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Bush and Big Business
The truth about Bush’s special interest agenda, and the big businesses he serves



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Who Bush is Really Working For
The Bush Record, Top 10 Shameless Special Interest Paybacks

1. The Democratic National Committee

What They Gave:Electric utilities gave $13 million to Republicans in the 2000 election cycle. FirstEnergy President Anthony Alexander, TXU Chairman Erle Nye and Thomas Kuhn, head of the industry's main trade group, were named Pioneers in 2000. [Center for Responsive Politics, www.crp.org; Bush's Campaign Ads...Brought To You By Special Interests, Public Citizen, 3/04]

What They Got:Bush Administration Relaxed Clean Air Rules, Saving Companies Millions. In August 2003, the Bush administration eased the "New Source Review" regulation of the Clear Air Act. The changes allowed older coal fired power plants and other facilities to avoid installing pollution controls when they expand or repair. The rule applies to about 20,000 facilities nationwide that are considered major polluters. The Washington Post reported that "the relaxing of regulatory rules is likely to save utilities and others hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars." [Baltimore Sun, 8/28/03; Chicago Tribune, 8/28/03; LA Times, 8/28/03; WP, 8/28/03]

What They Stand to Get: Bush Administration Proposal Would Remove Regulations on Mercury Pollution From Clean Air Act. A proposed rule change by the Bush EPA would remove mercury emissions from Clean Air Act regulations that have been used to limit the most toxic air pollutants. Instead, mercury emissions would fall under Clean Air Act regulations that govern less toxic pollutants that cause acid rain and smog. It had appeared that the EPA was on track to issue new rules requiring the nation's 1,100 coal and oil fired power plants to install equipment to achieve the maximum possible reductions in mercury emissions and cut emissions by 90% within four years. According to interviews of EPA staffers conducted by the Los Angeles Times, political appointees in the EPA bypassed agency professional staff and a federal advisory panel last year to craft a rule on mercury emissions preferred by the industry and the White House. Mercury emissions have been found to cause severe neurological and developmental damage in humans. [Los Angeles Times, 3/16/04; New York Times, 12/3/03; Washington Post, 12/3/03; 12/5/03; Houston Chronicle, 12/5/03; Associated Press, 12/15/03]

2. Halliburton/Kellogg, Brown & Root

What They Gave: Cheney Made Millions As Halliburton CEO, And Still Retains "Lingering" Financial Interest. Vice President Dick Cheney was CEO of Texas-based Halliburton from 1995-2000. In addition to providing a massive salary and bonus for just eight months of work in 2000, Halliburton's board of directors voted to give Cheney a $20 million retirement package when he resigned. In his retirement package from Halliburton, Cheney was granted deferred compensation, which paid out his bonus his salary from 1999 over a five year period and his bonus from that year in 2001. In 2001, while serving as Vice President, Cheney received over $1.6 million in deferred compensation from Halliburton, which included a bonus worth over $1.4 million and over $200,000 in deferred salary. In 2002, Cheney received over $160,000 in deferred salary compensation. Cheney received the severance package even though he had only been with the company for five years and his contract stated that he would have to forfeit some of his retirement package if he retired before turning 62 -- retired at age 59.

Cheney's compensation for the eight months of 2000 he served as CEO of Halliburton, according to the Associated Press, was "$4.3 million in deferred compensation and bonuses, and $806,332 in salary." Furthermore, following his departure from Halliburton, Cheney retained possession of 433,333 options of Halliburton stock that were set to expire at three different times. Despite Cheney's insistence that he severed his financial ties to Halliburton, the Congressional Research Service released a report saying that federal ethics laws consider both Cheney's deferred compensation and his unexercised stock options as a lingering financial interest in the company. [Richard Cheney Public Financial Disclosure, 9/6/00; 5/15/01; White House Press Release, "Vice President and Mrs. Cheney Release 2000 Income Tax Return," 4/13/01; "Income: Type and amount," Schedule A, Standard Form 278, Richard B. Cheney Personal Financial Disclosure, May 15, 2002; May 15, 2003; NY Times, 8/12/00; LA Times, 7/24/00; AP, 7/18/02; Washington Post, 9/26/03]

