Recent Securities and Exchange Commission filings have revealed that, since at least 2013, Jeb Bush has been chairman of Britton Hill Holdings, LLC, a private equity firm in Coral Gables, Florida. The regulatory disclosure filed last month is required for a firm once it has more than $100 million under management.
Teaming up with the two-term former governor of Florida in this venture are a banker from the now-collapsed Lehman Brothers and two of Credit Suisse’s former advisors. The company has some investments in shale oil and gas exploration, including fracking, and has used backing from a Chinese corporation to purchase a stake in a Stamford, Conn. shipping startup.
Why does this matter, you might ask?
Because many believe that Bush is one of the likely potential candidates for the Republican party in the 2016 presidential election.
In the 2012 election, campaign advisors believed that Mitt Romney’s business experience would have worked in the GOP’s favor. However, even members of his own party used that against him in the primaries, with Newt Gingrich saying that Romney’s Bain Capital model of business meant “leverage the game, borrow the money, leave the debt behind and walk off with the profits. Now I’ll let you decide if that’s really good capitalism. I think it’s exploitive. I think it’s not defensible.”
Bush’s involvement in something like Britton Hill could serve as a point of the same type of criticism from other 2016 candidates, especially with front runners like Ted Cruz and Rand Paul denouncing Wall Street.
Earlier this year, Cruz said “the right and powerful, those who walk the corridors of power, are getting fat and happy.” Paul said the GOP “cannot be the party of fat cats, rich people, and Wall Street.”
If Bush does decide to run in 2016, a decision he has said he will make by the end of this year, it’s likely that other candidates will bring up his chairmanship of Britton, among his other business ventures, to try and distance themselves from that version of the Republican party… the corporations-are-people, 47-percent-of-peopled-don’t-contribute version of the GOP.
The problem with their logic, though, is that the version they are running away from is the real Republican party. Whether it be Cruz, Paul, Ryan, or yet another Bush, and no matter how much they try to deny it, the GOP is the party of the one percent.