Democratic Underground

Pardons, Two Bushes, and Two Clintons
July 11, 2001
by Lois Erwin

When plain George W. Bush, a member of the board of directors and consultant1 to Harken Energy Corporation, sold off 212,140 shares of his Harken stock2 (60% of his holdings, making himself an $848,560 profit!) on June 22, 1990 - just a week before Harken announced, in its quarterly report, a serious problem with the company - G. W. Bush was investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on grounds of "insider trading." While he was never found innocent3, neither was he ever punished.

One has to wonder why.

Seek no further for an answer to the question. At the time of Bush's Harken stock sell-off, his father was President of the United States. As president, George Herbert Walker Bush, had appointed the SEC Chairman; and the general counsel of the SEC was an old Bush friend. They were both old Bush family friends. (We don't need to investigate George Jr. He comes from such a nice family. Why make trouble for them? Not worth it.)

Now, let's assume for a moment that George Jr.'s father had NOT been president of the United States and had NOT appointed the SEC Chairman, and the SEC general counsel was NOT an old friend, and George Jr. had done the same deed - the "insider trading" deed.

He would have, undoubtedly, been found in violation of the prohibition against "insider trading" and might have faced jail time and/or a serious fine - and NOT been eligible to be President of the United States today.

In any event, does anyone suppose that if George Jr. had been found guilty, his father - the President of the United States - would not have pardoned his son? Does anyone suppose that if George Jr. had been found guilty, his father would have needed to be "lobbied" by George Jr. to grant such a pardon? Or does being a member of the president's family automatically guarantee access to the president's time, the president's heart, the president's agenda, and the president's list of pardons?

I do not find anything unusual about Roger Clinton's access to his brother. When the first President Bush was in the White House, George Jr. ran all over the place telling people off and in some cases giving them their walking papers. The fact remains, that even having access to his brother did not win pardons for ANY of Roger Clinton's clients.

So, what was gained other than a review of Roger Clinton's clients' pardon applications? Big deal. If it is the access that troubles rabid right-wingers so, one wonders how they feel about the Intel executives' access to Karl Rove? Did Rove not open doors for Intel executives and in so doing enrich himself? Did George W. Bush not stall aluminum production for two years and enable his Treasury Secretary to make a windfall profit of $62 million on his $100 million investment in Alcoa aluminum? Do Far-Righters wonder WHY Paul O'Neill did not divest himself of his Alcoa stock as soon as he knew of his appointment as Treasury Secretary?

Just some thoughts to ponder.

1 G. W. Bush was an active consultant to Harken CEO Mikel Faulkner on mergers, acquisitions, and projects.
2 The Harken stock fell from the $4.12 Bush sold at to $2.37 per share in August 1990, after the quarterly report came out and after Iraq invaded Kuwait.
3 The SEC investigation of Bush's "insider trading" ending without filing charges, but the associate director of the U.S. SEC's enforcement division noted in a letter to Bush's attorney: "It must in no way be construed as indicating that the party has been exonerated or that no action may ultimately result."

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