What They Got: Halliburton Received Open-Ended Contract to Assist in Rebuilding Iraqi Oil Fields. In March 2003, the Pentagon awarded Halliburton's construction wing, Kellogg Brown and Root, a no-bid contract to help rebuild Iraqi oil fields after a possible war there, including advice on putting out oil well fires. The Army Corps of Engineers said that Halliburton's compensation for rejuvenating Iraq's oil industry could be up to $7 billion. In postwar Iraq, Halliburton is the largest private contractor, with potential deals totaling over $11 billion. [San Francisco Chronicle, 3/8/03; Ottawa Citizen, 3/7/03; WSJ, 3/7/03; NY Times, 4/11/03; AP, 11/5/03]

Halliburton Involved in Several Scandals in Iraq. The military investigated Halliburton and found that it overcharged for gas it imported into Iraq from Kuwait by as much as $61 million. In March 2003, the Pentagon announced it would withhold nearly $300 million in payments to Halliburton due to the company's overcharging on food contracts. Halliburton's subsidiary Kellogg, Brown & Root [KBR] serves 110,000 soldiers in Iraq their meals. But, according to NBC News, "Pentagon inspections of mess halls run by KBR are finding a mess in some of them...In the main Baghdad dining facility where President Bush surprised the troops on Thanksgiving, inspectors found filthy kitchen conditions in each of the three previous months." [Associated Press, 2/9/04, 3/17/04; Reuters, 2/23/04; NBC News, 12/12/03]

3. Oil and Gas Industry

What They Gave: In the 2000 election cycle, the oil and gas industry contributed over $26.5 million to Republicans, and over $1.8 million to George W. Bush's election campaign. 2000 Pioneer and longtime Bush associate Don Evans, former chairman of the oil company Tom Brown Inc., was appointed Secretary of the Commerce Department. At least a dozen industry officials were named to the transition teams at the Energy and Interior departments as well as the Environmental Protection Agency. [Center for Responsive Politics, www.crp.org; Bush's Campaign Ads...Brought To You By Special Interests, Public Citizen, 3/04]

What They Got: Bush Proposed Opening the Arctic Refuge and National Parks to Oil Companies. Bush said he advocated drilling in the environmentally sensitive Alaskan National Wildlife Reserve (ANWR). Bush also supports oil and gas drilling in protected national parks monuments and public lands in the Rocky Mountains. [Seattle Post Intelligencer, 12/24/03; LA Times, 12/24/03; Denver Post, 3/15/01; WP, 4/18/02; AP, 3/29/01]

American Petroleum Institute Gave "Wish List" To Energy Task Force. Nine days before Bush's inauguration, energy industry lobbyists gathered in the American Petroleum Institute's offices to make a "wish list" for the Bush energy plan. The list was forwarded to the Bush energy transition team, and eventually to the energy task force. According to the Washington Post, "A first review of the 11,000 pages of documents bolsters the contention of Democratic lawmakers and environmental groups that the Bush administration relied almost exclusively on the advice of executives from utilities and producers of oil, gas, coal and nuclear energy while a White House task force drafted recommendations that would vastly increase energy production." [Newsweek, 5/10/01; New York Times, 5/10/01; 5/20/01; USA Today, 5/14/01; ABC News, World News Tonight, 5/22/01; Washington Post, 5/17/01, 3/26/02]

4. Mining Industry

What They Gave: The mining industry gave over $5.6 million to Republicans through the 2000 election cycle. Bush alone received at least $300,000 from the mining industry. James H. "Buck" Harless, the 83-year-old West Virginia coal baron, described the Bush administration as "the most coal-friendly administration ever." Harless, a Pioneer in 2004 and 2000, is chairman of International Industries, a holding company with mining, timber, and other interests. He is also on the board of Massey Energy, a major Appalachian coal company that specializes in "mountaintop removal" mining and that has been targeted for protests by the United Mine Workers for its "disregard toward the environment, worker safety and the well-being of Appalachian coalfield communities." [Center for Responsive Politics; Bush's Campaign Ads...Brought To You By Special Interests, Public Citizen, 3/04]

