The Bush administration is made up of many people from previous administrations including the Ford, Reagan, and Bush Sr., administrations and has the highest number of corporate connections of any previous administration. Furthermore, the Bush administration has been working together as a group in developing their current agenda since the mid 1990s, so the administration can really be considered a group at least as far back as 1998.
George Bush, Dick Cheney, and Lewis Libby have all attended Yale. Paul Wolfowitz, taught at Yale from 1970- 1973.
Neither Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Libby, Perle, Card, Wolfowitz, Abrams, Ashcroft, nor Rove served in Vietnam.
For more on the corporate connections of the administration see:
Dick Cheney (Signer of PNAC Statement of Principles): Cheney’s political career started under President Ford. In 1975 Cheney was named Ford’s Chief of Staff. In 1979 Cheney was elected to Congress for the state of Wyoming. In 1981 he became the chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee. In 1989 he was appointed Secretary of Defense for the Bush Sr. administration where he oversaw the Gulf War in Iraq.
A brief (and admittedly biased) outline of Cheney’s voting record in Congress can be seen here:
During Cheney’s congressional term he was one of the most far right members of congress. He voted against pro-labor, pro-environment, and pro-family legislation in favor of pro-industry almost exclusively.
Following his long political career Cheney moved back to Texas and became CEO of Halliburton in 1995. When Cheney became the Vice Presidential nominee for the Bush Jr. ticket he left Halliburton with a $34 million retirement package. Of course it would be illegal for Halliburton to contribute that much money to a presidential campaign, but it wasn’t a campaign contribution was it? It was a retirement package, and after all Cheney was the CEO, so he did have a say in how much that amount would be... right?
Under Cheney Halliburton saw a 91% increase in government contracts, became the number one American oil-services company, the fifth-largest military contractor, and the largest nonunion employer in the country.
Under Cheney Halliburton also engaged in a large amount of business with Iraq. Through the use of foreign subsidiaries Halliburton did over $73 million worth of business with Iraq while Cheney was CEO, making Halliburton the largest American contractor doing business with Iraq. Of course Iraq’s oil wells are state owned and run so it was essentially doing business with Saddam.
What is interesting to note is that none of this business was done through Halliburton directly; it was all through Halliburton’s subsidiaries in Europe.
Cheney was asked about these allegations and flatly denied them. He has since claimed that those subsidiaries took action without the knowledge of Halliburton, or himself, a statement that has also been refuted by others.
In addition to deals with Iraq, under Cheney Halliburton accounting practices were changed and offshore tax shelters were used. Arthur-Anderson, the same accounting company that was implicated in “cooking the books” for Enron, was Halliburton’s accounting firm.
Halliburton setup subsidiaries in the Caymans, the same place where Enron had 692 subsidiary companies. Between 1995 and 1999, Cheney’s term as CEO at Halliburton the company has setup 44 new “tax friendly” subsidiaries.
By 1999 Halliburton had gone from paying federal corporate taxes to actually getting an $85 million tax rebate.
During Cheney’s time at Halliburton, as its CEO, the company landed $2.3 billion in government contracts, and $1.5 billion in government financing and loan guarantees.
Halliburton has also received $2 million in fines for over billing the government.
In August of 2000 Cheney sold his shares in Halliburton for a profit of $18.5 million dollars. Two months later Halliburton made press releases stating that the company’s engineering and construction business were not doing well and the company announced that they were under investigation for over billing.
With this news, and the general stock market bubble burst, Halliburton stock lost 75% of its value hitting a 16-year low. Good thing for Cheney that he got out just in time.
Of all this, nothing has been found yet that indicates illegal activity by Cheney in his time at Halliburton or illegal activity by Halliburton that has not already been addressed, such as the fines it received for over billing. Of course illegal and unethical are two totally different things, and of course Cheney knows the loopholes in the tax code as well as anyone, having worked in the administrations that wrote the loopholes into the codes in the first place that have made highly unethical activity legal.
