Biographical Information

Name

John Ellis “Jeb” Bush

Born

February 11, 1953, Midland, TX778

Hometown

Coral Gables, FL779

Education

Bachelor of Arts, University of Texas, 1974780

Family

Wife: Columba G. Bush;781
Children: George Prescott, John Ellis, Jr., and Noelle Lucilla782

Wealth

$1,500,000 in reported assets in 2007783

Career

Manager, Britton Hill Partners (2008-Present)784
Managing Member, Jeb Bush & Associates LLC (2007-Present)785
Member, Various Corporate Boards (2007-Present)786
Senior Adviser, Barclays Capital (2009-Present)787
Adviser, Lehman Brothers (2007-2008)788
Governor, State of Florida (1999-2007)789
Secretary of Commerce, State of Florida (1987-1988)790
Partner, Codina Group (1981-1986, 1988-1993, 1995-1997)791
Representative/Vice President, Texas Commerce Bank (1974-1979)792

Books Authored

Immigration Wars: Forging an American Solution (coauthor Clint Bolick) (2014)

Career Highlights

Father’s Influence on Early Career

In 1980, Jeb Bush moved to South Florida from Caracas, Venezuela, where he was a vice president for Texas Commerce Bank, in order to support his father’s failed 1980 run for the GOP presidential nomination and eventual campaign as Ronald Reagan’s running mate.793 Texas Commerce Bank was founded by the family of a close friend of George H.W. Bush, James Baker.794

Shortly after the election, Bush was hired by Miami real estate mogul Armando Codina, who has been described as one of his father’s “earliest supporters.795 Several years later, Codina told the Miami Herald that Jeb’s name was a “big plus.796 Bush worked with the Codina Group until 1986, and again for stints in the late 1980s and mid 1990s.797

Florida Secretary of Commerce

With his father’s 1988 presidential run already in the works, some were surprised when Bush accepted Florida Governor Bob Martinez’s nomination to serve as secretary of commerce in 1986.798 Martinez and George H.W. Bush had a mutually beneficial political relationship, with Bush helping Martinez raise over a half million dollars in 1986, and Martinez later cochairing Bush’s presidential campaign in 1987.799 Bush resigned his post in May 1988 to campaign full-time for his father.800

Business Career

Bush’s business ventures have been marked by controversy. In one notable deal involving Bush and his business partner Armando Codina, the two purchased an office building in Miami using funds Codina borrowed from a local savings and loan institution, which became insolvent in 1988.801 When the federal government – led by Bush’s father – stepped in to bail out the savings and loan industry, Bush and Codina’s loan was credited with $4 million in government funds,802 lifting the liability of a $4.565 million second mortgage off of the partners.803

In 2007, Bush joined the private equity advisory board at Lehman Brothers.804 The company sold more than $800 million worth of mortgage-backed securities to the Florida State Fund.805 The securities defaulted in just four months.806 It was later revealed that the sales to the state fund took place just before Lehman revealed Bush’s role in the company.807 Bush denied having any role in this specific sale, although Lehman won six contracts and just shy of $10 million in fees from Florida state agencies while Bush was governor.808 When Lehman Brothers collapsed the following year, it had the potential to cost the state of Florida more than $1 billion.809 Local governments in the state were trapped with tainted securities that they could not redeem, worth more than $500 million.810

While Lehman was on the verge of bankruptcy in 2008, Bush reached out to Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim to solicit an investment in a Lehman project code-named “Project Verde,” but Bush wrote to a colleague at Lehman in July of the same year that “Project Verde was unsuccessful.811

1994 Gubernatorial Campaign

Jeb Bush launched his first campaign for governor of Florida with the attention and strategy expected from someone who had run his father’s Florida operations in 1988 and 1992. Bush was the first Republican to announce his candidacy in 1994, having prepared to run for more than 18 months before the election.812 He also inherited much of the Florida campaign apparatus from his father’s efforts.813 His first gubernatorial campaign benefited from major fundraising assistance from his parents, who traveled to Florida three times that year to fundraise for him, bringing in more than $2 million during those trips.814 Bush’s family connections in Texas, where his brother was also running for governor, netted him significant donations as well.815