What They Got: Bush Eased Mountaintop Mining Regulations; Allowed More Waste to Be Dumped in Local Waterways. Bush's EPA instituted regulations that would allow coal companies to pollute local streams and waterways with tons of dirt, rock and debris from mountaintop mining. "These are the changes that the mining industry wanted... They'll be allowed to dump more waste and more types of waste," said Daniel Rosenberg, a lawyer with the Natural Resources Defense Council. Carol Raulston, a spokeswoman for the National Mining Association, called the EPA's action "very helpful." [NY Times, 4/26/02; 5/5/02; WP, 5/10/02]

White House Energy Task Force Relied "Almost Exclusively" on Advice From Coal Utilities and Producers. According to the Washington Post, "A first review of the 11,000 pages of documents bolsters the contention of Democratic lawmakers and environmental groups that the Bush administration relied almost exclusively on the advice of executives from utilities and producers of oil, gas, coal and nuclear energy while a White House task force drafted recommendations that would vastly increase energy production." [Washington Post, 3/26/02]

5. Nuclear Industry

What They Gave: During the 2000 and 2002 election cycles, the owners and operators of nuclear power plants gave over $7.8 million to Bush, the RNC and GOP candidates and committees. [www.crp.org; Updated Nuclear Energy Institute of Nuclear Power Plant Operators and Owners, 4/5/01; www.tray.com]

What They Got: Bush Signed Bill to Store Nuclear Waste in Nevada's Yucca Mountain. On July 23, 2002, Bush signed a bill which formally adopted storing nuclear waste in Nevada's Yucca Mountain, a plan that was also adopted by both the House and Senate. Findings have revealed more than 30 earthquake faults in the Yucca Mountain vicinity and the possibility of groundwater contamination. The creation of a national nuclear waste depository at Yucca Mountain was opposed by Nevada's elected officials of both parities and a majority of Nevada's citizens. [www.lcv.org; San Francisco Chronicle, 1/30/01; Las Vegas Review-Journal, 2/9/01; Los Angeles Times, 7/24/02; Associated Press, 7/23/02]

Nuclear Power Industry Had Meeting With Energy Task Force COS, Rove, Lindsey, Cheney Started Discussing Nuclear Power Shortly After, Industry Credited Meeting. In mid-March 2001, a cadre of seven nuclear power executives sought and won an hour-long White House meeting with Karl Rove, Lawrence Lindsey, the president's top economic adviser, Andrew Lundquist, executive director of Vice President Dick Cheney's energy task force, and others involved in devising the energy plan. Recalling the meeting, Christian H. Poindexter, chairman of the Constellation Energy Group said, "We said, 'Look, we are an important player on this energy team and here are our vital statistics, and we think that you should start talking about nuclear when you talk about increasing the nation's supply...It was shortly after that, as a matter of fact I think the next night, when the vice president was being interviewed on television, he began to talk about nuclear power for the first time," Poindexter said. According to Time, the nuclear power industry "got major endorsements in the task-force report." [Time, 2/11/02; New York Times, 5/23/01]

What They Stand to Get: Proposed Rule Change Would Allow Nuclear Waste to be Stored in Ordinary Landfills. The EPA has proposed a rule change that would permit radioactive waste, including refuse and soil from decommissioned nuclear power plants and weapons manufacturing plants, to be disposed of in landfills not designed for nuclear waste. "They [the nuclear industry] can save a lot of money if their waste doesn't have to go to a facility designed to safely contain it," said Daniel Hirsch, president of the Committee to Bridge the Gap, a nuclear watchdog group. The notice was developed with significant cooperation and coordination from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission over 18 months. [WP, 11/18/03; AP, 11/17/03; Nuclear Policy Research Institute Press Release, 11/17/03; Public Citizen, www.citizen.org]

