In the time between being the governor of Florida and becoming a possible presidential candidate for 2016, Jeb Bush was an adviser for at least 15 companies and nonprofit groups, reported CBS News. During this time, Bush raked in millions of dollars.
Late last year, Bush began severing connections from corporate America as he started preparing for a possible presidential bid. Since this information became public knowledge, many people have questioned how Bush can serve on so many boards simultaneously and be effective.
Since 2007, Bush reportedly earned $3.9 million from four companies in addition to $25,000 a year from a Georgia-based medical company. At least five companies that Bush advised faced lawsuits from shareholders or legal actions from the government. Some were accused of fraud.
CBS News reported that there’s no hard-and-fast law that dictates how many corporate boards on which one individual can serve. However, after the Enron scandal, the federal government increased the liability of company board members, should an event similar to the Enron incident happen again.
Former Securities and Exchange Commission lawyer Nowicki said that it’s difficult for one person to serve on three or four different boards. Considering the fact that Bush served on 10 to 15, it’s reasonable to question his effectiveness and ability.
“Board of directors and advisory boards are in charge of high-level oversight,” said Nowicki. “You cannot possibly do that simultaneously for 10 or 15 entities.”
From 2010 to 2013, Bush served on the boards of or advised 11 different companies and nonprofit groups. One of those companies was his own, Jeb Bush & Associates. Bush’s recused involvement with so many companies is obviously little more than a public relations move. He still co-owns two companies with his sons.
Ring of Fire reported that “Bush is the co-owner of a ‘company that is a managing partner of FracStar Logistics, a company that provides sand for fracking.’” FracStar was renamed to Proforce Energy Services in recent years. The company was founded by Jeb’s son, George P. Bush, who currently serves as the Texas Land Commissioner.
Bush also co-owns Proforce’s management company, De Soto Partners, with his son Jeb Bush Jr., despite saying he has severed corporate ties. With these connections, it’s very clear that Bush would still serve corporate interests if he was the president.
Despite all the strikes against Bush, there isn’t much that can be technically used against him because he hasn’t officially declared his presidential candidacy.
“Until you say the magic word ‘I am running for president,’ there are a whole lot of restrictions that don’t apply to you,” said open government advocate Bill Allison. “I think this is an advantage he is taking.”