But Bush’s business career, including his deal with Codina, became a target of attacks during the 1994 campaign, with attacks coming from the incumbent governor and the two candidates against Bush in the Republican primary. Bush eventually won the primary after his opponent dropped out of the runoff.816 Just weeks before the general election, Bush was polling ahead of incumbent Governor Lawton Chiles, but ultimately lost the race by a close margin.817

1998 Gubernatorial Campaign

Bush’s fundraising ability was demonstrated again in his successful 1998 run for governor, when he significantly outraised his opponent, Buddy MacKay, by a nearly two-to-one margin.818 Compared to Bush, MacKay was considered a weak candidate with less charisma and his campaign was late to staff up.819 Compounding MacKay’s weaknesses, Democrats’ dominance in Florida began to erode as the party faced racial fissures, and Bush made a concerted effort to reach out to minority voters.820  Bush went on to dispatch MacKay handily, winning 55 percent of the vote.821

Bush v. Gore

During the contested 2000 presidential election and recount in Florida, Bush maintained that he recused himself in order to avoid the appearance of impropriety while his brother was one of the candidates.822 In spite of this claim, he quietly signed the paperwork that certified his brother’s victory in Florida.823 Further, when Republican lawmakers in Florida asserted that they had a right to directly award the state’s twenty-five electoral votes to George W. Bush, Jeb Bush stated that he would sign into state law a bill awarding Florida’s electoral votes to his brother if the recount was not completed by December 12, 2000.824 Despite his public statements during the recount, Bush’s office was later found to have made 95 phone calls to the Bush presidential campaign during the recount period.825

Bush’s brother was named the winner in Florida by a mere 537 votes.826 Months after Florida’s electoral votes – and by extension, the presidency – went in his brother’s favor, a division of the Florida Secretary of State’s office was found to have improperly purged thousands of eligible voters from the voter rolls in the election.827 African-Americans comprised a disproportionate number of these voters.828

Disaster Relief Funds

Bush’s tenure as governor was marked by at least two severe hurricanes, the response to which raised questions about his management of federal disaster aid and willingness to dispense taxpayer dollars without proper oversight. After Hurricane Frances hit in September 2004, President George W. Bush declared Miami-Dade County a disaster area at the urging of his brother Jeb.829 The declaration made area residents eligible for individual aid, and while the hurricane’s outer bands had barely touched the county, nearly 10,000 residents of the county received aid totaling at least $21 million in tax-free grants.830 In comparison, harder-hit Indian River Country received just $12.5 million in these grants.831

The enormity of the tax-free grants awarded to Miami-Dade residents cast doubt on whether federal dollars should have been awarded to the county and prompted calls for a federal investigation.832 The audit found numerous instances of fraudulent reimbursements, and determined that Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) had included Miami-Dade in the disaster declaration without the required assessment of damage.833

A year later in 2005, Jeb Bush was criticized over disaster relief in the wake of Hurricane Wilma, which left thousands of Floridians without water, ice, food, and gasoline during massive power outages.834 Bush callously blamed Floridians stuck in hours-long lines for supplies for their fate, saying that they had “ample time” to prepare themselves for the disaster.835

Problems with the Base

Since leaving the Florida governor’s mansion in 2007, Bush’s comments on hot-button issues, his championing of immigration reform, and his support for Common Core have raised the ire of the conservative base. In 2009, Bush committed a major Republican Party faux pas when he spoke ill of its frequent invocation of President Ronald Reagan, saying the party needs to give up its “nostalgia” for the Reagan years.836

Bush’s vocal support for comprehensive immigration reform has not endeared him to the Tea Party, whose suspicions about his support for so-called “amnesty” were confirmed in 2014 when he called illegal immigration an “act of love” and “not a felony.837