6. Wall Street

What They Gave: Nearly one in five 2004 Rangers and Pioneers comes from the financial sector. This group of 73 bankers, stockbrokers and private investors bundled at least $10.8 million for the Bush campaign so far in the 2004 cycle. Six Wall Street firms, Merrill Lynch, UBS Americas, Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse First Boston, Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns, accounted for six of the top 10 companies whose employees donated the most to Bush in 2004. [Bush's Campaign Ads...Brought To You By Special Interests, Public Citizen, 3/04]

What They Got: Bush Eliminated Taxes on Dividend Income. The centerpiece of Bush's economic plan was a provision to eliminate the amount of tax paid by individuals on stock dividends. The cost of this measure would be $20 billion in 2003 and $364 billion over ten years. However, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reported, "Nearly two-thirds of the benefits of exempting corporate dividends from the individual income tax would flow to the top five percent of the population, because these taxpayers own the lion's share of stocks." [CBPP Fact Sheet, 1/6/03, www.cbpp.org/1-6-03tax.htm; White House Fact Sheet, 1/7/03]

Bush Cut Capital Gains Tax. Another aspect of the Bush economic plan cut the capital gains tax. However, the Congressional Budget Office offered an analysis of various stimulus proposals and found that a capital gains tax cut received the lowest rating of a "small" bang for the buck. [CBO, Economic Stimulus: Evaluating Proposed Changes in Tax Policy, January 2002; New York Times, 9/26/01]

Bush's Corporate Responsibility Plan Did Not Go Far Enough to Prevent Corporate Wrongdoing. Bush's ten-point corporate responsibility plan, which was largely based on proposals already made by Bush's SEC chairman, did not do enough to reform oversight of corporate America. Lawmakers of both parties had introduced more than 30 corporate responsibility bills that exceeded Bush's proposals by the time he made them. Bush's plan lacked tough penalties for corporate fraud and did not even go as far as proposals floated by Treasury Secretary O'Neill such as allowing CEO's to be prosecuted for negligence instead of recklessness. [Bloomberg News, 3/8/02; Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 3/8/02]

What They Stand to Get: The Financial Industry Has Endorsed "Personal Savings Accounts." The financial industry also heartily has endorsed plans put forward by the Bush Treasury Department to create "retirement savings accounts" and "lifetime savings accounts," which are being sold as simpler alternatives for average citizens than the existing alphabet soup of traditional retirement options. These proposals -- declared "a top priority" by the Securities Industry Association -- would further shield capital gains from taxes and allow Wall Street to cherry pick the wealthiest clients. [Bush's Campaign Ads...Brought To You By Special Interests, Public Citizen, 3/04; Washington Post, 12/6/03]

7. Pharmaceutical Industry

What They Gave: Pharmaceutical Industry Gave Nearly $1.4 Million to Bush in 2000. The pharmaceutical industry gave nearly $1.4 million to Bush in 2000 and nearly $450,000 directly to his campaign and $950,000 to his inaugural fund. [Center For Responsive Politics, www.crp.org]

What They Got: Bush Medicare Policy Grab Bag for Corporate Special Interests. The Administration plan is larded with perks for private companies that increase the cost of Medicare and hurt seniors. The legislation made it illegal for Medicare bargain over price with drug companies, which will add an additional $139 billion in corporate profits to the cost of the bill, according to Ben Peck of the Medicare Rights Center. Bush and GOP leaders overrode a majority in the House to block the re-importation of cheaper drugs from Canada, which would have cut 40 to 60 percent off the cost. [NY Times, 2/3/04; The Hill, 11/19/03; The Times Union, 12/12/03; USA Today, 11/25/03]

Bush's Medicare Plan Made it Illegal for the Government to Negotiate the Price of Prescription Drugs. An analysis by Goldman Sachs & Co. found that prohibiting the government from negotiating the price of prescription drugs would increase pharmaceutical industry revenue by an estimated $13 billion a year. [Medicare Rights Center, 11/7/03; Washington Post, 11/21/03]

