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News Taxes Tuesday, Jun 30 2015

Bush didn’t pay federal taxes for at least three years, what else is he hiding?

Jun 30, 2015

We’ve seen this movie before:  a Jeb Bush news dump headed into a holiday so he can claim transparency while keeping the big news safely buried.  Here’s a start:  Jeb! paid zero federal income tax in at least three years.

American Bridge is giving you a sneak peek at four of Bush’s returns already, and has made them available at the following links:

Additionally, here’s what you can expect Jeb! to not disclose headed into a holiday weekend:

  1. Tax records for Bush’s businesses. In 1994, Bush’s primary opponent in the race for the Republican nomination for Florida governor called on Bush to release the tax forms from his businesses. Bush’s fellow Republican claimed that Bush’s personal income tax forms were not enough to provide a full financial picture, and specifically called on Bush to release records showing how “he handled vast investment losses from his limited partnerships in the mid 1980s or how he amassed $3 million while his father was president.” Bush did not release the records in any subsequent campaigns.

  1. The business paperwork and underlying assets of his apparent pass-through LLCs.  Business filings demonstrate Jeb Bush appears to own three limited liability companies of undisclosed and unknown purposes: Granada Investment HoldingsAltara Investments, and Columbus Equity Holdings. The entities appear to be defunct, or transferred to Jeb’s son, but it is still unclear what they are for, what their underlying assets were, and if Bush will release all paperwork and tax returns associated with his companies.

  1. The Chinese investors in his private equity fund. Bloomberg reported that Bush had a “Mitt Romney problem” because the private equity fund he established, Britton Hill Holdings, was set up with connections to tax havens to facilitate foreign investment, specifically from China. Bush has not disclosed all of his Chinese investors.

  1. His foreign and domestic real estate investors. When running for governor in 1998, the St Petersburg Times reported that some of Bush’s early real estate deals were funded by undisclosed international investors. Bush refused to disclose them.

  1. A comprehensive list of his real estate deals. Even though he lacked a real estate background and did not provide any capital, Bush was given a 40% stake in a real estate venture with Armando Codina. Even though Bush has cited this experience on the campaign trail, he has yet to provide a list of all of the deals he completed, even though some of his leases were signed with questionable characters, including a Colombian national named Alberto Duque who would later be “convicted on 60 counts of bank fraud.”

  1. Real estate deals completed by Bush Financial Holdings. It appears that as part of a reentrance into real estate after serving as governor, Bush formed Bush Financial Holdings. He has yet to provide a list of the company’s real estate deals.

  1. All of the clients of Jeb Bush & Associates. After serving as governor, Bush formed Jeb Bush & Associates to serve as a consulting business. While it’s known that some of his other projects, such as his work with Lehman Brothers, began as consulting arrangements with Jeb Bush & Associates, a complete list of the entity’s clients has yet to be disclosed.

  1. A full accounting of his duties, activates, and compensation at Lehman Brothers. Bush went to work for the now infamous Lehman Brothers shortly after the conclusion of his gubernatorial career. Bush refused to disclose his duties and compensation at Lehman, and little is known besides his notable failed attempt to solicit an investment from Mexican Billionaire Carlos Slim shortly before the firm’s collapse. Bush denies helping sell subprime mortgage products to Florida pensions, which occurred only a month after his retention.

  1. A full accounting of his duties, activates, and compensation at Barclays. Following the collapse of Lehman, Jeb joined the British bank Barclays, which has become famous for its embroilment in global financial scandals, and its reliance on a “tax avoidance unit” that accounts for a huge portion of its profits. Much like with Lehman, Bush refuses to disclose the details of his duties, activates, and compensation.

  1. His contract and commission agreements with Moving Water Industries. In a now infamous case spanning four decades, Bush helped with a deal to use Export-Import Bank funds to sell water pumps to Nigeria. The company, Moving Water Industries, was later found to have defrauded the bank by using funds to pay bribes to Nigerian officials. George W. Bush’s Department of Justice did not make Jeb a party to their lawsuit and Jeb has never released his contract and commission agreements to substantiate his dubious claim that he did not make money from the deal.

  1. His education non-profits’ advocacy activities with state education officials. A landmark study by the non-partisan watchdog, In The Public Interest, unearthed correspondence between education officials and Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education in six states – pushing the for-profit agenda of several of the foundation’s donors, including testing companies. Bush has yet to release all correspondence between both of his education foundations (the Foundation for Excellence in Education and the Foundation for Florida’s Future) and state officials.

  1. The undisclosed anonymous donors to his education non-profit. Jeb’s Foundation for Excellence in Education failed to disclose a number of anonymous donations.

  1. The financial missteps that led to the collapse of his charter school. In an effort to soften his image after his failed 1994 run for governor, Bush established the Liberty City Charter School in Miami. The school was shuttered in 2008, citing financial emergency; Bush was asked to help save the school, but his efforts and the financial paperwork related to the school remain undisclosed.

  1. The complete list of donors to his charter school. To help establish Liberty City Charter School, Bush helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars. The identity of those donors has yet to be released by Bush’s campaign.

  1. All of the for-profit disaster relief projects completed by his firm, Old Rhodes Holdings. In 2011, Bush formed a firm, Old Rhodes Holdings, to partner with O’Brien’s, a for-profit disaster planning and relief company. Bush was to help the firm expand into new markets, but those projects have yet to be disclosed.

  1. The activities Jeb approved at Bloomberg Philanthropies. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is persona non-grata with some portions of the Republican base, and Jeb sits on the board of his charity that gives to causes that might give Jeb a headache. Releasing the board minutes and Jeb’s role in programmatic activities would go a long way towards clearing the air.

  1. The purpose of Jeb’s unearthed phone calls from the 2000 elections. In spite of a public promise to recuse himself and his staff from the 2000 election recount, which ultimately saw George W. Bush declared president, a Los Angeles Times expose revealed that Jeb and his staff made dozens of calls to his brother’s campaign and strategists. Jeb’s response? “I have no clue what these calls were about.”

  1. His debt collection activities. Bush says he left his early career as a banker (given to him by James Baker) at Texas Commerce Bank because he “wasn’t real good at collecting loans,” but he’s never disclosed what debts he was collecting, or from whom.

  1. The complete list of donors to the George H.W. Bush Library, whose fundraising was led by Jeb. Jeb Bush was president of the foundation for his father’s presidential library, which organized fundraising activities. Foreign governments contributed at least $6 million, but many individual foreign donors remain undisclosed.

  1. All of his missing, undisclosed emails. While Jeb Bush handpicked which emails to release from his time as governor, we know that Bush’s post-governor business career involved close dealings with the State of Florida. These emails and other records have never been released, despite serious questions about the propriety of these deals.

Published: Jun 30, 2015

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