Opposition to the Common Core State Standards is another Tea Party cause of which Bush runs afoul. Jeb Bush is perhaps the most vocal supporter of the standards, touting their benefits for college and career readiness consistently since their adoption, and urging states to stay the course with Common Core amid growing political controversy about the standards.838 Bush serves as chairman of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, which has received donations from pro-Common Core corporations in addition to funds from organizations and companies with a financial stake in the successful adoption of the standards.839 Bush also “supports instant background checks for gun-show purchases, an unpopular position with the NRA,” and has recently avoided attending NRA events.840

Career Statistics

Election

State

Office

Candidates

Total Raised

Final Vote Count

2002

Florida

Governor

Jeb Bush (R)

Bill McBride (D)

$10,530,696.44

$8,759,083.03

56.0% (2,856,845 votes)

43.2% (2,201,427 votes)

1998

Florida

Governor

Jeb Bush (R)

Buddy MacKay (D)

$9,125,443.12

$6,350,805.46

55.3% (2,191,105 votes)

44.7% (1,773,054 votes)

1994

Florida

Governor

Jeb Bush (R)

Lawton Chiles (D)

*

*

49.2% (2,071,068 votes)

50.8% (2,135,008 votes)

Issues At A Glance

Opposes Medicaid expansion: YES842

Opposes the Affordable Care Act..: YES843

Supports plan to turn Medicare into a voucher program: YES844

Supports instant background checks for gun purchases at gun shows: YES845

Opposes marriage equality: YES846

Supports Common Core: YES847

Supports a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants: YES848

Opposes medical marijuana: YES849

What to Watch

  • Can Bush reconcile his more moderate policy views with the conservative right-wing base, or will he reverse his support for Common Core and immigration reform?

  • Where does Bush stand on controversial positions that his brother took while in office that upset the conservative base, like No Child Left Behind and Medicare Part D?

  • How does Bush reconcile his opposition to the Affordable Care Act with his involvement with Tenet Health Care, which has been outspoken in its endorsement of the law and paid Bush $2 million as a board member?

  • With Jeb already complaining about trackers, will he be able to stand the heat of a real campaign?

