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Bush’s unsavory “pioneers”

Mar. 6, 2000

A dinner party with this crew could make you lose your lunch.

Campaign-finance watchdogs TEXANS FOR PUBLIC JUSTICE have just released a new list of major Bush backers. It includes the newest additions to the Shrub’s lengthening roster of bestest friends (aka “pioneers”) — the ones who contribute or raise $100,000 or more for his campaign.

Some of the more notable characters, according to the TPJ:

  • Charles W. “Tre” Evers III, public relations
    Claim to fame: Helped Florida’s sugar industry defeat a 1996 initiative to tax sugar grown in the Everglades, where the crops are destroying the ecosystem.
  • Elaine Chao of the Heritage Foundation
    Claims to fame: Vocal affirmative action foe; accepted a $292,500 “going-away” gift from the cash-strapped United Way; wife of Sen. Mitch McConnell, an unapologetic enemy of campaign finance reform.

  • James Connolly, lobbyist
    Claim to fame: Dropped out of the 1982 Boston mayoral race after media discovered he had plagiarized an anti-corruption policy proposal.

  • Ed Floyd, MD, physician and tobacco farmer
    Claim to fame: This vascular surgeon spends his days fixing what tobacco has destroyed in his patients; meanwhile, he owns allotments to grow enough tobacco for 26.3 million packs of cigarettes a year.

  • Craig Keeland, executive at Youngevity, Inc.
    Claim to fame: Youngevity’s cozy relationship with Bush won the massive watering-down of a Texas state law which would have made it necessary to have a prescription to obtain ephedrine. Ephedrine, a close cousin of methamphetamine, is often marketed as an “herbal supplement” for weight loss. Eight deaths in Texas have been linked to the substance.

  • Peter Secchia, chair of Universal Forest Products, Inc.
    Claim to fame: The Shrub’s dad appointed Secchia ambassador to Italy, despite Secchia’s reputation for lewdness; Secchia allegedly mooned one woman at a GOP convention and called another a “bitch.”

  • Glenn Steil, Michigan state senator, furniture exec
    Claim to fame: Steil violated Michigan campaign-finance laws when he billed his campaign for more that $20,000 for a birthday party he threw for himself.

  • Ned Seigel, Florida developer
    Claim to fame: Allegedly bribed a local school for support for a nearby housing development, which educators had said would overwhelm the existing school system.

    Read the full list on the TEXANS FOR PUBLIC JUSTICE Web site.

  • DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

    Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

    It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

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    It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

    Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

    Signed by Clara Jeffery

    Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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