While he raises millions of dollars in campaign contributions in his quest for the 2016 GOP nomination for President, Jeb Bush is also facing questions about his past business dealings, one of which may indicate a serious conflict of interest on Bush’s part.
As recently as 2013, Bush was urging conservative groups in New York to support hydraulic fracturing–also known as fracking–while he was also raising some $40 million for a company that was in the process of purchasing fracking wells across the United States. Bush was also co-owner of a company–FracStar Logistics–that sells the sand used in fracking. Bush’s son, George P. Bush, is one of the founders of FracStar Logistics.
Back in 2013, while advocating for fracking, Jeb remarked:
“We should be celebrating this phenomenal achievement–and we do, in North Dakota, in Pennsylvania, in south and west Texas. Some states, like here in New York, are choosing not to grow. They won’t approve fracking. Meanwhile, in parts of New York where huge opportunities exist for the restoration of economic activity, people languish.”
While fracking has become increasingly popular–and profitable–in parts of the country, those opposed to it say the process pollutes the water supply with potentially hazardous chemicals.
But despite the concerns of environmentalists, when Bush spoke in Colorado just last year, he took shots at a statewide referendum that would have imposed additional restrictions on fracking, calling it “one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard.”
As Bush edges closer to a formal announcement that he is seeking the White House in 2016, voters will have to decide if his past business dealings are indicative of a larger hidden agenda. Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, noted:
“Voters have long been concerned about financial portfolios of politicians because they want to be assured there is no conflict of interest, that there is no potential personal enrichment involved in their policies. Voters may feel fine with his policy decisions and happy that he’s consistent in his beliefs, that he is walking the walk. The main question is whether he’s open to debate and new information, good or bad, about fracking or any policy. We don’t want politicians who are inflexible.”
It seems clear at this point that Jeb Bush still has more than few questions left to answer regarding his business dealings. Simply saying he’s his own man will only go so far in allaying the fears still associated with the sound of his last name.
This article was originally published by the same author at LiberalAmerica.org.