Medicare Plan Would Give $89 Billion in Subsidies to Big Business. Bush and the GOP Congressional leadership inserted $89 billion to subsidize employer's health costs to allay concerns about the potential of employers to drop drug coverage for retirees. Despite this, the Congressional Budget Office predicted that 2.7 million seniors would be dumped by their employers. [USA Today, 11/25/03; National Journal, 1/21/04; Kaiser Family Foundation, 1/14/04, www.kff.org]

8. Chemical Industry

What They Gave: Chemical Industry Insiders Raised at Least $500,000 for Bush. As of July 1999, chemical industry insiders raised at least $500,000 in presidential campaign cash for Bush. In July 1999, Bush released the names of 114 "Pioneers," or individuals who have raised at least $100,000 each for Bush's presidential campaign. From this list, five individuals were directly tied to the chemical industry: [Bush Press Release, 7/19/99]

What They Got: Chemical Industry Insider Said Bush Presidency Will Give Them "Access" to White House. The chemical industry insider said in 1999 that then-candidate Bush would give them "access" to the White House. According to Bush Pioneer Fred Webber, who is also the president and CEO of the Chemical Manufacturers Association, a Bush presidency would give the chemical industry "Access to a leader that's ready, willing, and able to listen." [Chemical Week, 8/4/99]

Bush Administration Succumbed to Industry Pressure in Overseeing Plant Security. A Government Accounting Office report released in March 2003 noted that even though US chemical facilities were "attractive targets for terrorists," the ability of any facility to respond to an attack was "unknown." GAO found that the chemical industry was not required by law to assess vulnerabilities or take action to secure their facilities, and that "the federal government has not comprehensively assessed the chemical industry's vulnerabilities to terrorist attacks."

GAO also found that because "no agency monitors or documents the extent to which chemical facilities have implemented security measures... federal, state, and local entities lack comprehensive information on" vulnerabilities. The GAO found that the EPA would not use its regulatory power to police the chemical industry due to "concerns... [of a] significant litigation risk." The Richmond Times Dispatch reported on the EPA's concerns noting, "The Environmental Protection Agency recently tried to impose stricter security standards on chemical manufacturers, but it backed down after the industry balked." [GAO, Voluntary Initiatives Are Under Way at Chemical Facilities, but the Extent of Security Preparedness Is Unknown, March 2003; Richmond Times Dispatch, 3/23/03]

9. Insurance Industry

What They Gave: Insurance Industry Contributed Heavily to Bush. The insurance industry supported Bush heavily in 2000, and it is doing so again in 2004. The industry was the No. 10 contributor of hard money to the Bush campaign, giving over $1.6 million and includes 14 Pioneers. So far in 2004 the industry has given over $2 million and producing eight Pioneers and four Rangers. [Bush's Campaign Ads...Brought To You By Special Interests, Public Citizen, 3/04]

What They Got: Major Bush Contributor Makes $500 Million on Health Savings Accounts Provisions in Medicare Bill. Health Savings Accounts were originally pioneered as Medical Savings Accounts that were pushed through the Republican Congress in 1996. A large part of that initial success can be attributed to J. Patrick Rooney, chairman emeritus of Golden Rule Insurance Co., one of the major providers of HSAs. In their 10 year campaign to promote the accounts, Rooney's family, companies and employees have given $3.6 million to political candidates and committees, with 90 percent going to Republicans. Rooney and his companies gave another $2.2 million to Republican organizations, including $121,000 to help Bush during the Florida recount. Rooney sold Golden Rule just days before the Medicare bill passed to UnitedHealth Group for $500 million in cash. UnitedHealth Group's stock rose 9 percent shortly after the sale. [Bush's Campaign Ads...Brought To You By Special Interests, Public Citizen, 3/04; Mother Jones, March 2004]

