BUSH’S NEOCONS. George W. Bush promised a new fresh look to Washington. Once elected, he turned to the far right in his appointments. Bush surrounded himself with neoconservatives, many of whom had served his father and Ronald Reagan.

Bush’s neocons consisted of a small group of mostly Jewish liberal intellectuals who, in the 1960s and 70s, grew disenchanted with what they saw as the American left’s social excesses and reluctance to spend adequately on defense.

In the 1990s, neocons warned of the dangers of reducing both America’s defense spending and its role in the world. They favor a strong United States military. In the aftermath of 9/11, neocons favor American intervention to bring regime changes. The support the use of preemptory force if necessary.

In the Middle Eats, neocons support of Israel because of its geopolitical position in the Middle East and its democratic regime. They propose the democratic transformation of the region, starting with Iraq. They believe the United States must do to whatever it takes to end state-supported terrorism.

Neocons believe the United States military should be reconfigured around the world to allow for greater flexibility and quicker deployment to hot spots in the Middle East, as well as Central and Southeast Asia. The United States would spend more on defense, particularly for high-tech, precision weaponry that could be used in preemptive strikes. It would work through multilateral institutions such as the United Nations when possible, but must never be constrained from acting in its best interests whenever necessary.

Neocons envision a world in which the United States is the unchallenged superpower, immune to threats. They believe that the United Stets should maintain an empire by helping to create democratic governments in place of oppressive regimes. The entire Middle East should be democratized in an effort to eliminate terrorists.

Well before he was given the keys to the White House, conservative groups that supported Bush during his presidential campaign pressured him for appointments even before he was officially designated president-elect. They pushed for appointments of strong conservatives to lead key agencies, especially the departments of Justice and Health and Human Services. They lobbied Bush to hire the lower levels of the bureaucracy with people to the right in such key areas as family planning policy, welfare, and civil rights. And they were candid that they would not approve of appointments of Democrats -- even moderate Republicans -- to sensitive positions. If conservatives controlled even a few influential positions, they believed, many Clinton administration policies would be changed or reversed outright.

Social conservatives such as the National Right to Life Committee pushed Bush for more latitude in allowing churches to become government contractors, especially in the field of health and human services. They believed that Clinton accommodated abortion rights advocates by refusing to accept any limits on abortion rights. Gary Bauer commented, “We will expect Bush to repeal a number of pro-abortion and pro-gay-rights executive orders that Clinton issued in his first few weeks in office.” Bauer and other anti-abortion activists said that Bush should move early to block funding for overseas family planning organizations that actively promoted abortion.

The Christian Right and anti-abortion groups called on Bush to encourage the Food and Drug Administration to reconsider its previous approval of RU-486. They also lobbied Bush to change the Clinton administration policy that had made it possible for federally funded scientists to do research on stem cells derived from human embryos. Similarly, conservative groups hoped that Bush would back policies that would block physician-assisted suicide laws.

Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform and a leading conservative activist, said in the Los Angeles Times (December 8, 2000), “Most people are focusing on fumigating the Justice Department.” He castigated the Clinton administration, claiming that Attorney General Janet Reno was part of one of the most “corrupted” agencies. Other conservative groups focused on judicial policy, from the appointment of new federal judges to constitutional and statutory enforcement issues. They called on the Bush administration to take a more hands-off policy toward filing lawsuits against private interests. For instance, they hoped that the new Justice Department would drop the government’s lawsuit against the five major tobacco companies. Bruce Josten, vice president for government relations at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, was quoted in the Los Angeles Times (December 8, 2000): “The tobacco suit will be dead if Bush is in there. He’ll say the role of the Department of Justice is not to initiate lawsuits like that.” They also pressed the White House for new leaders throughout the Justice Department who would curtail affirmative action policies and refrain from expanding civil rights laws, such as the hate crimes law that Clinton had been trying to enlarge to cover sexual orientation, gender, and disability

Other key Justice Department appointments were those for solicitor general who makes decisions on which cases to take to the United States Supreme Court, and the assistant attorney general for civil rights. Conservatives were also eager to see more rigorous enforcement of child pornography laws by the Child Exploitation and Obscenity section of the Justice Department.

Many conservative wealthy donors also pressured Bush who had raised a record-shattering $100 million war chest. According to the New York Times (December 20, 2000), the top donors included Kenneth Lay, chief executive officer of the Houston-based energy giant Enron Corporation who was originally in the running to be Bush’s treasury secretary; California venture capitalist E. Floyd Kvamme; and Michael Carvin, the lawyer who represented Bush during the recount case in the Florida Supreme Court.

Enron and its employees gave more money to Bush’s various campaigns than anyone else, according to the Center for Public Integrity. Kvamme gave $1,000 to Bush’s campaign, Federal Election Commission records showed. He and his wife donated $50,000 each this year to the Republican National Committee’s state elections committee. Carvin, a former deputy attorney general in the Justice Department during the Reagan administration, gave $1,000. He and two other attorneys from Carvin’s Washington-based law firm, Cooper, Carvin & Rosenthal, PLLC, were named to the Justice advisory team.

Other top contributors included Reverend Floyd Flake, a former Democratic congressman once considered a candidate to be Bush’s education secretary; and National Urban League President Hugh B. Price, who gave $1,000 to Democrat Gore’s presidential campaign. Flake and Price were appointed to serve on the education committee.

During the campaign, Bush had promised to bring a fresh look to Washington. He had boasted that he was an “outsider” and not tied to special interest groups in the capitol. But as it turned out, an overwhelming percentage of his staff was composed of Washington “insiders.” And those who were not, a high percentage were his Texas cronies. Forty-three percent of the president’s appointments included officials who had worked in his father’s administration. Thirty-one percent had served in the Reagan administration.

Bush stressed throughout Campaign 2000 that, if elected president, he would select a diverse Cabinet. His picks included four women, a Cuban-American, two Blacks, a Japanese-American, a Lebanese-American, a Chinese-American, and a Democrat. Bush’s choices for top posts in his administration signaled his intent to run a government by his Cabinet, delegating more authority than usual to executives whose reputations were made years before Bush first ran for office.

A Washington Post/ABC News poll revealed that an overwhelming majority of Americans, almost two-thirds, believed that President Bush “cares more about protecting the interests of large business corporations” than “protecting the interests of ordinary working people.” (Boston Globe, May 14, 2001)


CHENEY THE DRAFT DODGER. In February 1962, when Cheney was classified as 1-A available for service he was doing poorly at Yale. But he seemed to have little concern about being drafted during the Vietnam War. In June, he left Yale and returned home to Casper, Wyoming where he worked as a lineman for a power company.

In 1962, only 82,060 men were inducted into the service, the fewest since 1949. Cheney was eligible for the draft but, as he said during his confirmation hearings in 1989, he was not called up because the Selective Service System was taking only older men.

Cheney enrolled in Casper Community College in January 1963 he turned 22 that month and sought his first student deferment on March 20. After transferring to the University of Wyoming at Laramie, he sought his second student deferment on July 23, 1963.

On August 7, 1964, Congress approved the Tonkin Resolution to allow President Lyndon Johnson unlimited military force in Vietnam, and so the war escalated rapidly.

Just 22 days later, Cheney married his high school sweetheart, Lynne, and on October 14 he received his third student deferment.

In May 1965, Mr. Cheney graduated from college and his draft status changed to 1-A. But he was married, which offered him some protection.

In July, President Johnson announced that he was doubling the number of men drafted. The number of inductions soared, to 382,010 in 1966 from 230,991 in 1965 and 112,386 in 1964. Cheney obtained his fourth deferment when he started graduate school at the University of Wyoming on November 1, 1965.

On October 6, 1965, the Selective Service lifted its ban against drafting married men who had no children. Nine months and two days later, Cheney’s first daughter, Elizabeth, was born. On January 19, 1966, when his wife was about 10 weeks pregnant, Cheney applied for 3-A status, the “hardship” exemption, which excluded men with children or dependent parents. It was granted.

In January 1967, Cheney turned 26 and was no longer eligible for the draft.

CHENEY’S BACKGROUND. Bush reached back to his father’s days when he appointed Dick Cheney as his vice president. In 1989, the elder Bush appointed Cheney his Secretary of Defense. Almost immediately, Cheney paid Texas-based Brown & Root Services (BRS) $3.9 million to produce a classified report detailing how private companies could help provide logistics for American troops in potential war zones around the world. BRS specializes in such work. From 1962 to 1972, the company worked in the former South Vietnam building roads, landing strips, harbors, and military bases. Later in 1992, the Pentagon gave the company an additional $5 million to update its report. That same year, BRS won a massive, five-year logistics contract from the United States Army Corps of Engineers to work alongside American GIs in places like Zaire, Haiti, Somalia, Kosovo, the Balkans, and Saudi Arabia.

A multi-million dollar lawsuit marred Cheney’s career while serving in the Defense Department. As head of the Pentagon under the elder Bush, he canceled a contract for a jet program without following the proper legal procedures, and then he gave inconsistent testimony about the decision which could have exposed the government to billions of dollars in judgments.

The controversy began in 1988 when the Navy contracted with the Boeing and General Dynamics to build the A-12, which was to be a “stealthy” jet that would take off from aircraft carriers. Although the other stealthy warplane of that period, the B-2, was suffering colossal cost overruns, the Pentagon insisted the A-12 work be built by the two aerospace giants under a fixed-price contract. But the A-12 soon hit technical snags, especially in mastering the art of stealth. The two firms overspent their budgets, and deadlines were missed. But officials of the Navy and the firms mostly reported up the chain of command that all was well. Finally, on the eve of the Gulf War, Cheney made the decision to cancel the program, leading to 20,000 defense layoffs. Some Navy officials projected that it compromised naval air power for years.

Author James Stevenson (The $5 Billion Misunderstanding) documented several warnings that Cheney received about the A-12’s $1 billion overruns and schedule problems. According to Stevenson, “He (Cheney) was given numerous warnings, and he either heard them or he didn’t. If he didn’t, he was a manager asleep at the switch. If he did, he made misleading comments to Congress.”

Cheney denied at trial in 1996 that he had ordered the termination. But according to the judge and as reported in the Washington Post (August 7, 2000), he acknowledged doing so in a letter to President Bush on January 4, 1991. Cheney testified: “The A-12, I did terminate. ... No one could tell me how much the program was going to cost. ... Data that had been presented at one point a few months ago turned out to be invalid. ...So after agonizing over it, I made a decision to shut down the program.”

In his decision, the trial judge, Robert Hodges Jr. of the United States Court of Federal Claims, raised the possibility that Cheney misstated events when he played down his role in the killing of the A-12 contract. Friends of Cheney vehemently denied that allegation, and Cheney himself has refused comment. After he terminated the A-12 bomber, a federal judge ruled that the United States government had to compensate two defense contractors $2 billion. General Dynamics and Boeing were the two plaintiffs in the civil suit that generated 70 million pages, half of which were highly classified. Later, an appeals court overturned the decision on technical grounds and a retrial was scheduled. (New York Times, February 8, 2001)

In his 1996 opinion, Hodges noted the following:

In court, Cheney “stated repeatedly ... that his decision with regard to the A-12 was only to deny” additional funds to extend the contract and termination was left to the Navy.

In a January 4, 1991 letter to the president, Cheney focused on his role in assessing the contractors’ performance, saying “we may have little choice but to terminate the contract due to the companies’ default on the contract obligations. ... If I conclude that it is necessary to terminate the A-12 program due to the contractors’ failure to perform, the department will pursue other more affordable approaches.”

In testimony before the House Armed Services Committee in 1991, Cheney stated, “The A-12, I did terminate.” Months later before the Senate, Cheney attempted to clarify his position, saying, “Technically what happened ... I made the decision not ... to bail out the contracts. ... The Navy then made the decision to terminate the contract.”

In his June 30, 1993 deposition, Cheney apparently took responsibility for the termination for default when he said that he agreed with an inspector general's recommendation. “They recommended termination for default, which is what I ultimately did.”

Cheney later changed his deposition on advice from government lawyers to read: “We recommended termination for default which what we ultimately did.”

THE IRAQI CONNECTION. As Secretary of Defense in the first Bush administration, Cheney helped to oversee a multinational coalition against Iraq in the Gulf War in 1991. He also was instrumental in piecing together an economic embargo to isolate Hussein’s government.

After Clinton’s election cost Cheney his government job, he wound up in 1995 as CEO of Halliburton -- which just happened to own BRS. Since then, he made millions running a business that provided services to that same military. That business contributed $250,000 to the Republican cause in the first half of 2000. According to the New York Times (July 31, 2000), Cheney collected more than $10 million in salary and stock payments from the company. In addition, he was the company’s largest individual shareholder, holding stock and options worth another $40 million. Those holdings undoubtedly became more valuable by the lucrative contracts which BRS had with the Pentagon.

Between 1992 and 1999, the Pentagon paid BRS more than $1.2 billion for its work in trouble spots around the globe. In May of 1999, the United States Army Corps of Engineers re-enlisted the company’s help in the Balkans, giving it a new five year contract worth $731 million. Cheney’s work for Halliburton allowed him to improperly profit off of actions he took and contacts he made while in government. According to Tom Smith, “Over the years, we’ve tried to slow the revolving door to make sure decision makers don’t benefit from decisions they make while they are in office. “You have to question whose interests Cheney is looking after, and whether privatization has really benefited the Department of Defense, or the defense contractors like Brown & Root.” (New York Times, July 31, 2000)

The Washington Post (July 29, 2000) quoted Pratap Chatterjee, a radio journalist. Claiming that Cheney used his contacts within government to enrich himself, Chatterjee said, “We are talking about nepotism of the highest order and profiteering at the expense of the US taxpayers.” Chatterjee pointed out that BRS got a one percent profit guarantee on their logistics contracts and that in Somalia, the company was given another eight percentage points for meeting various incentive clauses in their contract. Chatterjee added, “Compare that with average corporate profit percentages, which are about three percent.”

The oilfield-services company that Cheney headed before he became vice-president had far more extensive financial dealings with Iraq than he earlier had acknowledged, the Washington Post (June 23, 2001) reported. During the 2000 presidential campaign, Cheney acknowledged that Halliburton while he was the company’s CEO, did business with Libya and Iran through foreign subsidiaries. But he insisted that he had imposed a “firm policy” against trading with Iraq. Halliburton’s dealings with Iraq were first reported in the Washington Post in February 2000.

Despite promising to maintain a hard line against Baghdad, Cheney also oversaw Halliburton’s acquisition of Dresser Industries in 1998. The firm exported equipment to Iraq through two subsidiaries of a joint venture with another large American equipment maker, Ingersoll-Rand. Citing United Nations records and oil-industry executives, the Washington Post reported that the two subsidiaries -- Dresser-Rand and Ingersoll Dresser Pump Company -- had contracts to sell $73 million in oil-production equipment and spare parts to Iraq. The firms sold water, spare parts, and sewage treatment pumps for oil facilities to Baghdad through French affiliates from the first half of 1997 to mid-2000. (Washington Post, June 23, 2001)

Two former senior executives of the Halliburton subsidiaries said that, as far as they knew, there was no policy against doing business with Iraq. One of the executives also said that although he never spoke directly to Cheney about the Iraqi contracts, he was certain Cheney knew about them. According to Cleive Dumas, who oversaw Ingersoll Dresser Pump’s business in the Middle East that included Iraq, “Halliburton and Ingersoll-Rand, as far as I know, had no official policy about that, other than we would be in compliance with applicable U.S. and international laws.” In addition. James Perrella, Ingersoll-Rand's former chairman, Halliburton’s primary concern “was that if we did business with (the Iraqi regime), that it be allowed by the United States government. If it wasn’t allowed, we wouldn’t do it.”(Washington Post, June 23, 2001)

Dumas and Perrella said their companies’ commercial links to the Iraqi oil industry began before the United Nations Security Council imposed an oil embargo on Baghdad. They returned to dealing with Iraq after the council established the “oil-for-food” program in December 1996, permitting Iraq to export oil under United Nations supervision and use the proceeds to buy food, medicine, and humanitarian goods. The program was expanded in 1998 to allow Iraq to import spare parts for its oil facilities. The Halliburton subsidiaries joined dozens of American and foreign oil supply companies that helped Iraq increase its crude exports from $4 billion in 1997 to nearly $18 billion in 2000.

According to the Washington Post, Cheney offered contradictory accounts of how much he knew about Halliburton's dealings with Iraq. In a July 30, 2000, interview on ABC-TV’s “This Week,” he denied that Halliburton or its subsidiaries traded with Baghdad. Cheney said, “I had a firm policy that we wouldn’t do anything in Iraq, even arrangements that were supposedly legal. We’ve not done any business in Iraq since U.N. sanctions were imposed on Iraq in 1990, and I had a standing policy that I wouldn’t do that.” (Washington Post, June 23, 2001)

However, Cheney changed his tune three weeks later on the same program three weeks later, after he was informed that a Halliburton spokesman had acknowledged that Dresser Rand and Ingersoll Dresser Pump traded with Iraq. Cheney said that he was unaware that the subsidiaries were doing business with the Iraqi regime when Halliburton purchased Dresser Industries in September 1998. He said, “We inherited two joint ventures with Ingersoll-Rand that were selling some parts into Iraq, but we divested ourselves of those interests.” (Washington Post, June 23, 2001)

The divestiture, however, was not immediate. The firms traded with Baghdad for more than a year under Cheney, signing nearly $30 million in contracts before he sold Halliburton’s 49 percent stake in Ingersoll Dresser Pump Company in December 1999 and its 51 percent interest in Dresser Rand to Ingersoll-Rand in February 2000, according to United Nations records.

