22 September 2015

Remember Last Night, When I Used the Phrase, "Bush Crime Family?"

Well today, we learn of the orgy of political payback and cronyism in the next generation of the Bush family, we have George P. Bush turning the office of Texas Land Commissioner into an opportunity for his buddies to profit while ignoring state law that requires public notice of open positions:
Less than a year after being elected to lead the oldest state agency in Texas, Land Commissioner George P. Bush has dramatically remade the General Land Office by ousting most of its longtime leaders and replacing many with people with ties to his campaign and family.

Eleven of the top 18 officials on the agency’s organizational chart a year ago have been fired or forced out or have quit, and more could leave soon in an overhaul that Bush has described as a “reboot.”

In their place, Bush, a former Fort Worth resident, has given top jobs to two of his law school classmates, two relatives of members of two Bush presidential administrations and at least three others with ties to the family or other political leaders.

In all, Bush has hired at least 29 people who worked on his campaign or have political connections, according to a review of thousands of pages of personnel records. The agency did not advertise any of the openings publicly.


State law requires all agencies considering external candidates for a job to post the opening with the Texas Workforce Commission. Newly elected statewide officials often ignore the requirement for some core positions. Attorney General Ken Paxton and Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller have been publicly criticized for doing it a few times this year.

But Bush’s hiring differs because it is so far-reaching, with hires ranging from a temporary transition director to five campaign veterans hired permanently for the new position of “regional outreach coordinator.”

Bush made many so-called appointment hires before even taking office but has continued them well into this year.

The General Land Office, established in 1837, oversees all state public lands and also leases mineral rights to oil and gas companies, generating billions of dollars for schools. Bush, the grandson and nephew of presidents and the son of current presidential candidate Jeb Bush, was elected in November.


“Any agency, board, bureau, commission, committee, council, court, department, institution, or office in the executive or judicial branch of state government that has an employment opening for which persons from outside the agency will be considered shall list the opening with the Texas Workforce Commission,” the law says.

Commission spokeswoman Lisa Givens said she did not know who was responsible for enforcing that law. The commission does not check to ensure that jobs are posted, she said.

The attorney general’s office referred questions about the law to the workforce agency.

Personnel records show that Bush directed at least 40 external hires from November to July but listed only four of those with the Workforce Commission.

The average salary for those four was about $65,000. The average salary for the 36 unposted jobs was $90,000.

Ten jobs went to campaign aides, including temporary transition director Trey Newton, who made $17,500 per month, and the five regional outreach coordinators, who are making $55,000 a year. Newton, the campaign engineer Bush once called “our Karl Rove,” left in January. He did not return a call seeking comment.

Another campaign strategist, Ash Wright, and his wife, Patty Wright, both got unposted jobs in December with annual salaries of $120,000 and $48,000, respectively. Both have left, with Ash Wright returning to Bush’s campaign.

The campaign’s spokesman, J.R. Hernandez, got a more permanent job as Bush’s chief of staff, with an annual salary of $110,000. Hernandez, the son of George W. Bush adviser Juan Hernandez and a 2008 college graduate, started the job exactly a week after the election. The application in his personnel file is not signed or dated, and there is no offer letter, making it hard to determine a timeline of employment.
The Bush family has been engaging in this sort of entitled privilege since my dad was in elementary school.

H/t Atrios.


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