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President Bush Divvies Up the Joy of Victory

Posted November. 19, 2004 23:06,   


It turns out that those who made contributions towards George W. Bush during the 2000 U.S. presidential election pocketed some of the action for themselves.

Commerce Secretary Don Evans, Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, and Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge are key U.S. officials known to have raised much of Bush’s 2000 election campaign funds.

According to an November 18 report from the Associated Press, of the 2,000 who donated more than $100,000 to the Bush campaign during the 2000 elections, one-third (600 donors) of those and their spouses were selected to serve as government officials or diplomats in Europe. Thus, those who cashed in for the campaign apparently cashed out in the end.

At least eight were appointed to High-level Government Offices. Other than Secretary of Commerce Evans and three other former secretaries, Christopher Burnham was appointed as the highest official overseeing financial matters in the State Department, while Jose Fourquet was appointed as the general secretary of the Inter-American Development Bank.

Twenty others were appointed as diplomats to various European countries. Former California investment banker Howard H. Leach was appointed to U.S. Ambassador to France, while Peter Terpeluk became the U.S. Ambassador to Luxembourg.

Also, another 57 individuals were appointed to a number of high-level positions in non-governmental departments, policy-making committees, or governmental advisory committees.

James Langdon, a Washington lawyer, was named to the president`s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board.

Although the exact sum of money is not enclosed, 30 big donors known to have spent a “tremendous” amount of money for the Bush campaign in 2000 participated in a committee to decide the transition of power from the previous administration. Edison Electric Tom Kuhn participated in the energy transition team along with Kenneth Kay, the ex-chairman of Enron.

Some 246 “pioneers” who raised more than $100,000 were invited to a dinner hosted at Camp David, or the president’s Texas ranch, where the participants met with distinguished guests from abroad. Some also followed the president in trips abroad, including the Olympic events.

President Bush was not the only one though to share the spoils of victory.

During the first year of Bill Clinton’s appointment to the presidency, five Democratic Party members who had raised funds of over $100,000 were sent abroad as ambassadors.

Executive Director of the Center for Responsive Politics (a watchdog group) Larry Noble criticized the White House and its practice of sharing the spoils of victory quoting, “Just because it is done often does not make it right. Clearly the White House was not looking at a total pool of talent available out there.”

However, this year’s prospects are rather dull for those who donated to the Bush campaign to be appointed to important government offices after it was discovered that the number of those who donated more than $100,000 doubled that of the 2000 elections.

Young-Sik Kim spear@donga.com