Discount Drugs Crafted to Benefit Bush Financial Backer. When Medicare issues discount prescription cards in June 2004, the David Halbert-owned AdvancePCS will be in a position to profit handsomely from the government contract. Halbert, "a longtime friend and contributor to several of Bush's campaigns, helped craft the portion of the Medicare bill that allows seniors to buy discount drug cards." "Before starting what would become AdvancePCS, David Halbert helped clean up a deal with Harken Energy that had prompted an SEC investigation of George W. Bush," according to the Fort Worth Star Tribune. Bush was an initial investor in AdvancePCS and earned $1 million from the sale of stock in the company in 1998. Halbert negotiated the merger of AdvancePCS with Caremark Rx this spring, due in large part to the potential market for discount cards, allowing him to garner a personal profit of $200 million. [Boston Globe, 12/12/03; Fort Worth Star Tribune, 8/12/02; Center for Public Integrity, 4/4/00; Drug Week, 3/12/04]

Companies Are Already Cashing In; Adjusting Financial Statements to Show Billions in Savings. Within the past few weeks, a handful of large companies have reported they expect to collectively save more than $2.5 billion over time, thanks to the new government subsidy for employers that offer prescription-drug benefits to retirees. A survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation taken before the Medicare legislation found that in 2003 over seven in ten (71 percent) large employers increased retirees' share of premiums and one in ten eliminated health benefits for future retirees. Among large employers a further 86 percent expected to increase premium contributions for retirees and 75 percent expected to raise deductibles over the next three years to control costs. [Wall Street Journal, 3/2/04; Kaiser Family Foundation, Retiree Health Benefits Survey 2003, www.kff.org]

Higher Costs of Medicare Drug Plan Due to Incentives for Private Plans. When lawmakers passed the Medicare Prescription Drug benefit, they were told that the bill included $14 billion in subsidies for HMOs and private insurers. Chief Medicare Actuary Richard Foster has now revealed that the Bush Administration was aware since June 2003 that the subsidies would actually cost $46 billion over the next ten years and the White House admitted this higher estimate with the release of its own numbers in late January 2004. [New York Times, 3/20/04, 2/2/04; AP, 3/23/04]

Bush Patient's Bill of Rights Would Benefit HMOs. The general council of a Los Angeles HMO admitted that the patients' bill of rights helps HMOs more than patients. "The plaintiff bar was finally figuring out how to get around Erisa. This new legislation stops that momentum and probably gives the HMO's more protection than they are losing," Alan D. Bloom of Maxicare Health Plans said. The Bush patient's bill of rights also allows suits to go to state court but imposes federal court rules on these cases. According to an analysis by Kaiser Family Foundation, "the House bill would permit such lawsuits in state courts only under new federal rules governing burden or proof and damage limits." [New York Times, 8/4/01; Kaiser Family Foundation, A Guide to the Federal Patients Bill of Rights Debate, www.kff.org, 08/01]

10. Logging Industry

What They Gave: During his 2000 presidential bid, Bush was the top recipient of donations from the forestry and forest products industry, receiving nearly $300,000. [Center for Responsive Politics, www.crp.org; Political Money Line, www.tray.com]

What They Got: Bush Overturned Roadless Rule in Tongass National Forest. In December 2003, the Bush Administration overturned the roadless rule in the largest national forest in the U.S., the Tongass National Forest in southeastern Alaska, thereby removing prohibitions on logging and mining in the forest. More than 2.5 million comments were submitted on the roadless rule during the six month public comment process and 98 percent of the comments submitted supported keeping the rule intact. [Associated Press, 1/15/04; Seattle Post Intelligencer, 12/24/03; LA Times, 12/24/03]

Bush Proposed Logging National Forests. On August 22, 2002, Bush proposed a policy for our national forests which would make it easier for timber companies to log and remove trees and brush from 190 million acres of the most "fire-prone forests" across the country. Bush asked the Departments of Agriculture and the Interior and his Council on Environmental Quality to authorize thinning projects on an emergency basis, as well as to find ways of rushing through environmental assessments. According to the Associated Press, Bush "also asked Congress to pass legislation 'that will ensure that vital forest restoration projects are not tied up in courts.'" [Associated Press, 8/22/02]

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