In trying to defend Cheney, his spokeswoman, Juleanna Glover Weiss, said that the two companies were joint ventures operated by Dresser at the time it was taken over by Halliburton, and Halliburton sold the units “as soon as it was legally feasible.” Weiss also said, “The vice-president never wanted any company under his control to do business with Iraq, even if that business was allowed under the oil-for-food program. ... Halliburton divested itself as soon as it was legally feasible.” And she added that the contracts themselves were “perfectly legal.” (Washington Post, June 23, 2001)

Mary Matalin, Cheney’s adviser, was quoted by the Washington Post as saying that if he “was ever in a conversation or meeting where there was a question of pursuing a project with someone in Iraq, he would say: ‘No.’ ” She said, “In a joint venture, he would not have reviewed all their existing contracts. The nature of those joint ventures was that they had a separate governing structure, so he had no control over them.”

BUSINESS IN ASIA AND AFRICA. While Cheney was CEO at Halliburton, American diplomats in Asia and Africa worked aggressively to help the oil giant secure lucrative overseas contracts, according to State Department memos released in the New York Times (October 27, 2000). The State Department memos were secured by the New York Times under the Freedom of Information Act, showing that American overseas personnel worked aggressively and eagerly to help Halliburton land contracts in Angola, Bangladesh, Algeria, Russia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, and elsewhere.

In an Angolan oil deal, State Department officials there boasted in a cable to Secretary of State Albright in 1998 that they had “literally camped out” at local government, banking, and oil-industry offices,” in an attempt to obtain the “transfer of funds" on behalf of Halliburton. The cable continued: “The bottom line: thousands of America jobs and a foot in the door for Halliburton to win even bigger contracts.” American officials said that they had “worked systematically to remove the barriers” to financing Halliburton’s deal through the Export-Import Bank. The cable said that officials were able to help establish a special corporate structure for Halliburton’s work in the country that “may serve as a model for even greater export financing deals” being developed by other companies.”

In Bangladesh, where Halliburton wanted to begin tapping a gas field in which it had a stake, American officials lobbied on the company’s behalf with Bangladeshi officials. And in Russia, a Halliburton executive met with United States embassy officials in Moscow to search for ways to navigate the troubled Russian economy. If companies such as Halliburton could not work out financing schemes with Russian oil companies, they “risk being beaten to the punch when Russian companies are ready and able to start paying again,” one State Department cable warned.

CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION OF HALLIBURTON. In October 2000, the oil giant received more bad news. It was announced that Halliburton was under criminal investigation for allegedly defrauding the federal government out of millions of dollars in the closure of the Fort Ord, California military base. According to the New York Times (October 26, 2000), the probe was triggered by Dammen Gant Campbell, a former manager of Brown & Root Services Corporation which is a subsidiary of Halliburton. Campbell filed a whistle-blower lawsuit alleging that the engineering company billed the government for high-quality goods but substituted lesser-quality materials in its Northern California work.

Brown & Root landed a major contract after the military decided to close the 28,000-acre Fort Ord compound in 1994 as part of a wave of peace-time base closures. Brown & Root helped convert the Monterey base to government and civilian uses. But Campbell, who worked on the Fort Ord project, alleged in a federal lawsuit that the company engaged in “a scheme to defraud the government” by inflating and fabricating its billings from 1995 to about 1997. According to Campbell’s attorney, Daniel Schrader, the overbillings could add up to $6 million. If Campbell could prove his case in court, he would be entitled to 15 percent to 30 percent of the damages under the Federal False Claims Act of 1986 -- with the remainder going to the federal government.

Schrader alleged that Brown & Root inflated its billings by promising high-quality material and services, then using cheaper products. For example Schrader said that inspections of a converted office building revealed that Brown & Root had promised to use cast-iron plumbing and sheet metal heat-ducts but used much less costly materials. Key to the civil and criminal cases, Schrader said, would be determining whether top executives at Brown & Root and Halliburton were aware of the problems. “How far up the chain was it going? Who was ordering this?”" Schrader asked in the New York Times interview.

HALLIBURTON STOCK OPTIONS. The New York Times (October 25, 2000) reported that Cheney made nearly $46,000 on stock investments in the summer of 1999 -- for an 80 percent return -- by gaining access to nine initial public offerings for technology companies. During the October 5 vice presidential debate, Cheney claimed that “the government had absolutely nothing to do” with the wealth that he achieved in the private sector as head of the company.

But Mark Fabiani, Gore’s deputy campaign director, said in an interview in the New York Times, “The evidence is now clear that Dick Cheney is a hypocrite. He not only relied on the government for contracts but he also used his government connections to win business. I know what he said during the debate before millions of people, and now we know it’s not true.” Fabiani said that such business dealings should raise suspicions in voters’ minds. “The work of his company is now under federal grand jury investigation . . . and he received special ... treatment not available to average Americans when he got access to those initial public offerings.” (New York Times, October 25, 2000)

Since joining Halliburton in 1995, Cheney was paid at least $12.5 million and received stock and options worth nearly $39 million at its current share price. On the very day that Cheney accepted the vice-presidential post, the board of directors of Halliburton approved a retirement package worth an estimated $20 million, according to the New York Times (August 12, 2000). Cheney already owned 229,000 shares of Halliburton and had the option to buy 1.16 million shares at a price ranging from $21 to $54.50. Now the oil giant gave him a windfall for retiring -- 400,000 options and 140,000 shares.

But Cheney found himself in a quandary. The “compassionate conservative” would have to make a painful choice if the GOP ticket were to win in November. He would be compelled to surrender his options, since ownership of Halliburton stock would create a conflict of interest. By permitting Cheney to treat his departure as early retirement, the directors allowed him to keep $10 million worth of stock and options he would have forfeited had he simply resigned. Under Halliburton’s stock option plan, 233,334 of the options, representing $3.4 million at the time he got the vice-presidential nomination, could not be exercised before he were elected. Halliburton would not allow him to sell or transfer stock options, according to Newsweek (August 28, 2000) because it did not want “to take any sort of special actions that would be accorded to just one individual.” As a result, he would have to either abandon the holding or keep it until after the November general election, thus giving him a large stake in the future of Halliburton while he would serve as vice president. The chief financial officer of Halliburton, Gary Morris told the New York Times (August 17, 2000) that under the stock option plan, there was no way for Cheney to transfer the options, such as by giving them to a charity, before they were exercised. Halliburton said that it would report an $8.5 million expense as a result of Cheney’s departure. Morris said that the expense covered the value of the options and the restricted stock that had not yet vested before Cheney retired.

The Washington Post (September 13, 2000) reported that Cheney made an $18.5 million profit by exercising stock options in Halliburton. He exercised options to buy 660,000 shares in the Dallas-based company at prices between $21 and $29.56 during the week of August 21 through 28. During that same period, he sold the Halliburton shares at between $52.28 and $53.93 a share.

In late August 2000, Cheney appeared on a Sunday television talk show and said that he should not be required “to give away all my assets” in order to return to public life. But then on September 1, he announced that he would give up millions of dollars worth of stock options if the GOP ticket won in November. That meant that he would forfeit 233,000 shares of future stock options worth about $3.7 million, that would be available to him only after the inauguration.

After Cheney was tapped as the vice presidential nominee, the Republican National Committee collected almost $800,000 in unregulated soft money donations from energy companies in the last week of July 2000 alone. Some of the companies had not given any soft money this year until Cheney joined the ticket. The $791,100 in energy contributions during the last week of July were part of the $25.2 million in soft money donations the RNC took in during all of July -- half as much as they raised during the previous six months. The party took in 86 donations of $100,000 or more.

The Bushes income for 2000 amounted to $894,880, and they paid $240,342, or 26.9 percent, in taxes. The Cheneys reported income of $36,086,635, on which they paid $14,295,058 in federal income taxes, or 39.6 percent. Most of the Bushes’ income came from interest earned on his profits from the sale of his investment in the Texas Rangers baseball team in 1998, while the Cheneys’ income included the closing out of his accounts at Halliburton where he was chief executive until he resigned to run for vice president.

THE VICE PRESIDENT’S MANSION. After Cheney moved into his 33-room mansion owned by the United States Naval Observatory, he requested the Navy to pay for his escalating utility bills. If approved by Congress, this would spare the vice president an estimated $142,590 in 2001 out of the $300,000-a-year budget for the vice presidential mansion. One feature of the estate was that there was constant hot water in the pipes throughout the house hot -- so that even faucets far removed from water heaters instantly produce hot water. For that reason, at least in part, the mansion’s energy bills rose from $83,811 in fiscal year 1999 to $136,465 in fiscal year 2000, according to House Appropriations Committee documents. (Los Angeles Times, July 18, 2001)

Senior Cheney staffers played down the funding request, characterizing it as the completion of a simple accounting change begun under the Clinton-Gore administration. They noted that the Cheneys were consuming less energy than the Gores, who had several teenage children living at the house during their tenure. Mary Matalin, counselor to the vice president, said, “Cheney had zero to do with this. The vice president and Mrs. Cheney are not sitting at their breakfast table determining how these accounts are handled.” John Scofield, a spokesman for Republicans on the panel, said energy consumption at the vice president’s mansion is down by an estimated 30 percent with the Cheneys as occupants, as compared with a like period with the Gores as occupants. But Democrats criticized the Cheneys’ life style. Terry McAuliffe, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said the administration’s request “shows a staggering insensitivity to the economic hardships facing working families.” (Los Angeles Times, July 18, 2001)

THE CHENEY-SCALIA CONNECTION. In 2001, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was the guest of a Kansas law school and went pheasant hunting on a trip arranged by the school’s dean, Stephen R. McAllister. Just two weeks before, Scalia sat on the bench as he heard two cases in which the dean was a lead attorney and the state attorney general also represented the state. The cases involved issues of public policy important to Kansas officials, in which Scalia sided with Kansas in both cases. (Los Angeles Times, February 27, 2004)

Accompanying Scalia on the November 2001 hunting trip were the Kansas governor and a retired state Senate president, who flew with Scalia to the hunting camp aboard a state plane. (Los Angeles Times, February 27, 2004)

In January 2004, Vice President Cheney and Scalia spent part of one-week duck hunting together at a private camp in southern Louisiana. The pair arrived January 5 on Gulfstream jets and was guests of Wallace Carline, the owner of Diamond Services Corporation, an oil services company in Amelia, Louisiana. (Los Angeles Times, February 17, 2004)

The hunting trip came just three weeks after the Supreme Court agreed to take up Cheney’s appeal in lawsuits over his handling of the administration's energy task force. This obviously raised doubts about Scalia’s ability to judge the case impartially. (Los Angeles Times, February 17, 2004)

In another conlict of interest case, Scalia addressed the $150-a-plate dinner hosted by the Urban Family Council two months after hearing oral arguments in a challenge to a Texas law that made sex between gays a crime. A month after the dinner, he sharply dissented from the Supreme Court’s decision overturning the Texas law. (Los Angeles Times, March 7, 2004)

The Urban Family Council, which hosted the dinner, was not a party to the Texas case. But it backed a separate lawsuit that sought to overturn a Philadelphia city ordinance allowing gay couples who worked for the city to register as “life partners” to qualify for pension and health benefits. (Los Angeles Times, March 7, 2004)

CHENEY’S POWERFUL POSITION. In 2007, Cheney inferred his office as vice president was not a part of the executive branch of the United States government, and therefore he was not bound by a presidential order governing the protection of classified information by government agencies. (ABC News, June 21, 2007)

For the first two years of the Bush administration, Cheney’s office complied with a presidential order that required officials to report statistics on the number of documents it classifies and declassifies. (ABC News, June 21, 2007)

Since 2003, however, Cheney’s office refused to submit the data to ISOO. When ISOO inspectors tried in 2004 to schedule a routine inspection of the vice president’s offices, they were rebuffed. Other White House offices, including the National Security Council, did not object to similar inspections. (ABC News, June 21, 2007)


Bush tapped Colin Powell to head the State Department. During his tour in Vietnam as an Army major, he played a direct role in suppressing the inquiry into the 1968 My Lai massacre and into related atrocities against civilians. He was assigned to the Americal Division as an executive officer. On March 16, 1968, troops from this division slaughtered more than 300 civilians in the hamlet of My Lai, and the massacre went unreported.

In December 1968, after Powell was promoted to operations officer at division headquarters, he was forwarded a letter written by Tom Glen, a former soldier. According to the The Nation (January 8, 2001), Glen criticized the American military for brutalizing civilians, torturing prisoners and for, “without provocation or justification,” shooting at “the people themselves.”

The New Republic reported in 1995 that Powell was told to check out these allegations. He interviewed a few officers and reported that there was nothing to Glen’s assertions. Powell refused to ask Glen for more specific information. Powell did not mention this inquiry in his 1995 memoir, An American Journey. However, he did recall the occasion in March 1969 when an Army investigator visited his office and asked to see the enemy-kill records of March 1968. Powell found a high number -- 128 -- for March 16 and read the number into the investigator’s tape recorder. In his autobiography, Powell noted that his “curiosity” was aroused by the investigator. But he did not pursue the matter.

During his tenure in Vietnam, Powell was decorated for his role in planning Operation Verno Lake. According to the military’s own records, 104 innocent civilians were killed because of this action.

In the 1980s, Powell served on Reagan’s national security team. He was the special military assistant to Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger from 1983 to 1986, then deputy national security adviser from late 1986 to 1987 and, after that, National Security Adviser. Throughout the Reagan years, the White House supported militaries in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras -- and the Contras in Nicaragua.

Through Weinberger, Powell learned of the illegal deal to supply arms to Iran in return for cash and the release of American hostages in Lebanon. In violation of Pentagon procedure, Powell secretly transferred missiles from the Army to the CIA. He helped to deceive Congress about selling weapons illegally to Iran in exchange for hostages. He knew fully well that profits from the arms’ sales were used to finance another illicit operation: the funding of the Contras in Nicaragua. In his autobiography, Powell noted that during his stint with Weinberger, he became “the chief administration advocate” for the Contras. Referring to the corruption of several Contra leaders, Powell wrote, “In the old days of East-West polarization, we worked with what we had.”

In 1987, independent counsel Lawrence Walsh asked Weinberger to hand over records regarding the Iran-Contra scandal. When questioned during the Iran-Contra hearings, Powell gave contradictory testimony that was described as “limited” and “misleading.” At one point in a sworn deposition he said, “The secretary (Weinberger), to my knowledge, did not keep a diary.” In 1991, Walsh discovered that Weinberger had written thousands of pages of diary notes--which included material contradicting his Iran-Contra testimony. A grand jury indicted Weinberger for concealing these records. Weinberger’s lawyers asked Powell for a sworn statement in which he would confirm that Weinberger had not treated these diaries as secret material that could be hidden from Walsh. Powell obliged and declared, “I observed on his desk a small pad of white paper, approximately 5' X 7'. He would jot down on this pad in abbreviated form various calls and events during the day. I viewed it as his personal diary.”

According to The Nation (January 8, 2001), this sworn affidavit contradicted Powell’s 1987 sworn statement. In his final report, Walsh concluded that Powell’s 1987 testimony was “at least misleading” and “designed to protect Weinberger.” But Walsh decided not to prosecute Powell. In his memoirs Powell claimed that he told the investigators in 1987 that Weinberger kept notes. However, Powell had not considered these papers to be a diary until they were shown to him in 1991. But in 1987 Powell had not stated that Weinberger kept specific notes. And Walsh produced evidence indicating that Powell had actually helped create Weinberger's daily diary entries.

A declassified memorandum showed that in 1987 Powell was upset by the prospect that Ross Perot might secure release of live American POWs from Vietnam. Instead of being elated by the prospect, he was nervous about the political and economic ramifications. (Los Angeles Times, February 13, 2001)


Condoleezza Rice served on Chevron’s board of directors from 1991 to 2000. Chevron had announced that it was naming an oil tanker after her, but the oil giant reversed itself in May 2001. She held at least $250,000 in Chevron stock and had an income in 2000 of more than $555,000. Rice said she had sold her Chevron stock and nearly all her other stocks.

During the four years that she served as National Security Advisor, Rice was engaged in several serious and unethical activities that bordered on illegality. Just days after she was sworn in as National Security Advisor in January 2001, she received an urgent memo from chief White House expert on terrorism Richard Clarke. In the memo, Clark stressed the severity of the terrorist threat. According to the 9/11 Commission report, Rice did not respond. Although the national security leadership met formally nearly 100 times in the months prior to 9/11, terrorism was the topic during only two of those sessions. The first meeting on Al Qaeda did not occur until September 4, 2001, seven days before the attacks. (Associated Press, June 29, 2002)

Rice initially refused to appear before the 9/11 Commission. When she finally agreed to testify, she refused to be forthright about he knowledge of the Al Qaeda threat before 9/11. Rice was asked about a Presidential Daily Briefing (PDB) that Bush received on August 6, 2001. Rice testified before the 9/11 Commission, “Nothing about the threat of attack in the U.S.” in the PDB. Under further questioning, she admitted that, in fact, the title of the PDB was, “Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States.” (All Politics, April 8, 2004)

Rice was one of the primary voices of misinformation in the push for war with Iraq. In September 2002, she claimed, “We do know that (Saddam) is actively pursuing a nuclear weapon. Britain’s The Telegraph, September 9, 2002)

She also erroneously charged that Iraq was using aluminum tubes that were “only really suited for nuclear weapons programs, centrifuge programs.” That theory also was proved false. (New York Times, October 3, 2004; All Politics, September 8, 2002)

In October 2003, Bush formally announced he had Rice the authority to manage postwar Iraq. She was put in charge of the “Iraq Stabilization Group.” Seven months later, the four original leaders of the Stabilization Group took on new roles, and only one remained concerned primarily with Iraq. The Stabilization Group was never mentioned after October 2003. (USA Today, October 6, 2003)

Even after the invasion of Iraq failed to turn up any evidence of weapons of mass destruction, Rice continued a calculated effort to keep the nonexistent threat in the public eye. On September 7, 2003, she warned, “We don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud. On March 18, 2004, Rice said, “It’s not as if anybody believes that Saddam Hussein was without weapons of mass destruction. (White House transcripts, September 7, 2003; March 18, 2004)

Appointed to fill the Secretary of State slot vacated by Powell at the end of Bush’s first term, Rice testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in January 2005. She faced pointed questions about her role in shaping United States policies during her four years as National Security advisor. Questions included America’s strategy in Iraq and treatment of prisoners both there and at Guantanamo Bay. (New York Times, January 19, 2005)

Rice said little that so much as suggested a departure from any of the Bush administration’s policies, toward Iraq or any other issue. Rice rarely gave straight answers and refused to take responsibility for any of the serial disasters that characterized Bush’s first-term foreign policy.