Endnotes

  1. CNN. “Jeb Bush Facts.” January 25, 2014. http://edition.cnn.com/2013/07/08/us/jeb-bush-fast-facts/
  2. Real Deal. “Former Governor Jeb Bush Sells Coral Gables Home At A Loss.” June 11, 2012. http://therealdeal.com/miami/blog/2012/06/11/former-governor-jeb-bush-sells-coral-gables-home-at-a-loss/
  3. CNN. “Jeb Bush Facts.” January 25, 2014. http://edition.cnn.com/2013/07/08/us/jeb-bush-fast-facts/
  4. Nexis Comprehensive Person Report. “Columba G Bush.” Accessed October 31, 2014. http://www.nexis.com
  5. CNN. “Jeb Bush Facts.” January 25, 2014. http://edition.cnn.com/2013/07/08/us/jeb-bush-fast-facts/
  6. Florida Commission on Ethics. Final Full and Public Disclosure of Financial Interest. “Part A – Net Worth.” Filed 2/28/07
  7. Bloomberg. “Jeb Bush Raising Private Equity Funds as Campaign Weighed.” July 17, 2014. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-07-17/jeb-bush-raising-private-equity-funds-as-campaign-weighed.html
  8. Florida Department of State Division of Corporations. “Jeb Bush & Associates LLC.” Accessed October 31, 2014. http://search.sunbiz.org/Inquiry/CorporationSearch/SearchResultDetail/EntityName/forl-m07000001163-c3a95c9f-e117-4bd0-bab1-9d9909716d8a/jeb%20bush%20llc/Page1
  9. New York Times. “Jeb Bush’s Rush to Make Money May Be Hurdle.” April 20, 2014. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/21/us/politics/jeb-bushs-rush-to-make-money-may-be-hurdle.html
  10. FOX Business. “Jeb Bush Ties to Street Could Be Hurdle in Presidential Run.” April 9, 2014. http://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/2014/04/09/jeb-bush-ties-to-street-could-be-hurdle-in-presidential-run/
  11. Tampa Bay Times. “Another Appointment for Jeb.” August 22, 2007. http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/the-buzz-florida-politics/content/another-appointment-jeb; FOX Business. “Jeb Bush Ties to Street Could Be Hurdle in Presidential Run.” April 9, 2014. http://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/2014/04/09/jeb-bush-ties-to-street-could-be-hurdle-in-presidential-run/
  12. CNN. “Jeb Bush Facts.” January 25, 2014. http://edition.cnn.com/2013/07/08/us/jeb-bush-fast-facts/
  13. CNN. “Jeb Bush Facts.” January 25, 2014. http://edition.cnn.com/2013/07/08/us/jeb-bush-fast-facts/
  14. St. Petersburg Times. “Jeb Bush followed the family game plan: Earn your fortune, then run for public office. A vast network of deals made it possible.” September 20, 1998. http://www.sptimes.com/State/92098/Make_The_Money_and_Ru.html
  15. St. Petersburg Times. “Jeb Bush followed the family game plan: Earn your fortune, then run for public office. A vast network of deals made it possible.” September 20, 1998. http://www.sptimes.com/State/92098/Make_The_Money_and_Ru.html
  16. Associated Press. “Candidate’s Family Close, Worked In Campaign.” July 18, 1980.
  17. Date, S.V. “Jeb: America’s Next Bush.” 2007. http://books.google.com/books?id=vUWJ1luD57cC&pg=PT223#v=onepage&q=commerce&f=false
  18. St. Petersburg Times. “Jeb Bush followed the family game plan: Earn your fortune, then run for public office. A vast network of deals made it possible.” September 20, 1998. http://www.sptimes.com/State/92098/Make_The_Money_and_Ru.html
  19. Miami Herald. “Jeb Bush: The Son Rises Away From Dad’s Shadow.” August 15, 1994.
  20. St. Petersburg Times. “Jeb Bush followed the family game plan: Earn your fortune, then run for public office. A vast network of deals made it possible.” September 20, 1998.
  21. Sun Sentinel. “The Education of Jeb Bush: Florida’s Popular Secretary of Commerce Joins His Father’s Campaign for President, and Plots His Own Political Future.” August 14, 1988. http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/1988-08-14/features/8802160886_1_jeb-bush-secretary-commerce
  22. United Press International, “Florida Governor joins Bush campaign” 4/22/87.
  23. Miami Herald. “Jeb Bush: He’s Quitting Agency.” May 31, 1988.
  24. New York Times. “A Savings And Loan Bailout, And Bush’s Son Jeb.” October 14, 1990.
  25. New York Times. “A Savings And Loan Bailout, And Bush’s Son Jeb.” October 14, 1990.
  26. New York Times. “A Savings And Loan Bailout, And Bush’s Son Jeb.” October 14, 1990.
