficiary.

  • 2000 Pioneer Randall Hubbard stepped down as chair of Pinnacle Entertainment after he and that gambling company were fined more than $3 million in 2002 (a Pinnacle-chartered jet brought hookers to its Indiana casino to entertain guests). While Hubbard still owned Ruidoso Downs and a casino in New Mexico, in 2002 that state’s gambling board had to overrule its own staff’s recommendation that his casino license not be renewed. A year later the New Mexico Racing Commission picked Hubbard over three competitors to open a new racetrack and casino. This coup came after Hubbard amended his application to include a new partner—one who ran a racetrack that contributed $100,500 to Governor Bill Richardson.

  • A 1998 Time Magazine expose crowned Bush Ranger Jose “Pepe” Fanjul’s family “the first family of corporate welfare” because federal funds drained the Everglades land where the Fanjuls grow sugar and the feds guarantee their industry prices that are double world market prices. This “first family” exercised extraordinary clout in 1996. Shortly after Al Gore proposed taxing sugar to fund Everglades restoration, President Clinton took an angry call from Jose’s brother Alfonso--right in the middle of a tryst with Monica Lewinsky. Gore's plan floundered.
At least 42 of the 642 elite 2000 and 2004 Bush donors (7 percent) work for polluting companies or industries. At least 32 of the 2004 elite donors (6 percent) have these polluter ties.
  • Two-time Pioneer Anthony Alexander is president of FirstEnergy Corp. and sat on Bush’s 2000 Energy Department transition team. FirstEnergy electric plants are major emitters of mercury and sulfur dioxide, which causes acid rain and respiratory disease. A federal judge ruled in 2003 that the company broke the Clean Air Act by failing to install modern pollution-control technology when it rebuilt a power plant. Shortly after this ruling, the Bush administration released new rules that gut the environmental law that FirstEnergy violated. A 2002 acid leak ate a hole almost all the way through a reactor cap at FirstEnergy’s Davis-Besse nuclear plant. It was the worst nuclear-safety threat since Three Mile Island in 1979.

  • Two-time Pioneer James “Buck” Harless is a West Virginia coal baron. His industry’s support was crucial to Bush’s narrow 2000 victory in that state. After Bush appointed Harless’ grandson to his 2000 Energy Department transition team, the Bush administration reversed a campaign promise to support reductions in carbon-dioxide emissions and eased rules that discouraged coal miners from shearing off mountain tops and dumping the debris in river valleys. “We were looking for friends, and we found one in George W. Bush,” James Harless told the Wall Street Journal.

  • 2000 Bush Pioneer Fred Webber headed the chemical industry’s trade group from 1992 until he retired in 2002. With Bush in office it was a safe time to step down. That same year, two big donors who had become Bush appointees, European Union (EU) Ambassador Rockwell Schnabel and Commerce Secretary Don Evans, spearheaded U.S. opposition to proposed EU rules to subject chemicals to environmental and health tests. Internal documents reveal that the Commerce Department got snippy with the U.S. chemical industry for not moving fast enough “to develop an official position and strategy” to respond to the EU proposal. The EU dramatically scaled back the scope of the rules in 2003.