Questioned by Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer, Rice denied that she had misled the country and that she had changed her position on events leading up to the Iraq war. Boxer quoted Rice as saying that Iraq was six months away from developing a nuclear weapon. Rice tried to sidestep the allegation by saying her statement had been taken out of context. Boxer also charged that Rice had claimed that a link existed between Hussein and Al Qaeda. Rice answered by saying Iraq had ties to terrorists.

Rice refused to set any timetable for the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. She claimed the Bush administration had no long-term strategy for Iraq. When asked if there was any reasonable possibility that the United States would withdraw the bulk of its forces before the end of 2005, Rice replied, “I can’t judge that. … I will say that we're going to try to help the Iraqis get this done.” (New York Times, January 19, 2005)

Rice once again exaggerated the progress of programs to train Iraqi soldiers. Four months earlier in September 2004, Rice and Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld promised there would be 145,000 Iraqis sufficiently trained and equipped by the time of the elections. At the January hearings, Rice estimated the number was “somewhere over 120,000.” (New York Times, January 19, 2005)

Ranking Democrat Joe Biden, who had been in Iraq, sharply contradicted her: “I think you’ll find, if you speak to the folks on the ground, they don’t think there’s more than 4,000 actually trained Iraqi forces.” According to figures released in January 2005, about 53,000 police officers, 40,000 national guard members, and 4,000 soldiers were “trained and on hand.” However, mass defections of Iraqi troops continued to be frequent, with some guard brigades recording losses of up to 50 percent of their personnel. (New York Times, January 19, 2005)

Rice declined to make a clear statement against the use of torture. Citing instances of forced nudity and simulated drowning as interrogation techniques, Senator Dodd asked Rice, “What are your views on that? Is that torture, in your view, or not?” (New York Times, January 19, 2005)

Rice declined to characterize the abusive methods, saying such determinations were made by the Justice Department. She said it would not be “appropriate” for her to comment. “It’s a disappointing answer, Dodd retorted, “with the world watching, when a simple question is raised about techniques that I think most people would conclude in this country are torture, it’s important at a moment like that that you can speak clearly and directly.” (New York Times, January 19, 2005)

Rice refused to take responsibility for her misstatements in the run-up to the war in Iraq. On September 9, 2002, Rice said, “We do know that (Saddam) is actively pursuing a nuclear weapon. And on September 7, 2003, Rice said, “We don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.” Later, after weapons inspector David Kay had determined Iraq's nuclear weapons programs were retired in 1991, Rice told PBS, “It was a case that said he was trying to reconstitute. … Nobody ever said that it was going to be the next year.” Rice did not admit any inconsistency in those statements, instead lashing out at Senator Barbara Boxer at her hearing for “impugning my integrity.” But Rice impugned her own integrity for more than fifty Rice misstatements about 9/11 and the war in Iraq during her four-year tenure in the NSC.


Donald Rumsfeld began his political career in Washington in 1957, serving as Administrative Assistant to a congressman. He was elected to the House of Representatives from Illinois in 1962 and resigned that position in 1969 to join the President Nixon’s Cabinet. He served as Director of the Office of Economic Opportunity and Assistant to the President; Counselor to the President; and Director of the Economic Stabilization Program. In 1973, Rumsfeld left Washington to serve as United States Ambassador to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

In 1974, Rumsfeld returned to the United States to chair the Gerald Ford transition team, chief of staff of the White House, and secretary of defense. As a presidential aide, Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney were persuaded Ford to veto one of the most important Watergate-inspired reforms, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). It was designed to guarantee public and media scrutiny of the FBI and other agencies. Rumsfeld warned that the FOIA would take too much power from the executive branch. Subsequently, Ford vetoed the bill, but Congress overrode the veto and the FOIA became law. In October 2002 -- three decades later --Attorney General John Ashcroft fulfilled Cheney and Rumsfeld’s wish by pledging to fight any FOIA request that reached the Justice Department.

From 1977 to 1985 Rumsfeld served as Chairman of G.D. Searle & Co., a worldwide pharmaceutical company. He was in private business from 1985 to 1990. A study released by the Institute for Policy Studies showed that “Rumsfeld pressed Saddam Hussein during the mid 1980s to approve the Aqaba pipeline project from Iraq to Jordan.” George Shultz’s Bechtel Corporation was to be awarded the contract. The report “reveals that the diplomatic pressure from Rumsfeld and the Reagan administration happened during and despite Hussein’s use of chemical weapons. Behind the scenes, these officials worked for two years attempting to secure the billion dollar pipeline scheme for the Bechtel corporation.” (The Institute for Policy Studies, March 23, 2003)

Between 1990 and 1993, Rumsfeld served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of General Instrument Corporation as well as a member of the board of Gilead Sciences, Incorporated, a pharmaceutical company.

Rumsfeld chaired the bipartisan United States Ballistic Missile Threat Commission in 1998 and became involved in funneling millions of dollars to communist North Korea as it was developing a missile and nuclear weapons program. He warned that North Korea had made substantial progress during the decade in building missiles that could pose a potential nuclear threat to Japan and parts of the United States.

The commission reported, “North Korea maintains an active weapons of mass destruction program, including a nuclear weapon program. North Korea diverted material in the late 1980s for at least one or possibly two weapons.” (, January 3, 2001)

During the early-to-mid 1990s, the United States Defense Intelligence Agency was monitoring a series of clandestine payments from Sun Myung Moon’s organization to the North Korean communist leaders who were overseeing the country’s military strategies. According to DIA documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, Moon’s payments to North Korean leaders included a $3 million “birthday present” to current communist leader Kim Jong Il and offshore payments amounting to “several tens of million dollars” to the previous communist dictator, Kim Il Sung. (, January 3, 2001)

The alleged payments came at a time of a strict United States government ban on financial transactions between North Korea and any American person or entity, to keep hard currency out of North Korea’s hands.

While negotiating those business deals with North Korea in the 1990s, Moon’s organization also hired former President George H.Bush and former First Lady Barbara Bush to give speeches at Moon-sponsored events. (, January 3, 2001)

Swiss Info announced that Rumsfeld was involved with Swiss-based ABB in early 2000, when it netted a $200 million contract with Pyongyang. The contract was to deliver equipment and services for two nuclear power stations at Kumho, North Korea. Rumsfeld was a member of ABB’s board between 1990 and February 2001, when he left to head the Defense Department. (, February 4, 2003)

Once selected to head the Defense Department by Bush in 2001, Rumsfeld was given 90 days to divest himself of millions of dollars in investments that posed a potential conflict of interest. As chief executive of two corporations, his fortune was valued at $50 million to $210 million.

Rumsfeld failed to meet an April 20 deadline to divest a vast array of stocks, partnerships and other holdings, as he agreed to do when he took office in January. At his request, however, the Office of Government Ethics granted him an extension. Half of his fortune -- $22 million to $99 million -- consisted of complex private investment partnerships that could not be easily liquidated, including venture capital funds that invest in health care, energy, and Internet and biotechnology companies in the United States and Asia.

Rumsfeld’s financial disclosure form showed that his largest investment in a limited partnership -- from $5 million to $25 million -- was in Deerfield Partners in New York. Other investments include Cerberus Institution Partners in New York, the Maverick Fund U.S.A. in Dallas and two separate R. Chaney & Partner funds in Houston -- each worth $1 million to $5 million. (New York Times, April 25, 2001)

The top three Pentagon appointments had heavy corporate backgrounds. The president’s choice for Navy secretary was Gordon England, the executive vice president of General Dynamics. He worked for General Dynamics since 1980, except for four years when he served as president of Lockheed Fort Worth, as a program manager for Amecom (Litton Industries) and as chief executive of GRE Consultants.

James G. Roche, Bush’s pick for Air Force secretary, was the corporate vice president of Northrop Grumman Corporation. Roche, a 23-year Navy veteran, was a Democratic aide for the Senate Armed Services Committee from 1983 to 1984, and was a senior staffer for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence from 1979 to 1981.

Retired General Thomas E. White, picked as Army secretary, also had ties to corporate America. After serving in the Army for 23 years, he became chairman and chief executive officer of Enron Operations Corporation and as chairman and chief executive of Enron Power Corporation since joining Enron in 1990. He was executive assistant to Colin Powell when he headed the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the first Bush administration. Because of a potential conflict of interest when handing out government contracts, he announced in June that he would sell more than $25 million in Enron stock. White also said that he would seek legal advice as whether to recuse himself from any role in the decision on the Enron contracts.(Los Angeles Times, June 20, 2001

White advocated accelerating a several-years-old Pentagon process of hiring companies with energy expertise to run electric, gas, and other utilities on military bases. For years, the military ran the utilities itself but began privatizing them on some bases two years ago to try to save money. Enron had bids to operate utilities at seven Air Force bases, a naval base, and the Army’s Fort Bliss base in Texas. (Los Angeles Times, June 20, 2001)


Ashcroft sponsored a 2000 Senate bill to extend the patent on the expensive allergy pill Claritin, owned by the giant pharmaceutical firm Schering-Plough, which had given him $50,000 for his 2000 Senate campaign. By opposing clean water protections and letting mining companies dump cyanide and other wastes on public land, Ashcroft was rewarded with $1.7 million from oil, chemical, and paper companies.

John Ashcroft made candid clear his ultra-right posture when he commented, “There’re only two things in the center of the road -- a moderate and a dead skunk.” He was a zealous Republican hard-liner with close ties to the Christian Coalition. He frequently spoke about his opposition to numerous issues: abortion, federal financing for clean needle exchange programs for addicts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and many of President Clinton’s judicial nominees whom he branded as liberal activists.

By appointing Ashcroft attorney general, Bush paid his dues to the far right. Ashcroft was the most disputed choice for a Cabinet post. During the campaign, Bush had brought to the forefront the myth of bipartisanship, and Ashcroft’s appointment clearly demonstrated Bush’s hypocrisy throughout the campaign when he said again and again, “I’m a uniter, not a divider.” Bush knew well that Ashcroft would vehemently oppose all forms of affirmative action programs and would push for allowing more of a religious presence in government, such as in school prayers, and more aid to religions, through charitable choice and voucher programs.

Upon nominating Ashcroft as the nation’s highest prosecutor, Bush took a swipe at Attorney General Janet Reno whom Republicans claimed refused to name an independent counsel to investigate Vice President Gore. Bush said that Ashcroft would enforce the civil rights laws fully and fairly. “This is a person who believes in civil rights for all citizens,” he said in the Washington Post (December 22, 2000). Bush said that he had carefully reviewed Ashcroft’s record and was certain he had made the right choice. He commented in the New York Times (December 23, 2000), “There’s no question in my mind that he will uphold and enforce the law, the civil rights laws on the books of America.”

For days before the confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Ashcroft crammed and rehearsed. Friendly aides hurled difficult questions at him. During the hearings, GOP committee members applauded him for his conservative views, while Democrats questioned his ideology and past decisions in areas such as abortion, civil rights, affirmative action, school desegregation, and gun control. When he was asked questions, he frequently combed through his notes and read pre-written responses, many times wandering off. Throughout his testimony, his wife sat behind him and appeared herself to be participating in his answers, continuously nodding her head in approval.

ASHCROFT ON ABORTION. As Missouri governor, he signed a 1986 bill that stated that life begins at the moment of fertilization. Later the United States Supreme Court struck down the law. As a senator, Ashcroft, along with senators Jesse Helms and Bob Smith, cosponsored legislation that would have added a similar “human life” amendment to the Constitution. Legally defining life as beginning at conception could outlaw abortion and make both the doctors who perform abortions and the women who seek them murderers. He also supported a Missouri law that specified that women who sought certain abortions could be sentenced to life in prison. Such a human life provision could also ban birth control devices such as the pill, the IUD, Depo-Provera, Norplant, and RU-486.

Testifying on behalf of a Human Life Bill in 1981, Ashcroft insisted that the proposed law granting fetuses and embryos the status of people would have been constitutional. He claimed that, since fetuses are human beings, fetal life is guaranteed under the 14th Amendment, which outlawed slavery by declaring that “never again in the United States would a class of human beings be declared to be “non-persons.’ ” The bill died in committee before senators had a chance to vote on it. By supporting the 1981 legislation, Ashcroft’s testimony in January 2001 before the Judiciary Committee contradicted his moderate claim to be more moderate.

As senator, Ashcroft initiated an abstinence-only provision in the 1996 Welfare Reform Act, another obstacle between teens and birth control. The abstinence provision set aside almost half a billion dollars in government funds to teach that any sex outside of wedlock -- even among adults -- was harmful. He also opposed the distribution of birth control when recipients include married adults. As Missouri attorney general, he chose to get involved in a case in which family planning nurse practitioners were charged with the unauthorized practice of medicine for providing birth control and other services in clinics that served married and unmarried poor women in rural Missouri.

Ashcroft also initiated a constitutional amendment that would have virtually eliminated women’s reproductive rights by banning abortions, even for rape and incest victims. The abortion ban he proposed was so extreme that it could have been invoked to outlaw widely accepted and commonly used birth control methods including the pill and IUDs. Ashcroft supported such controversial legislation as the Hyde Amendment which banned the use of federal funds for abortion. As Missouri governor, Ashcroft cast 43 votes on abortion and reproductive rights, with 42 of those votes aimed at overturning Roe v. Wade, according to the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action Group. During an April 19, 1998, appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Ashcroft said that outlawing abortion was a higher priority for him than cutting taxes. And Ashcroft’s ethics came into question during the impeachment trial of President Clinton in 1999 when his political action committee rented its fund-raising list to Linda Tripp for $2,500.

Ashcroft vetoed legislation known as the Infant’s Rights bill. During an October 1999 speech in support of the Partial Birth Abortion Act, which he co-sponsored with Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, Ashcroft said: “Tragically, the Missouri partial birth infanticide bill was vetoed despite its overwhelming passage by the bipartisan Missouri General Assembly.” This had followed a previous statement Ashcroft issued in April 1999, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, calling on Mel Carnahan to “sign this important bill.” Later, during his failed 2000 senatorial campaign against Carnahan, Ashcroft launched a radio ad that attacked the governor, saying he had “vetoed a ban on partial-birth abortions.” But Ashcroft failed to mention that the Infant’s Protection Act allowed the use of force against abortion providers -- perhaps even deadly force -- to stop any illegal abortion. Moreover, the bill left unclear just what constituted an illegal abortion. Even Louis DeFeo, the bill’s author, initially agreed that the bill allowed deadly force against abortion providers, saying, “I think that’s justifiable in protecting a person.” The bill effectively defined a fetus as a person.

As Carnahan put it in his veto statement at the time: “Perhaps most outrageously of all, this bill will allow someone to legally commit acts of violence, including a lethal act against a physician, nurse or patient, in order to prevent a termination of a pregnancy by a procedure which the attacker reasonably believes would be a violation of this bill.” Moreover, Carnahan said, according to Salon, that the bill was drawn in such a way as to “ban some of the safest and most commonplace first- and second-trimester abortion procedures.” Carnahan’s veto was overridden by the Legislature in an effort led by a member of his own party. And Ashcroft immediately began lauding the veto override at Carnahan’s expense. A day after the override, Planned Parenthood of Missouri went to a federal court and won an injunction against enforcement of the law, arguing that it criminalized most common abortion procedures.

Ashcroft’s appointed illustrated the deep rift between the GOP and Democrats. Rosemary Dempsey, director of the Washington office of the Center for Reproductive Law and Policy, said, “He’s misrepresented himself at best, lied at worst. How he testified was in contradiction to his actual behaviors, which in common parlance is lying.” Others cited his tainted testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Marcia Greenberger, co-president of the National Women’s Law Center, commented, “He said that he did not think it was the Bush agenda to overturn Roe, and he said that it wouldn't be his role to change the Bush administration agenda. He didn’t say, ‘It isn’t my agenda.' It wasn’t a slip of the tongue; he said it twice in virtually the same way.” (Village Voice, January 20, 2001)

When asked about his position on birth control, Ashcroft appeared to indicate his support when he spoke before the Judiciary Committee. “I think individuals who want to plan their families have every right to do so.” However, his record showed that he did not think the right to birth control applies when those individuals are teens. He sponsored legislation in Missouri that would have required minors to get parental consent before purchasing contraception from any federally funded programs, even though courts have struck down such stipulations several times.

ASHCROFT ON RACE. As a public servant, Ashcroft had an equally poor record on race, following an ideologically ultra-conservative course. When he considered becoming Republican Party chairman in 1993, he urged Republicans to be tolerant and to avoid being “mistakenly portrayed as petty, divisive and mean-spirited,” according to the New York Times. But in 1989, when former President George Bush appointed Ashcroft to a federal commission to study the plight of minorities in America, he refused to sign the panel’s final report. That report concluded that the nation was slipping in its efforts to achieve equality for Blacks, Latinos, and Indians and that many minorities were “afflicted by the ills of poverty and deprivation.” Ashcroft was one of only two people on the 40-member panel, which included former presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter and King’s widow, Coretta, to refuse to endorse the findings. Ashcroft’s office said at the time that he believed the report’s portrayal of minorities was too negative and that its “generalizations about setbacks in progress are overly broad and counterproductive.”

