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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.

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    This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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