  27. St. Petersburg Times. “Jeb Bush Joins Board At Lehman.” August 22, 2007. http://www.sptimes.com/2007/08/23/Business/Job_offer_is_fake__Mo.shtml
  28. St. Petersburg Times. “Sink Fuming Over Jeb’s New Company.” December 18, 2007.
  29. St. Petersburg Times. “Sink Fuming Over Jeb’s New Company.” December 18, 2007.
  30. St. Petersburg Times. “Lehman biggest provider of state funds.” December 20, 2007. http://www.sptimes.com/2007/12/20/news_pf/Business/Lehman_biggest_provid.shtml
  31. St. Petersburg Times. “Jeb Denies Role In SBA Debacle.” December 19, 2007; St. Petersburg Times. “Jeb Bush Keeps A High-Impact Low Profile.” July 5, 2008. http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/state/jeb-bush-keeps-a-high-impact-low-profile/664280
  32. St. Petersburg Times. “Florida stands to lose $1 billion because of Lehman Brothers’ bankruptcy.” June 5, 2009. http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/florida-stands-to-lose-1-billion-because-of-lehman-brothers-bankruptcy/1007445
  33. St. Petersburg Times. “Florida stands to lose $1 billion because of Lehman Brothers’ bankruptcy.” June 5, 2009. http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/florida-stands-to-lose-1-billion-because-of-lehman-brothers-bankruptcy/1007445
  34. New York Times. “Jeb Bush’s Rush to Make Money May Be Hurdle.” April 20, 2014. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/21/us/politics/jeb-bushs-rush-to-make-money-may-be-hurdle.html
  35. Orlando Sentinel. “Jeb Bush Becomes 1st Republican To Announce Candidacy For Governor.” October 5, 1993.
  36. CNN. “Jeb Bush Runs For Governor In Florida.” August 13, 1993.
  37. Palm Beach Post. “Chiles Chides Rival As Bush Clan Makes 3rd Campaign Tour.” October 11, 1994.
  38. Palm Beach Post. “Texans Give Florida’s Bush A $74,000 Campaign Boost.” February 27, 1994.
  39. Orlando Sentinel. “The GOP Race For Governor Has Turned Nasty. Candidates Are Accusing Each Other Of Lying In Their TV Political Ads.” August 2, 1994.; Orlando Sentinel. “Smith Tells Bush: It’s All Yours.” September 13, 1994.; New York Times: “The 1994 Campaign: Florida: Governor and Jeb Bush Debate, Exchanging Taunts and Claims of Distorting Truth. October 19, 1994. http://www.nytimes.com/1994/10/19/us/1994-campaign-florida-governor-jeb-bush-debate-exchanging-taunts-claims.html
  40. Orlando Sentinel. “Chiles Burns Bush.” November 9, 1994.
  41. Orlando Sentinel. “Can Mackay Win? Democrats Glum.” May 31, 1998. http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/1998-05-31/news/9805310093_1_mackay-democratic-party-jeb-bush
  42. Orlando Sentinel. “Can Mackay Win? Democrats Glum.” May 31, 1998. http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/1998-05-31/news/9805310093_1_mackay-democratic-party-jeb-bush
  43. Los Angeles Times. “Jeb Bush Reaching Out in Florida.” November 1, 1998. http://articles.latimes.com/1998/nov/01/news/mn-38344
  44. Washington Post. “Florida Governor.” November 4, 1998. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/campaigns/keyraces98/flgov/flgov.htm
  45. CNN. “Florida Governor Jeb Bush Assures a Fair and Bipartisan Recount of Votes.” November 8, 2000. http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0011/08/bn.47.html
  46. Associated Press. “Jeb Bush Certifies Win For Brother.” November 27, 2000.
  47. Los Angeles Times. “Jeb Bush Treads Lightly Amid Political Dangers.” November 30, 2000. http://articles.latimes.com/2000/nov/30/news/mn-59347
  48. Los Angeles Times. “Jeb Bush’s Recount Role Examined.” July 14, 2001. http://articles.latimes.com/2001/jul/14/news/mn-22362
  49. Rolling Stone. “Florida GOP Takes Voter Suppression to a Brazen New Extreme.” May 30, 2012. http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/florida-gop-takes-voter-supression-to-a-brazen-new-extreme-20120530
  50. Rolling Stone. “Florida GOP Takes Voter Suppression to a Brazen New Extreme.” May 30, 2012. http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/florida-gop-takes-voter-supression-to-a-brazen-new-extreme-20120530
  51. Rolling Stone. “Florida GOP Takes Voter Suppression to a Brazen New Extreme.” May 30, 2012. http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/florida-gop-takes-voter-supression-to-a-brazen-new-extreme-20120530