Ashcroft opposed every major civil rights bill while on the Senate Judiciary Committee. While serving as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Ashcroft made several inquiries to the Justice Department on behalf of the dentist, according to Gordon Baum, head of the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), a militant white racist group headquartered in Missouri. Joe Canason of the New York Observer (January 21, 2001) wrote that in September 2000 Ashcroft met personally with a prominent CCC member named Thomas Bugel to discuss how he could assist Dr. Sell who was imprisoned. In the 1990s, Sell led served on the St. Louis School Board and led a White faction that was widely criticized for inflaming tensions in the racially divided city. He also once headed the Metro South Citizens’ Council, an offshoot of the White Citizens’ Councils set up across the South to oppose racial integration.

Ashcroft once hailed Confederate war heroes as “patriots” and suggested they should not be portrayed as having died for “some perverted agenda,” according to the New York Times (December 27, 2000). In October 1998 Ashcroft gave an interview to the Southern Partisan magazine in which he lashed out at “revisionists” who made malicious attacks on America’s founders, such as charging that George Washington was a racist. He called these allegations “malicious attacks” and “revisionist nonsense.” He further commented in the Southern Partisan, “Your magazine also helps set the record straight. Thus always to tyrants. You’ve got a heritage of ... defending Southern patriots like (General Robert E.) Lee, (General Stonewall) Jackson and (Confederate President Jefferson) Davis. We’ve all got to stand up and speak in this respect or else we’ll be taught that these people were giving their lives, subscribing their sacred fortunes and their honor to some perverted agenda.”

Ashcroft fought the appointments of David Satcher and Henry Foster, both distinguished physicians, to the post of Surgeon General. In both instances, Ashcroft joined a minority whose opposition was based solely on the nominees’ position on reproductive rights. While most Republicans accepted Dr. Satcher’s promise that he would not use the office of Surgeon General to promote abortion rights. Ashcroft tried and failed to instigate a filibuster against Satcher.

Ashcroft also led the charge in the Senate to deny confirmation to Missouri Supreme Court Justice Ronnie White to be a federal district judge. The Judiciary Committee approved him. But when the nomination came to the Senate floor, the Republican majority defeated it at Ashcroft’s urging. Ashcroft also objected to Lee because he had opposed Proposition 209, the measure that eliminated affirmative action in California, according to the Los Angeles Times (December 16, 2000).

As his reasons for killing White’s nomination, Ashcroft said, according to the New York Times (December 30, 2000), White had shown “a tremendous bent toward criminal activity,” that he was “pro-criminal” and that he had a “poor record on the death penalty.” Those statements were false. On the Missouri court, Justice White had voted to uphold the death penalty in 41 appeals. In 10 other cases he joined a majority of the court in reversing because of legal error. Judges who had been appointed by Ashcroft when he was governor of Missouri voted as often or more often to reverse death penalty judgments.

In one case, James R. Johnson killed three law enforcement officials and a sheriff’s wife in a series of ambushes near his rural Missouri home on Dec. 8, 1991. He confessed but pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, claiming he had been in the grip of an uncontrollable flashback to his Vietnam combat days, a victim of post-traumatic stress disorder. But the jurors convicted him, and he was sentenced to die. On appeal, the Missouri Supreme Court upheld the death sentence. Only Judge White dissented.

Ashcroft cited that vote again and again as proof enough that White is “pro-criminal” and not fit for promotion to the federal judiciary. White argued that the defense lawyer had made a blunder so egregious that it unfairly wrecked Johnson’s case. All seven Supreme Court justices agreed that the defense lawyer indeed had made a major mistake in not investigating the evidence more thoroughly before making his opening statement. The majority, however, held that the error was not fatal to Johnson's case, because the lawyer had other opportunities to present evidence of post-traumatic stress.

Ashcroft focused on another case in which White had dissented alone. It was the conviction and death sentence of Brian Kinder, a Black, for rape and murder. The trial judge in the Kinder case, Earl Blackwell, was up for re- election. Six days before the trial, he issued a statement saying he was switching parties. Quoted in the New York Times (December 30, 2000), he said, “The Democrat Party places far too much emphasis on representing minorities such as homosexuals, people who don’t want to work and people with a skin that’s any color but white. ... While minorities need to be represented, of course, I believe the time has come for us to place much more emphasis and concern on the hard-working taxpayers in this country.”

Kinder asked the judge to recuse himself because of his hostile statement suggesting that minorities were not “hard-working taxpayers.” When the judge refused to step aside, the issue was raised on appeal. The majority of the Missouri Supreme Court, departing from precedent, said Judge Blackwell’s statement did not disqualify him from this trial because it was a “political act, not a judicial one.” By that logic, a judge who made a political speech in favor of the American Nazi Party would not be disqualified from trying a Jewish defendant. It was from that position that Justice White dissented. There was nothing in the Kinder case, or the others mentioned by Ashcroft, that would make any reasonable person think Justice White was “pro-criminal.” The Missouri police organization endorsed him for the federal judgeship.

White testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee at Ashcroft’s confirmation hearing, stating that he had voted to uphold the death penalty in 41 of 59 death penalty cases he heard. In 53 of those 59 cases, White said, he voted with the majority of his colleagues on the court, most of whom were appointed by then-Governor Ashcroft. White was the lone dissenter only three times, he said, according to the New York Times (January 18, 2001). It was the first time in four decades that the Senate had defeated a federal district court judge's nomination. Senator Edward Kennedy said what happened to White was “10 times worse than anything that's happened to Senator Ashcroft in the current controversy. In my view, what happened to you is the ugliest thing that's happened to any nominee in all my years in the United States Senate.”

Ashcroft tried to defend his actions, saying he was concerned that White’s dissents did not meet standards under Missouri law for retrying cases, particularly since White’s federal judgeship was a lifetime appointment. “I believe that I acted properly,” Ashcroft said. “I came to the conclusion that this was not a person that I felt should sit in judgment in a setting where the ruling of a single judge could displace the conclusions of the entire Supreme Court of Missouri.”

As state attorney general, Ashcroft fought against implementing a landmark voluntary desegregation plan in St. Louis, arguing the state had “done nothing wrong” and “had been found guilty of no wrong” in the case. But court documents showed, according to the Washington Post (January 18, 2001), that a federal district judge ruled that the state was a “primary constitutional wrongdoer” in perpetuating segregated schools in St. Louis, both by denying blacks an equal education in the past and doing little to remedy the situation later. Appellate courts repeatedly upheld that conclusion, and the United States Supreme Court declined to hear three appeals initiated by Ashcroft while he was the state’s attorney general.

Ashcroft said that “in all of the cases where the court made an order, I followed the order, both as attorney general and as governor.” But United States District Judge William Hungate threatened to hold Ashcroft -- who was Missouri’s attorney general at the time -- and the state in contempt in 1981 for “continual delay and failure to comply” with orders to file a desegregation plan. “The state has, as a matter of deliberate policy, decided to defy the authority of this court,” Judge Hungate wrote in a subsequent order.

Ashcroft also sought to clarify other statements he made when he repeatedly told the committee that Missouri “had never been a party to the litigation” surrounding the St. Louis plan. In fact, Missouri became a defendant in the case in 1977, during Ashcroft’s first term as attorney general. The battles over both districts extend back to lawsuits filed in the 1970s, in an era when Missouri's Constitution still included a segregation clause. Federal judges ordered and oversaw desegregation plans in both cities, including voluntary busing and magnet schools in St. Louis and a massive rebuilding effort in Kansas City, which was funded in part by tax increases ordered by the courts.

Ashcroft vigorously fought both plans, arguing that racial disparities were not a result of legal segregation, and he chided Judge Hungate and other federal judges. In addition to making opposition to voluntary busing in St. Louis a major theme in his inaugural run for governor in 1984, he lobbied the Reagan Justice Department to join one of his failed attempts to reverse the decision. Critics argued that Ashcroft, by dragging out compliance with court orders and angering federal judges in two jurisdictions, was largely responsible for desegregation costs to the state that surpassed $2.5 billion, according to most estimates, the Washington Post said. Democratic Governor Mel Carnahan settled both cases in 1999.

In his testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee in January 2001, Ashcroft maintained that he fought the desegregation plans because he felt federal judges had exceeded their authority, that the state had been ordered to shoulder an unfair portion of the cost and that racial imbalances were caused by White flight unconnected to state actions. He testified to the committee, “I opposed a mandate by the federal government that the state, which had done nothing wrong ... should be asked to pay this very substantial sum of money over a long course of years. I have always opposed segregation. I have never opposed integration.”

ASHCROFT ON WOMEN AND GAYS. Ashcroft also opposed legislation designed to end work place discrimination (the Employment Non-Discrimination Act) and to protect vulnerable groups of Americans against hate crimes (the Hate Crimes Prevention Act). He voted to weaken a federal law that helps protect minority communities against “redlining” by banks and other financial institutions. He opposed affirmative action and voted to curb laws aimed at preventing banks from redlining minority neighborhoods where loans to consumers would be denied.

Additionally, Ashcroft opposed the Equal Rights Amendment, and as Missouri’s Attorney General he sued the National Organization for Women over a boycott of the state, which had not ratified the Equal Rights Amendment.

Ashcroft tried to delay and defeat the 1996 nomination of Margaret Morrow, claiming she was a liberal activist who should be kept from the bench because of her efforts to promote pro bono legal work. Only because of bipartisan support, Morrow was eventually appointed, but only after Ashcroft helped stall it for two years. He was one of 11 senators to vote against the 1998 appointment of Margaret McKeown, which had been stalled for two years, and one of 30 to oppose Ann Aiken’s bid for a federal judgeship in Oregon. With 28 other senators, he voted against Sonia Sotomayor’s appointment to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, which had been held more than a year. And Ashcroft led the charge against the appointment of confirmation of Susan Oki Mollway, the first Asian American woman to serve on the federal bench. After nearly three years, Mollway’s appointment was finally approved.

Ashcroft opposed the nomination of James Hormel as ambassador to Luxembourg in 1997. Hormel had an accomplished history, In 1964 he was a dean at the University of Chicago Law School when Ashcroft was a student there. Hormel was also a well known San Francisco civic leader and philanthropist and had been endorsed by, among others, the Episcopal bishop of California, the Reverend William Swing, and former GOP Secretary of State George Shultz.

Hormel said that Ashcroft never attended any of his hearings, despite being a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that was considering him. Quoted in Washington Post (January 25, 2001), Hormel said, “I wrote to him directly and requested an opportunity to meet with him. And I called his office several times and never got a response from him. I have no basis for knowing what reasons he used to vote against me.” It was therefore a surprise, Hormel said, when Ashcroft asserted that his own confirmation hearings that he had known Hormel for a long time and voted against him “based on the totality of the record.” In addition Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein cited 1998 news accounts that quoted Ashcroft as objecting to Hormel’s “gay lifestyle.”

Ashcroft said at his confirmation hearings that he never discriminated against gays while serving as governor and senator, and would not consider sexual orientation in hirings at the Justice Department. But the controversy over his stand on gay rights widened a few days after his confirmation hearings ended when a health care expert said Ashcroft asked him about his sexual orientation during a 1985 job interview. Ashcroft at the time was governor of Missouri and the applicant, Paul Offner, was applying for a state job. Offner said in an interview, “His first question was, ‘Do you have the same sexual preference as most men,’ ” Offner added, “I was stunned. He launched right into it.” (Washington Post, January 25, 2001) Mindy Tucker, the Bush administration’s spokeswoman on the Ashcroft nomination, said that Ashcroft did not recall the meeting.

ASHCROFT ON RELIGION. Ashcroft proposed “charitable choice” would permit churches and synagogues to receive money for social service programs. Faith-based groups always could get federal funds if they created a separate, non-religious entity to conduct programs such as family planning services, alcohol, and drug rehabilitation and homeless shelters. Ashcroft also pushed for allowing religious groups, including churched and synagogues, to receive the money directly.

James Dobson, a leading religious conservative and president and founder of Focus on the Family, a nonprofit organization in Colorado Springs, publicly described the defeated Missouri Republican as a national resource. Dobson was quoted in the Washington Post (January 7, 2001), “I were president-elect, John Ashcroft would be one of the people that I would be trying to find a spot for.” Dr. Carl Herbster, president of the American Association of Christian Schools, was another conservative who lobbied for Ashcroft.

In 1998, Ashcroft was quoted in the Pentecostal Evangel magazine as saying, “The spiritual well-being of America has been threatened more by judges out of control than by virtually any other governmental instrumentality.” Ashcroft admired Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, praising him in a Winter 2000 article in the law review of Regent University, operated by Pat Robertson. Ashcroft called Thomas a leader on the court and a powerful defender of respecting the limits of federal power. According to the Post, Ashcroft said that Thomas was not a judicial activist and did not subordinate his personal views to the Constitution.

OTHER ISSUES. Ashcroft has been a firm supporter of the NRA which reportedly contributed nearly $400,000 to his last senatorial campaign. In 1998 he voted against an amendment to require safety locks on firearms. He opposed a ban on assault weapons. And in 1999 he urged Missouri voters to legalize the carrying of concealed weapons. He also supported the NRA’s efforts to have the FBI erase records it keeps on gun transactions immediately instead of holding them for future reference. Furthermore, Ashcroft voted against background checks before purchasers could buy weapons at gun shows.

He voted to roll back clean water protections and introduced legislation to undercut efforts to limit emissions of man-made greenhouse gases. And he voted to eliminate funding for the National Endowment for the Arts. Throughout his political career, Ashcroft embraced the Religious Right’s narrow view of the First Amendment, seeking to undermine the separation of church and state.

Ashcroft’s nomination was opposed by People For the American Way, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, NAACP, NARAL, Planned Parenthood, Sierra Club, Human Rights Campaign, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and other public interest organizations.

On the other hand, the Christian Coalition gave Ashcroft a 100 percent rating for 2000, voting 100 percent of the time for the positions supported by the Eagle Forum. But the National Organization for Women and the League of Conservation Voters, an environmental advocacy group, gave him zero ratings. Gloria Feldt, president of Planned Parenthood, said in the New York Times (December 21, 2000), “Ashcroft has a 100 percent anti-choice, anti-family-planning record. As attorney general, he would be a clear and present danger to American women.”

QUESTIONS ON FUND-RAISING. Ashcroft’s PAC, “Spirit of America,” was formed in 1996 to raise money for conservative candidates at a time when the Missouri Republican also wanted to explore his own prospects for a presidential run. The list was developed between 1997 and 1999, at a cost of more than $2 million. During that period, the PAC contributed $10,000 to Ashcroft 2000, along with about $100,000 to other conservative candidates.

In 1999, his PAC rented out the list to more than 30 list-sellers and other groups, including the Paula Jones Legal Defense Fund and the Linda Tripp Legal Defense Fund, raising a total of $83,751, according to the Federal Election Commission (FEC). The $1,922 rental payment from the Tripp fund came on Feb. 9, 1999, three days before Ashcroft voted to convict President Clinton on two impeachment counts. Under federal law, PACs may give candidates only $10,000 per campaign. Neither the PAC nor the Ashcroft campaign reported the transfer of the list, which occurred after the campaign had already donated $10,000.

During his 2000 senatorial campaign, “Spirit of America” enlisted 100,000 donors who contributed over $116,000, according to FEC reports. The Ashcroft campaign committee received payments throughout the year -- totaling $116,922 -- from Precision Marketing Incorporated for “rental” of the list.

Kelly Huff, a spokeswoman for the FEC, said that “anything given that is considered something of value would be an in-kind contribution.” (Washington Post, February 1, 2001) The law requires that in-kind contributions be reported in the same manner as cash contributions. Huff said that a review of the agency’s files revealed no advisory opinions on cases with similar circumstances.

The Landmark Legal Foundation, a conservative public-interest law firm, asked the IRS to investigate whether dozens of nonprofit, tax-exempt organizations that participated in “recent lobbying activities” against Ashcroft properly reported those activities on their tax filings. Landmark President Mark Levin, who had served as chief of staff to Attorney General Edwin Meese, said, “Inasmuch as several of these organizations have announced their intention to conduct similar lobbying efforts against future appointments, the IRS must ensure that these tax-exempt groups comply with federal law.” (Washington Times, February 5, 2001)

Levin said that more than 200 organizations met January 9 at the headquarters of the American Association of University Women, a tax-exempt group, where they began an a lobbying campaign. Among the organizations that attended the meeting, Levin said, were at least 18 tax-exempt groups that received more than $150 million in federal funds between 1996 and 1999. He said that another 34 tax-exempt organizations participated in lobbying activities against Ashcroft as a result of the meeting. And he added that their activities should be scrutinized to assure that they did not skirt the law or fail to pay their taxes.

Levin identified some of the tax-exempt groups as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Sierra Club, Planned Parenthood, the National Organization for Women’s Legal Defense and Education Fund, the National Education Association, and the National Black Women’s Health Project.