The guy works in government, works with lawmakers in writing corporate tax code, then goes into private business, uses his government contacts to get huge contracts for the his company, and takes advantage of the loopholes that he helped to create and that he was well aware of because he worked with the people that wrote the laws. Can it get any more unethical then that? And now, he’s back in the White House defining our roles in Iraq!
For more on Cheney and Halliburton see:
Lewis Libby (Signer of PNAC Statement of Principles): Libby is Cheney’s chief of staff and a former Defense Department aid. Libby was involved in Ariel Sharon’s Israeli election campaign. Libby has been a long time promoter of the idea of preemptive warfare as a means of obtaining American global preeminence.
For more on Libby:
Secretary of Defense
Donald Rumsfeld (Signer of PNAC Statement of Principles): Rumsfeld served as Secretary of Defense during the Ford administration, as well as chief of staff. After serving in the Ford administration Rumsfeld became heavily involved in the private sector. Rumsfeld was CEO of G.D. Searle, a pharmaceutical company, and General Instruments, a telecom company. Rumsfeld has served on the board of several large companies.
In December of 1983 Donald Rumsfeld went to Iraq as a special envoy of the Reagan administration to restore relations with Saddam Hussein. He Presented Saddam with a hand written letter from Ronald Reagan.
For more on Rumsfeld, and his role with Iraq, see:
Paul Wolfowitz (Signer of PNAC Statement of Principles): Wolfowitz served under Cheney during Cheney’s time as Secretary of Defense. Dr. Paul Wolfowitz is considered to be the strongest advocate of preemptive warfare strategy.
From 1973 to 1977 Wolfowitz was a part of the Arm Control and Disarmament Agency.
From 1977 to 1980 Wolfowitz was Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Regional Programs. In the Pentagon he helped to create the United States Central Command. He also established the Maritime Pre-positioning Ships Program (MPS) a.k.a. (MPF).
For more on the MPS program:
A link that discusses logistical problems of the MPS program:
Wolfowitz served as head of the State Department's Policy Planning Staff from 1981 to 1982.
From 1983 to 1986 he was Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific affairs.
From 1986 to 1989 he was US Ambassador to Indonesia (an OPEC country).
From 1989 to 1993 Wolfowitz was Under Secretary for Defense Policy.
The popularly known “Wolfowitz Doctrine” states that America’s mission is to
For more on Paul Wolfowitz:
Secretary of State
Colin Powell: General Colin Powell served as the 12th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Department of Defense, from October 1, 1989 to September 30, 1993, under both President George Bush and President Bill Clinton.
Powell served two short tours of duty in Vietnam, and as a battalion commander in Korea. He later commanded the 2nd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Asssault) and V Corps, United States Army, Europe.
Powell served on the corporate boards of Gulfstream Aerospace and America Online.
For more on Powell:
Richard Armitage (Signer of PNAC letter to Clinton): Armitage served in Vietnam. In 1973 he joined the he joined the US Attache Office, working in Saigon. He worked as a Pentagon consultant for Middle Eastern affairs starting in 1976, then left public life and it is believed that he entered the CIA as a covert operative at that time. Armitage has worked with Bob Dole and worked in the Reagan administration.
In 1989 Armitage was passed over for appointment as Assistant Secretary of State due to links to Iran-Contra and other scandals, including links to a Vietnamese women running prostitution and gambling rings in America, who’s character he had previously vouched for.
During the Iran-Contra hearings Armitage was named as a Department of Defense official that had been responsible for illegal weapons transfers to Iran and the Contras of South America.
Powell and Armitage have a deep friendship going back many years. In an interview with the Washington Post in 1995 Powell referred to Armitage as his “white son”.
“William Tyree, Special Forces Veteran who has provided much reliable information and documentation to FTW in the past said, "Armitage used to 'sit ambush' on the trails in Laos and Cambodia. He liked it. Now when Powell, 'the dove,' sits down at a table with Armitage 'the killer' beside him the message will be that Armitage can reach across the table and deal with the other party on the spot." That message will not go unheard.”