  52. Sun Sentinel. “FEMA Director Says Agency Looking Into Miami-Dade Claims.” October 15, 2004. http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/sfl-fema15oct15-story.html
  53. Sun Sentinel. “FEMA Director Says Agency Looking Into Miami-Dade Claims.” October 15, 2004. http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/sfl-fema15oct15-story.html
  54. Sun Sentinel. “FEMA Director Says Agency Looking Into Miami-Dade Claims.” October 15, 2004. http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/sfl-fema15oct15-story.html
  55. Orlando Sentinel. “Disaster Declared Before Damage Check.” May 15, 2005. http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2005-05-15/news/0505150017_1_fema-disaster-declaration-disaster-area
  56. Orlando Sentinel. “Disaster Declared Before Damage Check.” May 15, 2005. http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2005-05-15/news/0505150017_1_fema-disaster-declaration-disaster-area
  57. Agence France Presse. “Florida Governor Bush Admits Wilma Relief Effort Weak.” October 26, 2005. http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Florida_Governor_Bush_Admits_Wilma_Relief_Effort_Weak.html
  58. Associated Press. “Recovery From Wilma Begins, Not As Quickly As All Hoped.” October 26, 2005.
  59. Washington Times. “Jeb Bush, GOP: Time to leave Reagan behind.” May 3, 2009. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/may/03/gop-listens-in-drive-to-thrive/?page=all
  60. FOX News. “Exclusive: Jeb Bush talks immigration, education.” April 6, 2014. http://video.foxnews.com/v/3438753162001/exclusive-jeb-bush-talks-immigration-education/#sp=show-clips
  61. MLive. “Jeb Bush in Grand Rapids touts immigration reform, Common Core.” October 13, 2014. http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2014/10/jeb_bush_in_grand_rapids.html; Wall Street Journal. “Jeb Bush Charts Tricky Course With Embrace of Common Core.” June 16, 2014. http://online.wsj.com/articles/jeb-bush-charts-tricky-course-with-embrace-of-common-core-1402956578
  62. Wall Street Journal. “Jeb Bush Charts Tricky Course With Embrace of Common Core.” June 16, 2014. http://online.wsj.com/articles/jeb-bush-charts-tricky-course-with-embrace-of-common-core-1402956578
  63. Yahoo! News. “Possible GOP presidential candidates court NRA.” April 25, 2014. http://news.yahoo.com/possible-gop-presidential-candidates-court-nra-211649898–election.html
  64. Florida Department of State Division of Elections. “Election Results.” Accessed October 20, 2014. http://election.dos.state.fl.us/elections/resultsarchive/index.asp; “Campaign Finance Database.” Accessed October 20, 2014. http://election.dos.state.fl.us/campaign-finance/contrib.asp#cand
  65. CNN. “Jeb Bush opposed to Florida Medicaid expansion.” March 6, 2013. http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2013/03/06/jeb-bush-opposed-to-florida-medicaid-expansion/
  66. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “Obamacare is flawed, Jeb Bush says at Milwaukee event.” November 4, 2013. http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/barack-obamas-healthcare-law-is-flawed-gops-jeb-bush-says-b99135203z1-230581971.html
  67. Weekly Standard. “The View from the Sidelines.” May 31, 2010. http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/view-sidelines
  68. Associated Press. “Possible GOP presidential candidates court NRA.” April 25, 2014. http://news.yahoo.com/possible-gop-presidential-candidates-court-nra-211649898–election.html
  69. Miami Herald. “Jeb’s ‘grand bargain’ a lesson for GOP.” June 9, 2012. http://www.miamiherald.com/incoming/article1940478.html
  70. Wall Street Journal. “Jeb Bush Charts Tricky Course With Embrace of Common Core.” June 16, 2014. http://online.wsj.com/articles/jeb-bush-charts-tricky-course-with-embrace-of-common-core-1402956578
  71. New York Times. “Jeb Bush Returns to Fray and Finds Going Rough.” September 24, 2014. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/25/us/politics/jeb-bush-returns-to-fray-and-finds-going-rough.html
  72. Tampa Bay Times. “Jeb Bush: ‘I strongly urge’ Floridians to vote against medical marijuana.” August 14, 2014. http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/the-buzz-florida-politics/jeb-bush-i-strongly-urge-floridians-to-vote-against-medical-marijuana/2192873