ASHCROFT FOUND IN VIOLATION OF THE FEC. In 2003, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) ruled that Ashcroft’s unsuccessful 2000 Senate reelection campaign violated election laws by accepting $110,000 in illegal contributions from a committee Ashcroft had established to explore running for president. Two Ashcroft committees -- the Spirit of America PAC and Ashcroft 2000 -- agreed to pay a $37,000 fine for at least four violations of federal campaign law that included receiving excessive contributions and failing to disclose receipt of the contributions. (Washington Post, December 17, 2003)

Under the law, the Spirit of America PAC was allowed to give the Ashcroft 2000 committee only $5,000 for the primary and $5,000 for the general election. But the Spirit of America PAC far exceeded these limits by illegally transferring to the Ashcroft 2000 committee $110,000 derived from the rental of its donors list. (Washington Post, December 17, 2003)

THE ASHCROFT AGENDA. Since he became attorney general, Ashcroft capitulated to Big Tobacco; refused to halt executions while he studied the causes of racial disparity in federal death penalty prosecutions; declined to provide federal marshals to protect an abortion clinic doctor who had already been shot; refused to implement a consent decree that would change the scandal-ridden Los Angeles Police Department.

The NRA spent $20 million in the 2000 election to help put into the White House the man who appointed Ashcroft. The Bush administration responded. In February, Attorney General John Ashcroft declared there were “enough (gun) laws on the books.” Three months later, Bush offered funds to Ashcroft’s Justice Department to hire additional prosecutors and get tougher on violators of existing gun laws. Then in June, he announced that the FBI would step up its timetable and would begin destroying government records on millions of gun purchases almost immediately after the weapons were sold. His decision came just three days after the United States Supreme Court refused to hear the NRA’s claim that the FBI was illegally maintaining transaction records. (Los Angeles Times, July 4, 2001)

The attorney general, a life-long NRA member, claimed that his proposal would keep weapons out of the hands of criminals while speeding the legitimate purchase of guns by law-abiding citizens. The FBI began operating a massive nation-wide clearinghouse in 1998 that reviewed nearly 10 million gun purchases a year, with most transactions cleared in a matter of seconds once it was determined that the prospective buyer has no criminal record or other problems that would ban the purchase of a gun. The system blocked more than 156,000 illegal gun sales. The FBI insisted in the past that it needs at least 90 days to properly audit gun transactions. But Ashcroft rejected suggestions that drastically shortening the review period will hurt the government’s ability to catch improper purchases. (Los Angeles Times, June 29, 2001)

When he made the announcement in June, the FBI by law was retaining the gun records for up to six months. The agency was also auditing about 10 percent of the transactions to determine whether felons or others banned from buying weapons were allowed to get one. Under Ashcroft’s plan, that auditing window would narrow to a single business day. (Los Angeles Times, June 29, 2001)


WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL GONZALES. In 2001, Bush chose Alberto Gonzales, a longtime Texas friend and attorney, as White House Counsel. Three years before, Bush was in a quandary while serving on jury duty. The American public had not yet learned that he had been arrest for drunk driving years before. He wanted to keep it secret. Yet, it would have been impossible if he would answer the jury questionnaire honestly. It was Gonzales who bailed him out.

When Bush was assigned to a drunk driving case, his attorney, Gonzales, asked to meet with the counsels in the judge’s chambers. He requested that the attorneys not to object when he would ask would ask the court to excuse Bush from jury duty because of the possibility that he might be called on to pardon the accused. P. David Wahlberg, the defense attorney did not object. Neither did John Lastovica, the deputy city attorney who went forward and presented the information to lead prosecutor Ken Oden for approval.

Four years later, Oden said in an interview in Salon (November 2000) that Lastovica did not to object to Gonzales’ argument. Oden asserted that he wanted to make sure that there was no chance that Wahlberg could use Bush’s removal from the jury as a basis for any possible appeal. Oden said he instructed Lastovica “to make sure the defense attorney can’t complain about this later. And the cleanest thing would be for him to make the motion to excuse the governor.” Oden added, “With that agreed-upon script, the lawyers came out of Crain’s chambers and Wahlberg made the motion.”

Oden believed that he was purposely misled by Bush and Gonzales in an effort to avoid jury service. Oden told Salon that Bush “used his position as governor” to avoid having to answer potentially embarrassing questions about his past. Oden charged that Bush’s failure to answer some of the questions on his jury questionnaire, coupled with his lawyer’s efforts to get Bush excused because he might someday be called on to pardon the offender, was part of an effort to deceive prosecutors and others. Oden added, “It’s logical to see that there may have been motives at work that none of us knew about. But at the time, we were just trying to be courteous to the governor.”

Oden also criticized Bush for failing to fully answer a questionnaire given to prospective jurors. It asked: “Have you ever been an accused, or a complainant, or a witness in a criminal case?” Given Bush’s arrest in Maine, he should have checked the space next to “accused.” Instead, it was left blank. A couple of other questions were also ignored, though most of the queries were answered.

Wahlberg confirmed Oden’s version of the events. He told Salon that Gonzales’ argument that Bush could not serve because he might be called upon to pardon him was “laughable.” But Wahlberg said that he made the motion to excuse Bush because “it was a foregone conclusion” the governor would be excused, and it was also in the best interest of his client. Wahlberg’s client was later convicted and sentenced to probation.

At the time of Bush’s dismissal, the Houston Chronicle (October 9, 1996) reported that it was “a development that allowed him to avoid potentially embarrassing questions about whether he had ever climbed behind the wheel after drinking.” After being struck from jury service, Bush was asked if he had ever been arrested for driving while intoxicated. He answered, “I do not have a perfect record as a youth.”

As chief legal counsel for Governor Bush in Texas, Gonzales was responsible for writing a memo on the facts of each death penalty case. Bush decided whether a defendant should live or die based on the memos. The Gonzales memoranda showed that he repeatedly failed to apprise the governor of crucial issues in the cases at hand. These included ineffective counsel, conflict of interest, mitigating evidence, and actual evidence of innocence.

Gonzales’ memos caused Bush frequently to approve executions based on “only the most cursory briefings on the issues in dispute.” Gonzales never informed Bush of the conflicting circumstances in a case. (Atlantic Monthly, July/August 2003)

While serving as White House counsel from 2001 to 2004, Gonzales approved memos that exempted portions of the Geneva Convention authorized torture.

In a January 25, 2002 memo written by Gonzales, he said “the war against terrorism is a new kind of war” and “this new paradigm renders obsolete Geneva's strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners and renders quaint some of its provisions.” The purpose of the memo was to make Al Qaeda and Taliban detainees exempt from the Geneva Conventions’ provisions on the proper, legal treatment of prisoners. (Newsweek, May 24, 2004)

This memo indicated that Gonzales was aware of the risk that ignoring the Geneva Conventions could create for the military. One concern expressed was the failure to apply the Geneva Conventions could undermine United States military culture which emphasized maintaining the highest standards of conduct in combat, and could introduce an element of uncertainty in the status of adversaries. Secretary of State Powell strongly warned against taking this decision, as did lawyers from the Judge Advocate General's Corps. (Alberto Gonzales’s memo of January 25, 2002; Bloomberg, June 14, 2004; New York Times, November 9, 2004)

An August 2002 Justice Department was drafted by Gonzales after he met with Defense Department general counsel William Haynes and Vice President Cheney’s counsel David Addington. The memo included the opinion that laws prohibiting torture did not apply to the president’s detention and interrogation of enemy combatants. (Alberto Gonzales’ memo of August 1, 2002; (Newsweek, June 21, 2004; Washington Post, June 27, 2004; New York Times, June 27, 2004)

Furthermore, the August 2002 memo included the opinion that the pain caused by an interrogation must include “injury such as death, organ failure, or serious impairment of body functions -- in order to constitute torture.” The methods outlined in the memo raised concerns within the CIA about possible violation of the federal torture law. It also caused concerns with the FBI, where some agents knew of the techniques being used overseas on high-level al Qaeda officials. (Alberto Gonzales’ memo of August 1, 2002; (Newsweek, June 21, 2004; Washington Post, June 27, 2004; New York Times, June 27, 2004)

ATTORNEY GENERAL GONZALES. After John Ashcroft resigned his post as attorney general after four years, Bush appointed Gonzalez to head the DOJ. Soon after 9/11, Gonzales became heavily involved in writing memos that suggested the Bush administration sidestep the Geneva Conventions.

The United States ratified the United Nations Convention Against Torture that stated, “No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability, or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.”

On September 25, the Justice Department sent a memo to Gonzales saying there were no limits on Bush’s powers to respond to the attacks and, in the first known statement of Bush's pre-emptive doctrine. The memo also stated that Bush could deploy military force preemptively against any country he suspected of harboring terrorists whether or not they could be linked to the specific terror incidents of 9/11. It also said Bush’s decisions were for him alone and were unreviewable.

In early 2002, Gonzales approved a memo which said Bush was not bound by laws prohibiting torture and that government agents who might torture prisoners at his direction could not be prosecuted by the Justice Department. In the memo, Gonzales advised Bush that he had the authority to approve almost any physical or psychological action during interrogation, up to and including torture. Once the memo was made public, Gonzales backtracked, saying the memo contained unnecessary, over-broad discussions about abstract legal theories. He also said the policy was under review, and may be replaced, if appropriate, with more concrete guidance addressing only those issues necessary for the legal analysis of actual practices.

The Supreme Court ruled in June 2004 that citizens and non-citizens detained by the government -- even those deemed “enemy combatants” by the Bush administration -- had the right to challenge their detention in front of a neutral arbiter. The court rejected Bush and Gonzales’ position that, as commander-in-chief during a time of war, the president had the unilateral power to detain individuals indefinitely without due process of law.

In late 2004, the Justice Department recently released a new memo redefining the Bush administration’s stance on torture. This policy, however, did not address the question of whether Bush was entitled to disregard laws and treaties.


After Paul O’Neill was forced to resign in December 2002, John Snow was tabbed to head the Department of Treasury. Snow’s ties to Dick Cheney dated back to the 1970s, when Snow served as deputy undersecretary of the Transportation Department and administrator of the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration under President Ford. At that time, Cheney served as chief of staff.

Snow operated CSX, a freight and transportation conglomerate that was based in Richmond, Virginia. CSX operated the largest rail freight network in the eastern United States. A opponent of government subsidies, Snow quickly accepted federal aid when CSX was in trouble. (The Nation, December 21, 2001)

CSX paid no federal income tax at all. In fact, instead of paying taxes, CSX supplemented its $934 million in pretax United States profits over the four years with a total of $164 million in tax rebate checks from the federal government. (, December 12, 2002)

As Secretary of Treasury, Snow was in a position to deliver for CSX and other corporations to which he is tied as a former chairman of the Business Roundtable. This was the foremost business policy group that was comprised of 250 chief executive officers of the nation’s largest companies. During his tenure as Chairman from 1994 through 1996, he played a major role in supporting passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement and working on the deficit reduction agreement. As Secretary of Treasury, Snow was in a position to deliver for the Business Roundtable.


Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill served as CEO of Alcoa and previously CEO of International Paper as well as having served on the boards of Eastman Kodak and Lucent Technologies. In June, the Democratic leadership began focusing on Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill. He was still hanging on to $100 million in stock and options in Alcoa Incorporated, of which he was chairman before he joined the Bush administration. O’Neill promised to sell his holdings during a television interview on March 25.

Dan Bartlett, a deputy assistant to Bush, attempted to downplay the publicity, claiming that the Democrats were engaging in “politically motivated fishing expeditions.” Michele Davis, a Treasury spokeswoman, said the treasury secretary began divesting his Alcoa stock in April and would sell all of it by mid-June. (Washington Post, June 17, 2001)

Two months after he accepted the Treasury Department post, O’Neill decided to divest himself of about $100 million in Alcoa stock and options. It appeared to have resulted from two factors. One was his realization that if he did not divest, he could wind up spending more time with his lawyers than with Bush. The other was that his insistence on holding the stock had made some people in the administration uncomfortable, in view of Bush’s pledges to set a new moral tone in Washington. (Washington Post, March 27, 2001) Federal law says that government officials may not “personally and substantially” participate in matters that “directly and predictably” affect an entity in which they have a financial interest. O’Neill had earlier promised to recuse himself from all decisions directly related to Alcoa.


After Snow was pressured out in the spring of 2006, he was replaced by Henry Paulson who served as chairman of Goldman Sachs. Paulson had a sharply veered from the White House’s position on global warming.

Several times, Paulson’s positions directly contradicted and criticized the Bush administration’s environmental policies. He called on the government to take “urgent” action to curb greenhouse emissions. He and his wife have been some of the biggest donors to the pro-environment League of Conservation Voters, which had said Bush was on his way to “compiling the worst environmental record of any president” in the history of the United States. (Washington Post, May 31, 2006)

Additionally, while Bush has asserted that “Kyoto would have wrecked our economy, Paulson as chairman of the Nature Conservancy, issued a statement saying, “The Kyoto Protocol is a key step to slow down the onslaught of global warming (The Nature Conservancy, February 16, 2005; MSNBC, June 30, 2005)

Goldman Sachs, under Paulson's leadership, also argued that global warming “requires the urgent attention of and action by governments, business, consumers and civil society to curb greenhouse gas emissions.” (Goldman Sachs Environmental Policy Framework)


Presidential advisor Karl Rove owned between $100,000 and $250,000 worth of shares in Enron. He also held similar amounts in American Express, General Electric, Pfizer, Boeing, Johnson & Johnson, Cisco Systems, Wells Fargo, and Intel. Documents showed that he owned more than $200,000 worth of two big drug companies, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson. Rove also had more than $30,000 in two oil companies, BP Amoco and Royal Dutch Shell. (Newsweek, June 25, 2001)

Rove also owned $100,000 in Intel stocks. The White House said that Rove referred the Intel executive, Craig Barrett, to the National Economic Council, which was dealing with the issue of a Dutch company that was planning to buy a key Intel supplier. Barrett, through a spokesman, Chuck Mulloy, said that he “had no recollection of what Mr. Rove’s reaction was” on the question of the acquisition. The same day, Barrett also met with Vice President Cheney and raised the issue, but Cheney appeared unfamiliar with it, Intel officials said. The administration approved the sale of the supplier, Silicon Valley Group, to the Dutch company, as Intel officials had urged. But it stipulated that a part of the company had to be spun off because its technology was used in spy satellites. (New York Times, June 16, 2001)

In June, the White House acknowledged that Rove met with two lobbyists from the pharmaceutical industry, while he owned nearly a quarter of a million dollars worth of stock in a pair of drug companies. He had what the White House described as an introductory meeting June 5 with Alan Holmer, president of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, and former Minnesota Congressman Vin Weber, a lobbyist whose clients included the pharmaceutical trade group. Jackie Cottrell, a spokeswoman for the group, said, “They talked very generally about prescription drug coverage and Medicare reform and how to expand access to prescription drugs for seniors, issues we’ve been talking about for a long time.” Rove’s paperwork, enabling him to defer payment on capital gains taxes, was being processed by the Office of Government Ethics at the time. (Associated Press, July 20, 2001)

Rove sold all 23 of his individual stocks for $1.5 million within two days of the drug industry meeting. According to White House spokeswoman Anne Womack, “Karl was fully aware of ethical regulations and has abided by them at all times. On broad policy issues it is completely appropriate for Karl as senior adviser to the president to meet with constituent groups.” (Associated Press, July 20, 2001)

However, California Democratic Congressman Henry Waxman critized the meeting, saying, “If someone is in a key policy position at the White House, he should not be meeting with executives from corporations where he owns a substantial amount of stock. Waxman urged the Justice Department to investigate Rove for possibly violating the conflict of interest law.

At the March 13 Intel meeting, the computer-chip maker’s executives made a pitch to Rove for a high-tech merger which the Bush administration approved less than two months later. The White House also acknowledged that Rove participated in meetings on the Bush administration's energy policy while he owned stocks in energy companies, including Enron Corporation. (Associated Press, July 20, 2001)


Bush’s choice as ambassador to the United Nations was Negroponte, the former ambassador to Honduras during Iran-Contra. Negroponte was a central player in the paramilitary war when the Contras were operating out of Honduras, just to the north of Nicaragua. He was known during his 1981-85 tenure as ambassador as “the Proconsul,” a title implying that Honduras was his country. It was said that three people ran Honduras: Negroponte, military chief General Gustavo Alvarez Martinez, and the president. But the president wielded no power.

When Negroponte arrived in Tegucigalpa in November 1981, relations quickly became strained with Alavarez. The general resented American control over his military, despite the enormous funds funneled in from Washington. And Negroponte objected to the power wielded by Alvarez.

As ambassador to Honduras from 1981 to 1985, American aid grew from $4 million to $77.4 million. During his tenure, the United States launched a covert war against Nicaragua and trained Honduran military to support the Contras. Negroponte worked closely with Alvarez to enable the training of Honduran soldiers in psychological warfare, sabotage, and many types of human rights violations, including torture and kidnapping. Honduran and Salvadoran military were sent to the School of the Americas to receive training in counter-insurgency directed against people of their own country. The CIA created the infamous Honduran Intelligence Battalion 3-16 that was responsible for the murder of many Sandinistas. General Luis Alonso Discua Elvir, a graduate of the School of the Americas, was a founder and commander of Battalion 3-16. In 1982, the US negotiated access to airfields in Honduras and established a regional military training center for Central American forces, principally directed at improving fighting forces of the Salvadoran military. (Sister Laetitia Bordes, Our Hearts Were Broken)

In 1994, the Honduran Human Rights Commission outlined the torture and disappearance of at least 184 political opponents. It also specifically accused Negroponte of a number of human rights violations.