Information from the US State Department states that:
“Fluent in Vietnamese, Mr. Armitage left active duty in 1973 and joined the U.S. Defense Attache Office, Saigon. Immediately prior to the fall of Saigon, he organized and led the removal of Vietnamese naval assets and personnel from the country.”
Interestingly, what this statement leaves out is that the pullout from Saigon was considered a tragic failure, leaving thousands of Vietnamese loyal to America behind with no American support as the North Vietnamese forces moved in on Saigon.
For more on Richard Armitage:
National Security Adviser
Condoleezza Rice: Rice had a Chevron oil tanker named after her, the Condoleezza Rice. After she became part of the Bush cabinet political pressure resulted in Chevron changing the name of the tanker. Rice was on the board of directors of Chevron prior to her appointment to the position of National Security Advisor by Bush.
As National Security Advisor Rice has given speeches to the Manhattan Institute, which was founded by William Casey, author of The Bell Curve. The MI is a far right political organization. It’s is somewhat amusing that she has given speeches to the organization due to the fact that The Bell Curve argues that blacks are genetically inferior to whites intellectually, and of course Condi is black.
For more on the Chevron tanker:
For more on Condi Rice:
Chief of Staff
Andrew H. Card Jr.: Card was a lobbyist for GM prior to joining the Bush administration. Card helped lobby against stricter fuel emission standards. Card also testified before Congress against the airline industry’s “Passengers' Bill of Rights". Card also made campaign contributions to John Ashcroft and Spencer Abraham, both now members of the Bush administration, when they were running for Senate.
Card also has long standing ties with the Bush family. Card was a limo driver for Bush Sr. After Reagan was elected President with Bush as his Vice President Card was given a job as a White House liaison.
For more on Card:
O'Neill was CEO of Alcoa prior to his entry into the Bush cabinet.
O’Neill was the deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget from 1974 to 1977 during the Ford administration.
O'Neill is also a long time friend of the Bush family, having been friends of George Bush Sr. for years.
For more on O'Neil:
Secretary of the Interior
Gale Norton: Norton was Attorney General for Colorado for eight years prior to her entry into the Bush administration. As Attorney General she strongly promoted the corporate "self-audit" laws that allow companies to police themselves without federal or state oversight.
Prior to her time as Attorney General Norton worked for Mountain States Legal Foundation, which is "a conservative think tank that opposes the government's role in environmental protection."
Norton also has a long history with the Reagan and Bush administrations. Norton worked for the Western Water Policy Commission for former President Bush, and she worked under Reagan's Interior Secretary.
During her time with the Reagan Administration "she advocated opening up the protected Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil exploration."
Norton was also chairman of the Coalition of Republican Environmental Advocates.
That organization is partially funded by Ford Motor Company and BP Amoco, a huge oil company.
Now, as Secretary of the Interior, Norton is responsible for the oversight of America's parks and wildlife.
For more on Norton:
Secretary of Commerce
Donald L. Evans: Evans is known as President Bush's best friend. Evans was also national finance chairman for George Bush's gubernatorial campaigns.
Evans was CEO of oil company Tom Brown Inc., having worked for the company for 25 years. He also sat on the board of
For more on Evans:
Secretary of Energy
Spencer Abraham: Interestingly, prior to his appointment as Secretary of Energy, Abraham had proposed three times to get rid of the Energy Department while he was a Michigan Representative. Abraham has close and strong ties to the auto and oil industries, but he is also an advocate of fuel cells for more fuel-efficient cars.
Abraham also received campaign contributions from Enron.
For more on Spencer Abraham:
US Special Envoy to Afghanistan and the Iraqi opposition
Zalmay Khalilzad (Signer of PNAC Statement of Principles): Khalilzad was an assistant to Paul Wolfowitz for the Bush Sr. administration. In the 1990s he was a paid consultant to Unocal. Unocal was seeking contracts to build a large natural gas pipeline in Afghanistan. Unocal is the worlds ninth largest oil company.
