Jeb Bush on His Criminal Associates: I Need 'Better Radar'

Presidential candidate made iffy connections in the old days
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 29, 2015 6:45 PM CDT
Jeb Bush's Past Dogged by Criminal Associates
Republican presidential candidate, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush answers questions from reporters after greeting local residents during a backyard meet and greet, June 17, 2015, in Washington, Iowa.   (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Running for the White House, Jeb Bush portrays himself as a man who has "worked his tail off" to get ahead in life. But in his business dealings—which involved such diverse fields as real estate, credit card services, and water pumps—the candidate seemed to benefit from his father's political power and worked with people who turned out to be criminals, the Washington Post reports. Bush's business outlook in his early years was "a little bit of damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead," says a professor who wrote about him. "His judgment on who to associate with is lacking." Unlike his father and brother George, who each made fortunes as young men, Jeb jumped from one business venture to another, at times with unsavory characters.

When Jeb's dad was vice-president, Jeb lobbied the federal government for the owner of a Miami health-maintenance organization who was later charged with $200 million in Medicare fraud and fled the US. In another case, Jeb pitched water pumps in Nigeria for a Florida company while Bush Sr. was president; the company was later found guilty of falsifying claims that cost the US government $7.5 million in damages. In all, five of Jeb's associates have been convicted. "At the time, I didn’t feel I was doing business with a crook," he told the Miami Herald after the Medicare case. "Unfortunately, I didn’t give it a whole lot of thought." Today, his camp says a few dubious characters took advantage of Jeb's naiveté, but "he has always operated with the highest level of integrity throughout his business career." Read more at the Post. (More Jeb Bush stories.)

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