Negroponte was the acknowledged “boss” of the early covert Contra operations. He also worked closely with the Honduran military commander, whose forces aided the covert war, while his embassy consistently denied participating in or being cognizant of atrocities. (The Nation, May 7, 2001)

Operation Olancho, carried out by Battalion 316, led to the arrest of 96 guerrillas and the disappearance of James Francis Carney, an American Jesuit priest. He had come to Honduras in 1983 as a chaplain to a revolutionary group, which included Baez Cruz, a Nicaraguan-American who had served in the United States special forces. On July 19, 1983, Carney and the other 95 guerrillas, calling themselves the PRTCH (Central American Workers Revolutionary Party in Honduras), marched from Nicaragua into Honduras, hoping to incite a rebellion against the Honduran government. The Honduran military, using American helicopters, spotted the group in Olancho province. Battalion 316 captured the group, and many were displayed for the media at a news conference September 19, 1983. In a letter to Negroponte, Alvarez thanked the ambassador for the “aerial transport offered to our troops” in Olancho. It was unclear whether Negroponte ever received the letter, but the Los Angeles Times (May 7, 2001) received a copy of the memo and confirmed its contents.

However, the fate of some of the guerrillas, including Carney, never became known. The priest’s family members contacted the embassy to demand an investigation into rumors that Carney and other members of the group had been tortured and killed by Honduran military officials. Alvarez wrote Negroponte on October 15, 1983, to ask him for help in dealing with the attention raised by the Carney family’s persistent questioning.

Two days after Alvarez wrote to Negroponte, the CIA issued the first of two memos on the Olancho operation and Carney’s fate, according to a 1997 report by the CIA inspector general that was declassified two years ago under the Freedom of Information Act. According to a 1997 CIA inspector general’s report, American officials in Honduras were aware of serious violations of human rights by the Honduran military during the 1980s but did not adequately report this to Congress. The American embassy suppressed sensitive data during Negroponte’s tenure. The report said that the memos indicated that Carney had probably starved to death in the jungle. Of equal concern, the two memos also said that at least nine of the captured rebels, including the rebel leader, had been summarily executed by the military.

The army never explained the circumstances of the priest’s death, suggesting only that he probably starved in the mountains. Five years later, in 1988, the New York Times reported that a former officer of the Honduran army said he personally had interrogated Carney. Carney’s body was never found, and the people responsible for his death were never identified. (Los Angeles Times, April 19, 2001)

The CIA inspector general’s report cited a source whose name has been blacked out who “believes that the embassy country team in Honduras wanted reports on subjects such as this to be benign to avoid Congress looking over its shoulders.” In a section with repeated references to the capture and execution of Jose Maria Reyes Mata who was the political leader of the group. The CIA report cited another person whose name had been deleted as explaining “the basis for no further reporting on the prisoner executions -- the event had been reported previously and there was concern on the part of Negroponte that over-emphasis would create an unwarranted human rights problem for Honduras.” Among his conclusions, the CIA inspector general stated: “The ambassador was particularly sensitive regarding the issue and was concerned that earlier CIA reporting on the same topic might create a human rights problem for Honduras. Based on the ambassador's reported concerns, (blacked out) actively discouraged (blacked out) from following up the information reported by the (blacked out) source.” (Los Angeles Times, April 19, 2001)

In November 1983, the United States Army Intelligence and Security Command received reports that Alvarez himself had approved the executions. This information was put into a draft report that was given to various agencies but never officially disseminated, according to the inspector general’s report. Negroponte never reported the information, telling associates he had concerns about the source of the Army report. A colleague said there were questions about whether the killings were carried out by Honduran soldiers or by American-supported Contras in Nicaragua. Negroponte was particularly concerned that the Army report might cause a human rights problem for Honduras, according to several embassy officials interviewed for the inspector general’s report. (Los Angeles Times, May 7, 2001)

Negroponte denied that he suppressed information about human rights violations. However, he did acknowledge that there were hundreds of articles in local papers about state-sponsored kidnappings and killings as well as regular demonstrations in the capital by relatives of missing people. In confirmation hearings for a subsequent ambassadorship to Mexico, Negroponte acknowledged “isolated incidents” of violations but denied there was a pattern of officially sponsored kidnapping, torture, or killing of political opponents.

When confirmation hearings began in the Senate, amazingly, Secretary of State Powell called Negroponte “one of the most distinguished foreign service officers and American public servants I have ever known.” (USA Today, July 23, 2001)

Jose Miguel Vivanco, director of the Americas division for Human Rights Watch, commented, “What was extremely frustrating and disappointing was that Negroponte was the U.S. ambassador and he was ... unaware of any relevant human-rights problems at that time in Honduras. That raises a lot of questions, particularly taking into account that Negroponte, according to everyone who has ever worked with him, is a diplomat with very, very solid skills.” (USA Today, July 23, 2001)

Negroponte also refused to act on kidnapping of 33 women who had come to Honduras to escape El Salvador death squads after the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero in 1980. One of them had been Romero’s secretary. In 1981, they were kidnapped from their living quarters in Tegucigalpa.

Sister Laetitia Bordes led a delegation in Honduras to find out their fate. In her book, Our Hearts Were Broken, the delegation met with Negroponte who denied any knowledge of the whereabouts of these women. He insisted that the American embassy did not interfere in the affairs of the Honduran government, and he suggested that they terminate their search.

It was not until the 1990s that Sister Bordes learned the fate of the missing women. In an interview with the Baltimore Sun in 1996, Jack Binns, Negroponte’s predecessor as American ambassador in Honduras, told how the group was captured on April 22, 1981. The women were savagely tortured by the DNI, the Honduran Secret Police, before being placed in helicopters of the Salvadoran military. After take off from the airport in Tegucigalpa, the victims were thrown out of the helicopters. Four children had been captured with the women. They were turned over to the Salvadoran military and their whereabouts are unknown. Binns told the Baltimore Sun that the North American authorities were well aware of what had happened and that it was a grave violation of human rights. But it was seen as part of Ronald Reagan’s counterinsurgency policy. (Sister Laetitia Bordes, Our Hearts Were Broken)

At his confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Negroponte denied covering up human rights abuses while ambassador to Honduras. The panel approved the nomination 14 to 3 and sent it to the Senate floor for a confirmation vote. (Los Angeles Times, September 14, 2001)



In March 2005, Bush appointed career diplomat John Bolton, an outright adversary of the United Nations, to head the international body. He was infamous as a right-wing ideologue and unilateralist opposed to anything and everything that smacked of United States cooperation with or support for the United Nations.

For four months, Democratic senators threatened to filibuster his appointment. Finally, after Congress recessed in early August, Bush appointed Bolton. He was the first United States ambassador to the United Nations to hold office without Senate confirmation.

P>Bolton had been a partner at the prestigious law firm Covington & Burling. After his stint in the George H.W. Bush administration, Bolton was “not invited to return” to his law firm because of abusive treatment of subordinates. A woman working for the United States Agency for International Development reported that, when Bolton was a private lawyer for an AID subcontractor, Bolton allegedly threatened her and threw documents at her. (Los Angeles Times, April 20, 2004)

During the Reagan administration, Bolton conducted a review for the Justice Department to determine if any senior administration officials were involved in supplying arms to the Nicaraguan Contras. He also served as point-person in the doomed nomination of Robert Bork to the Supreme Court. (Center for American Progress, March 8, 2005)

In that capacity, he resisted all efforts by Congress to investigate the Justice Department role in the Iran-Contra affair, as well as efforts by Sen. John Kerry to investigate drug and gun-running by the Nicaraguan contras in the mid-1980s. (Center for American Progress, March 8, 2005)

In the George Herbert Bush administration, Bolton served as assistant secretary of state for international organizations. In 1992, when he was Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs, Bolton opposed the United Nations Development Program for a $2 million grant to an organization that was little more than a pension fund for a conservative colleague. In 1993 he joined first the right-wing Manhattan Institute and then the neo-conservative-dominated American Enterprise Institute (AEI). ,The Nation, April 13, 1992; New York Times, March 8, 2005)

At the 1994 Global Structures Convocation, Bolton trashed the United Nations. He said, “There is no such thing as the United Nations. … There is an international community that occasionally can be led by the only real power left in the world and that is the United States when it suits our interest and when we can get others to go along. And I think it would be a real mistake to count on the U.N. as if it is some disembodied entity out there that can function on its own.” (Global Structures Convocation, February 3, 1994)

In 1996, Bolton took a swipe at Europeans who opposed the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act. He said, “Some Europeans have never lost faith in appeasement as a way of life. It is clear that Iran is cynically manipulating gullible (or equally cynical) Europeans to advance its development of weapons of mass destruction. (New York Times, July 28, 1996)

Bolton was also a long-time activist in the Federalist Society, an association of right-wing, nationalistic lawyers who was particularly opposed to the application of international or foreign law in their decisions, a practice that they say threatens United States sovereignty. The Society was strongly opposed to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that sought the adoption of international law and standards in the United States. Along with AEI, the Society sponsors “NGOWatch” which sought to expose such efforts, as well as the funding sources of NGOs that take such positions. (New York Times, March 8, 2005)

After George W. Bush was elected president, Bolton advocated withdrawing from the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty and railed against “nation-building”, international arms-control agreements, and threats supposedly posed to United States sovereignty by the United Nations and its Secretary-General Kofi Annan. At one point, Bolton suggested simply halting United States payments to the world body. He called the International Criminal Court the product of “fuzzy-minded romanticism (that) is not just naïve, but dangerous.” He spearheaded the Bush administration’s opposition to the court, declaring that the day he signed the letter withdrawing the United States signature on the treaty was “the happiest moment of my government service.” (New York Times, March 8, 2005)

1. In 2001, Bolton shocked foreign delegations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) at the United Nations Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons. He announced that the Bush administration would oppose any attempt to regulate the trade in firearms or non-military rifles or any other effort that would “abrogate the constitutional right to bear arms.”

2. Bolton played a similar role several months later when, amid the public shock that followed 9/11 and the anthrax scare, he single-handedly sabotaged a United Nations meeting to create an international verification protocol.

3. Bolton promoted Bush’s Proliferation Security Initiative, a coalition designed to halt trade in nuclear materials that bypassed the United Nations. (New York Times, March 8, 2005)

4. Bolton warned of threats from foreign governments when others in the administration didn't concur. In 2002, he delivered a stern speech warning that Fidel Castro was beginning a germ weapon program. (Los Angeles Times, March 7, 2005)

5. Bolton sought to replace two intelligence officials, Fulton Armstrong and Christian Westermann. Bolton was angry that they would not back his false claims that Cuba had a bioweapons program. Outraged, Bolton tried to have them “reassigned.” (International Herald Tribune, April 18, 2005)

6. Once asked why he opposed offering incentives to North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program, Bolton said: “I don’t do carrots.” (Los Angeles Times, March 7, 2005)

7. In July 2003, just before crucial six-nation talks with North Korea, Bolton so insulted the country that the State Department was forced to call him home. (Fox News, August 3, 2004)

8. While at the State Department, Bolton allegedly sought to toughen intelligence assessments of Syria as late as the summer of 2003. This came after the American failure to find illicit weapons in Iraq had raised alarms about the danger of inflated intelligence. During Bolton’s nomination hearings, Senator Joe Biden requested documents related to Bolton and Syrian intelligence from the State Department. However, the State Department refused to comply with the request because it was not approved by committee Chairman Richard Lugar. (New York Times, May 5, 2005)

9. In November 2003, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw complained to Secretary of State Powell that Bolton made it impossible to reach allied agreement on Iran’s nuclear program. Bolton insisted on a hard-line position. An aide to Powell was forced to interview experts in Bolton’s own Nonproliferation Bureau to obtain their actual recommendations and resolve the issue. (Newsweek, May 2, 2005)

10. As under secretary for arms control and international security, Bolton had Mathew Freedman on the payroll. Freedman described himself as an “intermittent part-time expert foreign-affairs consultant” and was paid $110,000 a year in taxpayer money. (Interview of Matthew Freedman in regard to the Bolton nomination, May 4, 2005)

11. Lynne Finney, a therapist in Utah, charged that Bolton mistreated her when they worked in the General Counsel’s Office at the United States Agency for International Development. She said, “'He yelled that if I didn't obey him, he would fire me. 'I said I could not live with myself if even one baby died because of something I did. … He screamed that I was fired.” (Boston Globe, April 25, 2005)

A number of former Republican and Democratic diplomats spoke out against Bolton’s confirmation. They included: Arthur Hartman, ambassador to France and the Soviet Union under Presidents Carter and Reagan and assistant secretary of state for European affairs under President Nixon; James Leonard, deputy ambassador to the United Nations in the Ford and Carter administrations; Princeton Lyman, ambassador to South Africa and Nigeria under Presidents Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Clinton; Monteagle Stearns, ambassador to Greece and Ivory Coast in the Ford, Carter, and Reagan administrations; and Spurgeon Keeny Jr., deputy director of the Arms Control Agency in the Carter administration. (Associated Press, March 29, 2005)

Bolton provided inaccurate information to Congress during his confirmation hearing in the spring of 2005. In a form submitted to the Senate Foreign Relations committee, Bolton said he had not been interviewed or asked for information in connection with any administrative investigation, including that of an inspector general, during the last five years.

That was not true. Bolton had been interviewed by the State Department’s inspector general looking into how American intelligence agencies came to rely on fabricated reports that Iraq had tried to buy uranium from Africa. He only admitted it after being caught red-handed. In August, Senator Joseph Biden sent a letter to Secretary of State Rice informing her that Bolton was interviewed on July 18, 2003 by the State Department Office of the Inspector General. Hours later, through a State Department spokesperson, Bolton conceded that the form, as submitted, was inaccurate.



Bush nominated Reich, former ambassador to Venezuela, to be Assistant Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere. An anti-Castro Cuban-American, Reich was also a key player in the Contra war. In 1983, CIA specialist Walter Raymond handpicked Reich to head the Office of Public Diplomacy. Reich’s office was directly accountable to Raymond and to Oliver North in the White House. A General Accounting Office review showed that Reich’s office repeatedly provided sole source contracts to other members of North’s network, including those involved in illegal fund-raising for arms. More important, a Comptroller General’s review concluded that Reich’s office had “engaged in prohibited, covert propaganda activities designed to influence the media and the public.” (The Nation, May 7, 2001)

Reich was engaged in “white propaganda” operations where he was responsible for placing articles in the press and for influencing newspaper and television coverage. Attempting to influence public opinion, Reich used “persuasive communications” when news coverage was not favorable to the Reagan administration’s position. National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered” investigated Contra human rights violations. According to The Nation, “Reich demanded a meeting with its editors, producers and reporters, at which he informed them that his office was ‘monitoring’ all their programs and that he considered NPR to be biased against the Contras and US policy.”

Reich was also a partner in the Brock Group, a lobbying firm that according to Justice Department. Reich advised Jesse Helms’s office on the drafting of the 1996 Helms-Burton legislation which tightened the embargo against Cuba. Another Reich organization, the American-Cuba Business Council, received more than $520,000 in United States Agency for International Development money for anti-Castro work supporting the goals of the Helms-Burton law. (The Nation, May 7, 2001)

Reich’s only diplomatic background was his 1986 post as ambassador to Venezuela. Very unpopular among Venezuelan leaders, Reich was responsible for the case of terrorist Orlando Bosch who was jailed in Caracas on charges of masterminding the bombing of an Air Cubana flight that killed 73 people in 1976. Years after he was convicted, a Venezuela court released Bosch in 1987, and Reich sent a letter to the State Department, requesting a permit for Bosch to enter the United States. Bosch subsequently entered the United States illegally and was detained on parole violation charges related to terrorism and threatened with deportation because, according to the Justice Department.

With John Walters’ appointment to head the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy as drug czar, Bush added another name to the litany of White House officials’ names from the far right. The president refused to appoint someone who professed a balance between working to interdict drug producers abroad and treatment for drug addicts at home. It would be difficult to have found anyone more contentious than Walters to lead the war on drugs. His simplistic hard line approach was to punish drug users -- to incarcerate those convicted of crimes rather than to deal with the health aspect of the problem.

The unethical president waited for Congress to adjourn for the Christmas and New Years holidays. Then he signed recess appointments for both Reich as the chief diplomat in Latin America and Eugene Scalia as the top lawyer for the Labor Department. (New York Times, January 12, 2002)


Bush considered appointing Elliott Abrams to a National Security Council staff position that did not require Senate approval. During a Nightline interview in 1985, he denied that the American-funded Salvadoran military had slaughtered civilians at two sites. He said, “My memory is that we did, but I don’t want to swear to it, because I’d have to go back and look at the cables.”(The Nation, July 2, 2001)

Earlier, two American journalists had reported that an America-trained military unit had massacred hundreds of villagers in El Mozote, Abrams told Congress that the story was fabricated -- but the massacre was since confirmed. Later in 1993, the United Nations Truth Commission examined 22,000 atrocities that occurred during the twelve-year civil war in El Salvador and attributed 85 percent of the abuses to the Reagan-assisted right-wing military and its death-squad allies. But Abrams declared, “The Administration’s record on El Salvador is one of fabulous achievement.”(The Nation, July 2, 2001)

When the Boland Amendment stopped congressional aid to the Contras in the 1980s, Abrams said that lawmakers who blocked Contra aid would have “blood on their hands.” Simultaneously, Abrams defended American support for a right-wing military government in Guatemala. Abrams worked secretly -- with Oliver North of the National Security Council and the CIA’s Alan Fiers -- to send weapons to the Contras in Honduras.

In 1986, the CIA was caught red-handed supplying the Contras with weapons after the Boland Amendment had cut off all aid. A Contra plane was shot down over Nicaragua and CIA-operant Eugene Hasenfus bailed out and was captured. Abrams was called to testify on several occasions before Congress where he withheld information on the Reagan administration’s connection to “the Enterprise” -- the covert Contra-support network. He also hid from Congress the fact that he had flown to London where he used the name “Mr. Kenilworth” to solicit a $10 million contribution for the Contras from the Sultan of Brunei. Later in 1994, Abrams defended North who was accused of having ignored Contra ties to drug dealers. Abrams claimed “all of us who ran that program ... were absolutely dedicated to keeping it completely clean and free of any involvement by drug traffickers.” Yet earlier in 1998, the CIA’s own inspector general concluded that the Reagan Administration had collaborated with suspected drug traffickers while managing the secret Contra war. (The Nation, July 2, 2001)

During a closed-door congressional hearing in the 1980s, Democratic Senator Thomas Eagleton castigated Abrams for having misled legislators, noting that Abrams’s misrepresentations could lead to “slammer time.” Abrams disagreed, saying, “You’ve heard my testimony. Eagleton responded, “I’ve heard it, and I want to puke.” On another occasion, Republican Senator Dave Durenberger complained, “I wouldn’t trust Elliott any further than I could throw Ollie North.” (The Nation, July 2, 2001)


It appeared as if John Walters understood the drug problem. He favored an accelerated battle against drugs at their source in Latin America, but he incorrectly claimed that foreign interdiction programs were cheap and effective. Interdiction abroad could not succeed alone if an effort was not made to curtail the demand for drugs at home. Many experts maintained that treatment programs for addicts were more cost-effective than enforcement and interdiction in reducing drug use. Yet, drug treatment programs were available to only about half of the nation’s addicts. Nearly two-thirds of the federal government’s $19.2 billion annual drug-fighting budget was spent on interdiction and enforcement.

Bush’s selection of Walters was baffling, since the president professed that the nation’s drug problem could best be solved by reducing demand at home, not by eradicating supply from abroad, since he himself acknowledged his own problems with alcohol earlier in life. Bush often spoke of addiction as an “illness” and emphasized the need to reduce demand in the United States. But by choosing Walters, Bush made it clear that he preferred military and law enforcement solutions to the problem -- rather than effective treatment strategies.

Walters previously worked at the Department of Education, where he headed the Schools. Without Drugs prevention program and then served under William Bennett, who was drug czar in the administration of the elder Bush. Walters was president of the Philanthropy Roundtable, an association that advises more than 600 donors to charities. He served as president of the New Citizenship Project which promoted the role of religion in public life. He also served as acting drug policy director briefly in 1993. He quit in protest when President Clinton sharply reduced the office’s staff and announced that he was redirecting anti-narcotics policy to focus on hard-core users, while de-emphasizing enforcement and interdiction.

In 1996, Walters testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee, criticizing the Clinton’s administration failing policy in the war against drugs. Walters castigated the White House’s “liberal commitment to a therapeutic state in which government serves as the agent of personal rehabilitation.” He testified that doctors, who recommended medical marijuana, should lose their prescription privileges. And the May 2001 Supreme Court ruling that terminated medical marijuana gave him authority to act on his convictions. (New York Times, May 11, 2001 and Washington Post, May 11, 2001)

Along with John DiIulio, head of the White House office on faith-based and community initiatives, Walters wrote a book on crime and drugs in 1997. The two supported the theory that a higher number of the nation’s youth would engage in crime and drugs, leading to a sharp increase in the level of teenage violence. They proposed tougher prison sentences for violent felons -- marijuana smugglers and repeat offenders. But they expressed a more lenient attitude toward first-time drug users.

Not all Republicans shared the Bush administration’s approach to the nation’s drug problems. Connecticut Governor John Rowland lobbied fellow Republicans to address the unfairness of the criminal justice system and to support efforts to divert drug offenders into treatment. New York Governor George Pataki called for significant reform of his state’s drug laws. Tommy Thompson, head of the Department of Health and Human Services, appointed Scott Evertz who supported needle exchange, as the new “AIDS czar.” New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson went a step farther, believing that the largest drug problems had more to do with drug prohibition than drug use. (New York Times, May 18, 2001) Drug prohibition has been one of the biggest threats to the United States. It has led to gang warfare in the ghetto, racial profiling, and illegal police raids. It has threatened to tear apart the inner cities. And plenty of drug money has been funneled into right wing dictatorships in Latin America.

A coalition of civil rights and health groups opposed Walters, since he would likely sacrifice prevention and rehabilitation programs in favor of punishing users. The Coalition for Compassionate Leadership on Drug Policy, the Justice Policy Institute, and NAACP also criticized Bush’s choice for drug czar. The groups were concerned that young Blacks were disproportionately jailed on drug charges. They also pointed to Walters opposition to mandatory minimum sentencing requirements. (Los Angeles Times, September 7, 2001)


CIA Director George Tenet was pressured into stepping down after it became apparent that he had funneled disinformation on Saddam Hussein’s weapons program to the Bush administration. In the fall of 2004, Bush appointed Florida Republican Congressman Porter Goss as director of the CIA.

In 1979, Goss became involved in Nicaragua in an effort by the CIA to save the right-wing Somozo regime. Goss was part of a clandestine movement to that attempted to penetrate the ranks of the Sandinistas. He claimed that he was involved with Tomas Borge who later became a member of the Sandinista ruling council. Borges was subsequently the CIA ‘s point man in Nicaragua at the time the CIA was involved in drug trafficking during Iran-Contra.

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega himself was targeted and very nearly assassinated by the CIA early in 1980. That plot was foiled, when the KGB informed Ortega’s ruling council. Goss then had to leave Nicaragua.

Goss was supported by the Republican National Committee and particularly the Republican State committee of Florida because of his CIA background and his long-time friendship with the family of George Herbert Bush. In 1986, Goss was took responsibility for involvement in the Destin Country Club group, the Swissco management fraud, the Topsail Development Ltd. fraud, the Destin Dome development fraud, and various other Bush family frauds was revealed in the Washington Times. (

After 9/11, the bipartisan commission threatened the Bush administration by recommending limiting the power of the intelligence community. But on June 16, 2004, Florida Congressman Goss introduced legislation that would give Bush new authority to direct CIA agents to conduct law-enforcement operations inside the United States, including arresting American citizens. (Newsweek, August 11, 2004)

The legislation, introduced by Goss called for an “intelligence reform” bill that would substantially restructure the intelligence community by giving the director of CIA broad new powers to oversee its various components scattered throughout the government.

Goss’ bill was strongly opposed by civil liberties advocates since it redefined the authority of the DCI in such a way as to substantially alter, if not overturn, a 57-year-old ban on the CIA conducting operations inside the United States. (Newsweek, August 11, 2004)

Two months later, Bush rewarded his family friend by tabbing him to head the CIA. Bush applauded Goss for his bipartisan behavior in the House, even though Goss had numerous run-ins with Democrats on the other side of the aisle. One of the first decisions made by Goss was to suppress the agency’s controversial June 9/11 report until after the November election. (Los Angeles Times, October 19, 2004)

Goss immediately was dealt a blow when his choice of Michael Kostiw for executive director, the CIA’s No. 3 job, was withdrawn. In 1982, Kostiw was forced to leave the CIA, because he was caught shoplifting. (Newsweek, October 18, 2004)



In 2001, Bush chose Gale Norton to head the Interior Department. Previously, she had worked with the Mountain States Legal Foundation, an anti-environmental group funded by oil companies, and she was a member of “property rights” groups funded by Boise Cascade, Du Pont, and Louisiana Pacific. She also was elected national chairwoman of the Coalition for Republican Environmental Advocates, funded by the American Forest Paper Association, Amoco, Arco, the Chemical Manufacturers Association, and Ford. In May 2003, Whitman stepped down



Whitman was succeeded by Utah’s ex-governor Mike Leavitt. As governor, Leavitt championed a constitutional amendment to give states more power. He complained, “Mid-level federal bureaucrats are interpreting complex and far-reaching federal laws to micro-manage our water, our land, our air, our economies ... our very lives.” However, giving states more control at the expense of a strong federal role could lead to low standards of environmental protection, and could also create state pollution havens. The cost benefit was also a concern because they frequently overestimated the cost of regulations, while underestimating the environmental and health benefits. (Greenwire, May 23, 1994)

Leavitt failed to respond quickly to the release of harmful carcinogens from a magnesium plant on the Great Salt Lake, operated by the state’s biggest polluter. As governor of Utah, Leavitt had the second highest level of industrial toxic pollutants. (New York Times, August 13, 2003; Los Angeles Times, August 12, 2003)

Leavitt opposed the Kyoto Protocol on global warming. He adopted the National Governor’s Association policies on global climate change, which advocated for weak voluntary partnerships over the stronger Kyoto Protocol.(Friends of the Earth, NGA policy NR-11, Global Climate Change Domestic Policy 00-NGA3, and Global Climate Change International Policy 00-NGA4, August 15, 2000)

As governor, Leavitt championed the development of the Legacy Highway in the Salt Lake City area. The project would have cut through wetlands that are vital nesting habitats for millions of shorebirds. It also was criticized for its $1.4 billion cost to taxpayers, and in 1999 a coalition of environmental and taxpayer groups selected it as one of the ten worst road projects in the country. (Road to Ruin, Friends of the Earth, Taxpayers for Common Sense, 1999)

Leavitt led a purge of competent biologists from Utah’s Division of Wildlife Resources in the early 1990s. Many had been undergoing research that was opposed by development interests in the state, who were worried that the scientists might find endangered species near prime development sites. When the biologists were replaced, the positions were filled with biologists “told to refrain from identifying endangered species.” (Science Under Siege, Todd Wilkinson, 1998)

Leavitt settled behind closed doors with Secretary Norton in preventing the Bureau of Land Management from designating Wilderness Study Areas on the public lands it managed. This agreement put 6 million acres of Utah wilderness in jeopardy and opened the door to mining, drilling, and off-road vehicle use. The Outdoor Industry Association threatened to pull its annual trade convention out of Utah in the fall of 2003. (Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, 2003)

Leavitt signed another controversial agreement with Secretary Norton allowing for old rights-of-way claims to be recognized. This agreement permitted states to declare questionable trails as “constructed highways,” and thus they were subject to giveaway. This “pave the parks” deal could open national parks, wildlife refuges, national forests and other public lands to roadbuilding. The deal was criticized by 86 members of Congress who sent Norton a letter calling the agreement “directly contrary to law” and asking for the process to be stopped. (Salt Lake Tribune, April 25, 2003; Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, 2003)

An EPA report showed that under Leavitt, Utah had a high proportion of polluters emitting at unacceptable levels. Between 1999 and 2001, 30 percent of Utah facilities with federal licenses to release a specified amount of waste into waterways exceeded those limits. The national average was about 25 percent in 2001. (Time, September 8, 2003)

Bush’s dismal environmental record came under heavy attack during Leavitt’s Senate confirmation hearings. Democratic Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut asked, “Why does the White House reject clear evidence that global warming is a real and growing threat?. … Why will the White House not disclose information regarding the public health impact of its recent rollback of Clean Air standards?” (New York Times, September 23, 2003)

Democratic Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and John Edwards placed “holds” on Leavitt’s nomination. Clinton attempted to block the nomination until the administration answered questions about whether New Yorkers were misled about air quality after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Edwards demanded answers about changes in clean-air regulations. (New York Times, September 23, 2003)



In early 2005, Bush traveled to Europe with the hope of improving damaged relations. However, within weeks, he turned his back on the trans-Atlantic community by appointing two conservative unilateralists to high-level positions that affected Europe. Wolfowitz’s nomination shocked many among the bank’s 50,000-members in 84 nations. (Washington Post, March 17, 2005)

First, Bush tabbed John Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations. Then he chose neo-con Paul Wolfowitz to head the World Bank. Many European countries strongly opposed the American-led invasion of Iraq and viewed the nomination of Wolfowitz as deliberately provocative. Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) immediately launched a campaign to block Wolfowitz’s appointment. (New York Times, March 16, 2005; Interpresse Service, March 22, 2005)

Wolfowitz, a key neoconservative of the Bush administration, owed his post at the World Bank to the Bush administration, even though he had not served the president since 2005. As he prepared to sign a five-year contract in 2005 as president of the World Bank, Wolfowitz sent his personal lawyer, Robert Barnett, to negotiate the terms. Wolfowitz wanted more than a dozen amendments to the standard contract that had served the institution for decades. These included special dispensation for the books he would write and the paid speeches he planned to deliver, and a salary on par with that of the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, who was traditionally more highly paid. (Washington Post, April 15, 2007)

However, one problem was in an e-mail to general counsel Roberto Dañino. Wolfowitz insisted that, while he had earlier offered to recuse himself from all office matters involving bank employee and his girlfriend Shaha Riza, he insisted on retaining “professional contact” with her. This was something that the executive board later determined was a clear conflict of interest under personnel rules. (Washington Post, April 15, 2007)

Two years later in 2007, the Riza issue has come back to haunt Wolfowitz. The World Bank’s executive board considered what to do about revelations that Wolfowitz resolved the issue by personally arranging a bank salary and promotions for her in a temporary State Department post. (Washington Post, April 15, 2007)

Wolfowitz also ran into conflicts with the World Bank’s staff and governors. He clashed with the staff over pay packages and authority he gave to aides Robin Cleveland and Kevin Kellems, whom he brought to the bank from the White House, installed in senior positions and rewarded with open-ended contracts and quarter-million-dollar, tax-free salaries, despite their lack of development experience. (Washington Post, April 15, 2007)

Both the World Bank’s staff and management raised concerns over what several described as Wolfowitz’s insistence that the bank accelerate its lending to Iraq and open an office there. Although the bank eventually opened a $500 million loan program for Baghdad, the board took the unusual step of asking to be “regularly updated” on developments. (Washington Post, April 15, 2007; Government Accountability Project)

In December 2006, after a World Bank official turned down the Baghdad job, a committee interviewing other candidates reported that the pool of those willing and qualified was “extremely limited and particularly weak.” (Washington Post, April 15, 2007)

Another Wolfowitz initiative was a new anti-corruption strategy for countries receiving bank loans. But at a meeting in late 2006 in Singapore, bank governors rejected the proposal on the grounds that it would politicize the multilateral institution.

Subsequently, they attacked Wolfowitz’s budget proposal, saying it lacked a coherent strategy. Later, the banks governors accepted a revised anti-corruption plan, and Wolfowitz announced the appointment of a respected bank economist to launch a strategic review of bank operations. (Washington Post, April 15, 2007)

Wolfowitz also held up $800 million in lending to Indian health projects because of corrupt politicians in the Indian government. He froze loans to Chad because the government had reneged on its promise to use oil revenue for poverty reduction. He cancelled 14 road contracts in Bangladesh because of corrupt bidding. (Washington Post, April 15, 2007)

In May 2007, Wolfowitz finally stepped down soon as World Bank chief, marking another blow for Bush. Bush resolutely stood by its former deputy defense secretary as the month-long scandal over a pay package Wolfowitz secured for his girlfriend unfolded. (New York Times, May 18, 2007)



GOP Congressman Chris Cox of Pennsylvania was handpicked to chair the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the spring of 2005. In August, he was sworn in, replacing outgoing chairman William Donaldson.

While in Congress, Cox consistently sold out average Americans to the highest corporate bidder. Since he was first elected in 1989, Cox voted on major legislation involving corporate and accounting reform investor legal rights and protection of retirement investments. His only sole pro-investor vote was for the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, but each of seven votes Cox cast on amendments to the bill in committee or on the House floor was against stronger investor protection. (Public Citizen)

Cox championed the Public Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (PSLRA) -- a bill that set the stage for fraud at Enron and numerous other corporations. The bill provided extensive legal protection to corporate executives, accountants, and lawyers who made misleading statements. The bill was enacted into law over President Clinton’s veto after heavy lobbying from Andersen and the rest of the accounting industry. (Los Angeles Times, July 26, 2005)

Cox cast only one vote out of support of investors. He voted to ease conflict-of-interest standards for financial advisers. He voted against giving employees a seat on the board of directors of their own retirement plans. He voted against allowing employees to freely sell company stock held in their retirement plans. (Public Citizen)

In 1985, as a securities lawyer for Latham & Watkins, Cox wrote a letter on behalf of a client, First Pension Corporation to California securities regulators. He assured them that a new investment scheme dreamed up by First Pension CEO William Cooper was ‘low risk’ and designed to be ‘fair, just and equitable’ to investors. (Los Angeles Times, July 26, 2005)

As a result, this became one of the most flagrant con schemes in Orange Country history, costing thousands of investors as much as $130 million. Cox was named as a defendant in an investor lawsuit against First Pension. Attorney Michael Aguirre eventually agreed to drop him after he secured an agreement that Cox’s actions could be imputed to Latham & Watkins in assessing its legal liability. Aguirre later settled with Latham & Watkins on undisclosed terms. (Los Angeles Times, July 26, 2005)



As Bush’s ratings plummeted into the low 30 percent range in the spring of 2006, the White House either shuffled some high-level officials or asked them to leave. Press Secretary Scott McClellan was one of the victims in the White House shake-up.

Tony Snow replaced McClellan as White House press secretary in April. Snow gained prominence in 1991 as speechwriter for President George Herbert Bush. In the early 1990s, Snow defended some ideas of Louisiana gubernatorial candidate and Ku Klux Klansman David Duke. Snow said Duke supported some good conservative ideals, including family values and opposition to welfare dependency. (Los Angeles Times, April 27, 2006)

After Bill Clinton was elected in 1992, Snow hooked up with conservative Fox television where he served as a commentator for a decade. Once George W. Bush entered the Oval Office, Snow sought and was given “walk-in” privileges in the Oval Office and the chief of staff’s office, according to a veteran Republican advisor. That made Snow one of the few officials with unscheduled access to the president and chief of staff. (Los Angeles Times, April 27, 2006)

After Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005, Snow wrote that New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin was “more an entertainment figure than a statesman, just as New Orleans now is more a theme park with a port than a city of consequence.” (Los Angeles Times, April 27, 2006)

Even though Snow had access to the White House, he made comments that were an embarrassment for Bush:

Bush has “lost control of the federal budget and cannot resist the temptation to www.stop raiding the public fisc.”(, March 17, 2006)

“George W. Bush and his colleagues have become not merely the custodians of the largest government in the history of humankind, but also exponents of its vigorous expansion.” (, March 17, 2006)

“President Bush distilled the essence of his presidency in this year’s State of the Union Address: brilliant foreign policy and listless domestic policy.” (, February 3, 2006)

“George Bush has become something of an embarrassment.” (, November 11, 2005)

Bush “has a habit of singing from the Political Correctness hymnal.” (, October 7, 2005)

“No president has looked this impotent this long when it comes to defending presidential powers and prerogatives.” (, November 3, 2005)

Bush “has given the impression that [he] is more eager to please than lead, and that political opponents can get their way if they simply dig in their heels and behave like petulant trust-fund brats, demanding money and favor -- now!” (, November 30, 2005)

“When it comes to federal spending, George W. Bush is the boy who can’t say no. In each of his three years at the helm, the president has warned Congress to restrain its spending appetites, but so far nobody has pushed away from the table mainly because the president doesn’t seem to mean what he says.” (The Detroit News, December 28, 2003)

“The president doesn’t seem to give a rip about spending restraint.” (The Detroit News, December 28, 2003)

“Bush, for all his personal appeal, ultimately bolstered his detractors’ claims that he didn’t have the drive and work ethic to succeed.” (, November 16, 2000)

“Little in the character of demeanor of Al Gore or George Bush makes us say to ourselves: Now, this man is truly special! Little in our present peace and prosperity impels us to say: Give us a great man!” (, August 25, 2005)

“George W. Bush, meanwhile, talks of a pillowy America, full of niceness and goodwill. Bush has inherited his mother’s attractive feistiness, but he also got his father’s syntax. At one point last week, he stunned a friendly audience by barking out absurd and inappropriate words, like a soul tortured with Tourette’s.” (, August 25, 2005)

“He recently tried to dazzle reporters by discussing the vagaries of Congressional Budget Office economic forecasts, but his recitation of numbers proved so bewildering that not even his aides could produce a comprehensible translation. The English Language has become a minefield for the man, whose malaprops make him the political heir not of Ronald Reagan, but Norm Crosby.” (, August 25, 2005

“On the policy side, he has become a classical dime-store Democrat. He gladly will shovel money into programs that enjoy undeserved prestige, such as Head Start. He seems to consider it mean-spirited to shut down programs that rip-off taxpayers and mislead supposed beneficiaries.” (, August 25, 2005)



ROD PAIGE. As Houston school superintendent, Secretary of Education Rod Paige chose Aramark Corporation to operate the schools’ food service program. In 2000, Paige provided Coca-Cola with an exclusive contract to put machines in the school hallways. He also brought in Primed Corporation’s Channel One, an educational channel, which spent two out of every 10 minutes of broadcast time selling M&M/Mars, Pepsico, Reebok, and Nintendo.

ANTHONY PRINCIPI. Anthony Principi, chosen to oversee the Veterans Affairs’ office, was heir to a family-owned real estate company. He also served as president of QTC Medical Services Incorporated, Lockheed Martin, and Federal Network.

ANN VENEMAN. Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman was an attorney with a firm specializing in representing agribusiness giants and biotech corporations. She was elected to serve on the board of Calgene Incorporated, a subsidiary of Monsanto, the first firm to market genetically altered food. She participated in the International Policy Council of Agriculture, Food and Trade, a group funded by Monsanto, Cargill, Archer-Daniels-Midland, Kraft, and Nestle.

TOMMY THOMPSON. Tommy Thompson, Secretary of Health and Human Services, was governor of Wisconsin whose major contributors were HMOs, hospital chains, nursing homes, clinics, doctors, and insurance companies. Philip Morris gave him $72,000 in campaign contributions.

SPENCER ABRAHAM. Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham, a one-term senator from Michigan who sponsored a bill to abolish the Energy Department. He was a pawn of the automobile and energy industries, as he fought against requiring greater fuel efficiency from SUVs.

ASA HUTCHINSON. Another signal of the administration’s simplistic approach to a drug solution was Arkansas Congressman Asa Hutchinson, a former federal prosecutor who achieved national prominence as one of the House managers in former President Clinton’s impeachment trial. Hutchinson was chosen by Bush to head of the Drug Enforcement Administration. He also was under Attorney General Ashcroft, who like Walters had a history of favoring interdiction and enforcement and failing to grasp the importance of treatment.

LAWRENCE LINDSEY. Lawrence Lindsey, Bush’s chief economic advisor, netted $920,000 in 2000 as managing director of the New York firm Economic Strategies.

KAREN HUGHES. Karen Hughes, the president’s counselor, listed oil and gas royalty interests in Pecos County, Texas, worth between $15,000 and $50,000.

ROD PAIGE. As Houston school superintendent, Secretary of Education Rod Paige chose Aramark Corporation to operate the schools’ food service program. In 2000, Paige provided Coca-Cola with an exclusive contract to put machines in the school hallways. He also brought in Primed Corporation’s Channel One, an educational channel, which spent two out of every 10 minutes of broadcast time selling M&M/Mars, Pepsico, Reebok, and Nintendo.

ANTHONY PRINCIPI. Anthony Principi, head of the Veterans Affairs’ office, was heir to a family-owned real estate company. He also served as president of QTC Medical Services Incorporated, Lockheed Martin, and Federal Network.

ANN VENEMAN. Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman was an attorney with a firm specializing in representing agribusiness giants and biotech corporations. She was elected to serve on the board of Calgene Incorporated, a subsidiary of Monsanto, the first firm to market genetically altered food. She participated in the International Policy Council of Agriculture, Food and Trade, a group funded by Monsanto, Cargill, Archer-Daniels-Midland, Kraft, and Nestle.

MARK REY. Mark Rey, assistant Agriculture secretary, worked for the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. He was a lobbyist and vice president of the American Forest and Paper Association.

TOMMY THOMPSON. Tommy Thompson, Secretary of Health and Human Services, was governor of Wisconsin whose major contributors were HMOs, hospital chains, nursing homes, clinics, doctors, and insurance companies. Philip Morris gave him $72,000 in campaign contributions.

SPENCER ABRAHAM. Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham, a one-term senator from Michigan who sponsored a bill to abolish the Energy Department. He was a pawn of the automobile and energy industries, as he fought against requiring greater fuel efficiency from SUVs.

FRANCIS BLAKE. Francis Blake, Deputy Energy Secretary, had been senior vice president of General Electric.

WILLIAM MYERS. William Myers III, Interior Department solicitor, was a lobbyist for the Cattlemen’s Beef Association and a lawyer who advocated grazing rights for ranchers at Holland & Hart in Boise, Idaho. He held various legal jobs in the first Bush administration.

CAM TOOHEY. Cam Toohey was the Interior Department’s special assistant in Alaska. Formerly, he was a chief lobbyist for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. He worked for Arctic Power, a pro-drilling lobby group.

DRUE PEARCE. Drue Pearce, Norton’s senior aide on Alaskan issues, was an Alaska state senator who lobbied for drilling in the Arctic.

STEVEN GRILES. Steven Griles, Deputy Secretary of Interior, was the founding partner National Environmental Strategies, a company that lobbied for advised oil, coal and gas companies, utilities, and other industries affected by federal regulations and laws. He served in the Interior Department as Assistant Interior Secretary of Lands and Mineral Management in the Reagan administration.

JAMES CONNAUGHTON. James Connaughton, chairman of White House Council on Environmental Policy, was a partner at Sidley & Austi. He lobbied on behalf of corporate interests on environmental issues and represented General Electric and ASARCO in Superfund fights against the EPA.

THOMAS SANSONETTI. Thomas Sansonetti, Assistant Attorney General in the Justice Department’s Environmental Division was a partner with Holland & Hart, a law firm specializing in helping oil, gas, and mining companies navigate federal and state regulations.

LINDA FISHER. Linda Fisher, Deputy EPA administrator, was the former Monsanto executive in Washington. She lobbied Congress and administration on agriculture, biochemical, and other issues. She held senior posts at the EPA from 1983-1993 in the Reagan-Bush administrations, including assistant administrator.

JEFFREY HOLMSTEAD. Jeffrey Holmstead, Assistant EPA administrator for air pollution programs, was a Washington lawyer who represented industry trade associations negotiating with the EPA over regulations. He was also an associate White House counsel under former President Bush.

ELAINE CHAO. Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao was an investment banker and corporate director, former vice president of Bank of America, and board member for Northwest Airlines, Dole Food, Clorox, and Columbia/HCA Health Care.

NORMAN MINETA. Norman Mineta, Secretary of Transportation, served as corporate vice president for Lockheed Martin. Before that, he was chairman of the House Transportation Committee where his major contributors included the American Trucking Association, Boeing, General Electric, Greyhound, Lockheed, Northwest Airlines, UPS, Union Pacific, and United Airlines.

DON EVANS. Secretary of Commerce Don Evans had been CEO and president of Tom Brown, a Texas oil company, and director of TMBR/Sharp Drilling, Incorporated.

CLAY JOHNSON. Clay Johnson, Bush’s personnel chief whose job involved filling political positions across the administration, held at least $100,000 in El Paso Energy Partners and at least $65,000 in oil royalties, and at least $50,000 in separate bonds from Texas Muni Power and Duke Power.

NICOLAS CALIO. Nicholas Calio, the White House director of legislative affairs, held stocks with values of at least $15,000 in each of three energy-related companies: Exxon Mobil, General Electric, and Texaco.

KATHLEEN COOPER. Kathleen Cooper, Commerce Under Secretary for Economic Affairs, had been chief economist for Exxon Mobil Corporation’s economics and energy division.

THOMAS WHITE. Thomas White, Army Secretary, had been vice chairman of Enron Energy Corporation in Texas and also had served as vice president of operations. He was executive assistant to Colin Powell when he headed the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the first Bush administration. Because of a potential conflict of interest when handing out government contracts, he announced in June that he would sell more than $25 million in Enron stock. White also said that he would seek legal advice as whether to recuse himself from any role in the decision on the Enron contracts. White advocated accelerating a several-years-old Pentagon process of hiring companies with energy expertise to run electric, gas, and other utilities on military bases. For years, the military ran the utilities itself but began privatizing them on some bases two years ago to try to save money. Enron had bids to operate utilities at seven Air Force bases, a naval base, and the Army’s Fort Bliss base in Texas. (Los Angeles Times, June 20, 2001)

GORDON ENGLAND. Navy secretary Gordon England was the executive vice president of General Dynamics. He worked for General Dynamics since 1980, except for four years when he served as president of Lockheed Fort Worth, as a program manager for Amecom (Litton Industries) and as chief executive of GRE Consultants.

JAMES ROCHE. James Roche, Air Force secretary, was the corporate vice president of Northrop Grumman Corporation. Roche, a 23-year Navy veteran, was a Democratic aide for the Senate Armed Services Committee from 1983 to 1984, and was a senior staffer for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence from 1979 to 1981.

DAN BROUILLETTE. Dan Brouillette, Assistant Energy Secretary for Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs, was a partner with the Alpine Group, a lobbying firm whose clients include various energy companies. He also served as senior vice president for Duffy Wall & Associates. (Los Angeles Times, June 2, 2001; June 24, 2001)


Bush appointed more than 100 top officials who were once lobbyists, attorneys, or spokespeople for the industries they represented. In at least 20 cases, former industry advocates helped their agencies write, shape, or push for policy shifts that benefited their former industries. The Bush administration appointees succeeded in making profound changes affecting drug laws, food policies, land use, clean-air regulations, and other key issues. They knew which changes to make, because they had pushed for them as industry advocates. (Denver Post, May 23, 2004)

Six of the former 100 industry advocates faced ethics investigations or resigned amid conflict-of-interest charges. Those and at least 14 others had been lambasted by public-interest groups. (Denver Post, May 23, 2004)

1. In June 2001, Bush appointed Ann-Marie Lynch, a lobbyist for the drug-company trade group Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, to help set those policies. As a lobbyist, Lynch fought congressional attempts to cap prices for drugs. She argued that price controls would hamper medical innovation.

Thirteen months after Lynch became deputy assistant secretary in the office of policy, her division issued a report that praised brand-name drugs. It warned that “government-controlled restrictions on the coverage of new drugs could put the future of medical innovation at risk and may retard advances in treatment.”

Critics claimed the report influenced congressional debate over a Medicare drug policy. For example, Congress banned government from using Medicare’s buying power to cut drug prices. The legislation meant an extra $139 billion in profit over eight years to drug companies.

Lynch also blocked the release of about a dozen completed research reports that challenged drug-company claims, according to three former employees. Pierce said that Lynch decided research topics and which reports would be released.

For example, one 2001 report criticized Medicare plus Choice which later became known as Medicare Advantage. Its findings suggested that running the Medicare prescription-drug benefit through private health companies -- the method the administration ultimately chose -- would be more expensive and would not serve rural areas well. (Denver Post, May 23, 2004)

2. Thomas A. Scully represented the nation’s for-profit hospitals as a lobbyist before being hired by the Bush administration in June 2001 to head the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. As a former hospital lobbyist, Scully presided over an agency that helped a chain he once represented win a favorable settlement in a Medicare fraud case.

Eight months after Scully arrived at the Medicare and Medicaid agency, it moved to settle final claims involving HCA Inc., a hospital chain that was the largest member of Scully's former employer, the Federation of American Hospitals. HCA was also the nation’s biggest for-profit hospital company. HCA faced allegations it fraudulently overbilled the government for Medicare cases.

Under the terms agreed to in June 2002 by Scully’s agency, HCA would have settled for $250 million. Medicare fraud cases typically are ironed out with Justice Department participation, but Scully agreed to those terms on his own. HCA eventually paid that $250 million, plus $631 million in civil penalties and damages and $17.5 million to states. (Denver Post, May 23, 2004)

3. Daniel E. Troy was well-known at the FDA before he was appointed by Bush in the summer of 2001 to work as chief counsel. That was the top legal position in the FDA.

As a lawyer in private practice, Troy repeatedly sued the FDA, arguing that it had only limited ability to regulate drug companies. He filed those suits through the Washington Legal Foundation, a group funded by businesses, including drug companies. Donors include charitable foundations run by Pfizer Inc., Procter & Gamble Co., and Eli Lilly & Co. Troy also represented Pfizer through his firm, Wiley, Rein & Fielding.

After being appointed to the FDA, Troy fought for causes that benefited drug companies. Troy intervened in three drug-company cases as FDA chief counsel. One involved Pfizer. In court briefs, the FDA argued that it determined which warnings a drug company must give consumers. Troy argued that lawsuits filed in state courts were invalid, since drug-company warnings were inadequate and therefore were invalid. In one case, Troy challenged involved thousands of consumers who said they were harmed by painful withdrawal from an antidepressant. (Denver Post, May 23, 2004)

4. More than a dozen high-ranking USDA officials appointed under Bush had ties to the meat industry. Charles Lambert served for 15 years as a lobbyist for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association in Denver. Lambert focused on preventing federal laws from requiring labels on meat. In December 2002, Bush appointed Lambert the undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs in the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Lambert argued that mad cow disease was not a threat.

5. In early 2003, Congress passed a law requiring meat labels to state which country a cow lived in before slaughter. Food safety groups said those labels could, among other things, help consumers avoid buying beef from countries with mad cow disease.

The USDA opposed such labeling. Lambert testified that mad cow disease was not a threat. At a June 2003 congressional hearing, California Democratic Congressman Joe Baca asked, “Is there a possibility that it could get through?”

Lambert: “No, sir.”

Baca: “None at all?”

Lambert: “No.”

Baca: “You would bet your life on it -- your job on it, right?”

Lambert: “Yes, sir.” (Denver Post, May 23, 2004)

Six months later, mad cow disease was discovered in the United States. It was apparently in by a cow from Canada.

6. Jeffrey Holmstead worked as a lawyer at Latham & Watkins. His clients included a chemical company and a trade group for utility companies – the largest air polluters in the United States. In October 2001, Bush appointed him to the division of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that governed air pollution.

On January 30, 2004, the EPA issued proposed changes to air pollution rules. At least 12 paragraphs were identical to or closely resembled a September 4, 2003 proposal given to the Bush administration by Latham & Watkins, a law firm that represented utility companies.

The changes by the EPA posed a health threat, because it slowed the reduction of mercury emissions by as much as 11 years. Those emissions could end up in water where they would contaminate fish. Forty-three states issued advisories about fish consumption because of mercury pollution. One effect of the proposal would be that 168 of 236 Western-based plants, including those in Colorado, would not be required to reduce those emissions at all. (Denver Post, May 23, 2004)

7. Bush named J. Steven Griles served as an energy industry lobbyist, where he pulled in $585,000 a year for representing an array of oil, gas, and other energy interests. In June 2001, he was appointed by Bush to the second highest post in the Interior Department that oversaw 507 million acres of national parks, refuges, and rangeland. While serving as Interior’s deputy secretary, Griles still received $284,000 a year -- as a lobbyist -- for four years to pay him for the value that he had created for the firm by bringing in clients. As deputy secretary, Griles pledged to remove himself from deliberations that affected his former clients.

A March 16, 2004 report by the Inspector General found Griles “wholly incapable” of addressing ethical questions involving the energy sector. The United States Office of Government Ethics issued a report that found that a former business partner of Griles’ had hosted a party for Griles and top Interior officials for land and mining. The report also said a former Griles client, Advanced Power Technologies Inc., won $2 million in no-bid contracts from his department, after two people whom Griles supervised pressed APTI’s case. Griles urged the EPA not to press concerns over a plan to open 8 million acres in Wyoming and Montana to gas drilling by companies including six of his former clients. (Denver Post, May 23, 2004)