In 1997 Unocal was charged with human rights violations in connection with allegedly hiring Burmese militants to protect their operations from striking workers.
Unocal has also been sited for supporting
Khalilzad's work with Unocal was brief.
Khalilzad was born in Afganistan, then later moved to the United States to earn his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.
Khalilzad has played a very strong role in the reconstruction of Afghanistan and the construction of the interim government there.
For more on Khalilzad:
US Ambassador to the UN
John Negroponte: Negroponte has had a long career as a US diplomat. What he is most known for though is his time as Ambassador to Honduras 1981 to 1985. During that time Negroponte helped to cover up human rights violations, including torture and executions, committed by the US supported Honduran army. Negroponte also played a role in the Iran-Contra affair where he helped to funnel money from arms illegally sold to Iran to the Contras in Honduras.
For more on Negroponte:
US trade representative and Chairman of WTO
Robert Zoelick (Signer of PNAC letter to Clinton): Zoelick served as assistant Secretary of State under Bush Sr.
Zoelick was also a paid consultant for Enron.
Chairman of the FCC
Michael Powell: Michael is Colin Powell's son. Bush named Michael head of the FCC. The FCC will be presiding over a case involving AOL. Colin Powell served on the board of AOL and is a significant holder of AOL stock. Michael Powell was the only member of the FCC to advocate that the AOL-Time Warner merger go through without investigation.
As you can see, the Bush administration is a tight knit group composed largely of long time Bush family loyalists and people from many former administrations. As has already been pointed out, the administration also has a large number of corporate ties and ties to the oil industry, the largest number of ties in history. There are also a significant number of people in the Bush administration with questionable backgrounds, such as Richard Armatage and John Negropronte. In addition to that it is also relevant that many of the members of the Bush cabinet are associated with the Partnership for a New American Century.
Aside from the obvious implications of such a cabinet it is also likely that top officials in the Bush administration, including Bush himself, have a high degree of leverage on the members of the cabinet because of the histories of the cabinet members. "Problems" in a person's history, such as unethical or illegal past activity can be used as leverage within a group in order to get members of a group to remain loyal to that group. This gives leadership a little something extra to work with when controlling an administration and making sure that members of an administration don't stray too far from the party line.
For example the fact that Colin Powell's son was appointed head of the FCC of course represents a potential conflict of interest in the administration and shows that favoritism plays a strong role in the administration, but at the same time it also potentially gives Bush a degree of leverage over Colin Powell.
The fact must also be addressed that while the Bush administration has the highest number of corporate ties of any previous administration, America has been rocked by corporate scandals that have still gone almost completely un-addressed. Not only do the ties suggest that favoritism may currently be shown to corporate America because of the ties, but members of the cabinet, including Bush himself, have been leading members in the corporate community at a time when corporate America was engaged in some of the most devastating and large scale scandalous activity in the history of America. In other words, the people who have wrecked the American economy while in the private sector are now coming home to roost in the public sector.
It has been over 500 days since the announcement of large-scale corporate scandals involving Enron (a Texas based company), WorldCom, Xerox, and many more of America's largest corporations, and as of yet not a single person has gone to jail.
In fact George Bush himself has been implicated in illegal corporate activity. Bush still faces allegations of insider trading from 1990 when he was director of oil company Harken Energy. George Bush Jr.'s list of questionable financial and corporate practices is just as long as many other Bush family members, very, very long.
Bush also received loans from Harken Energy, the same types of loans that he is now publicly condemning.
In 1979 Bush received a business loan for his first company, Arbusto Energy, from James Bath, who was an investor representing a member of the now famous Saudi Arabian bin Laden family.
For more on this complex matter of Bush and his questionable business dealings see:
Update 6/1/2004: Enron Traders Caught On Tape: