Monday, April 11, 2005

Confiscating the White House 

Those of us who have the good fortune to live in expensive gated communities have undoubtedly noticed the feds seizing houses, cars, boats and other assets from our prosperous neighbors in the illicit-pharmaceutical trade; under RICO laws, as you know, the spoils of crime go straight into the public treasury, even before a conviction is returned. But what's the SOP when racketeers used their ill-gotten gains to help buy the presidency? Greg Palast explains:

On Friday, the Manhattan District Attorney's office announced it had captured a couple of Texas varmints, the Wyly Brothers, Charles and Sam. The two have 'fessed to concealing half their holdings in one of the rich boys' companies, Michaels Stores. The grand jury is still out on deciding to indict the two for the crime of fraud upon the stock market.

Who are these guys? The billionaire brothers are "Pioneers" - not the kind that built little houses on the prairie, but the kind that agreed to raise over a hundred grand for George W. Bush's first Presidential run. Sam anted up more than a quarter million for the Republican National Committee in 2000.

But that's just the tip of the cash-berg for Bush. In 2000, Sen. John McCain was wiping the electoral floor with Bush Jr. in the Republican primaries … until that March when the Wylys secretly put up two and half million dollars for a campaign to smear Bush's opponent just days before the crucial Southern primaries.

They repeated the trick in 2004, putting up cash for the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, the vicious little snipes who tore apart the Kerry campaign.

So what makes these guys so thrilled with Mr. Bush? There are more than ninety million reasons. While George W. was governor of Texas, investigative reporter Joe Conason discovered, a Wyly family private investment fund, Maverick Capital of Dallas, was awarded a state contract to invest $90 million for the University of Texas endowment.

That's not all. As Governor, Bush signed into law an electricity "deregulation" bill that was little more than ill-disguised raid on consumers' wallets by Texas power companies. The bill was in part drafted by an outfit called GreenMountain.com, a power company owned by … Sam Wyly.

On the day George W. signed the deregulation bill, Sam Wyly said, "Governor Bush's hard work and leadership have paid off." And, it seems, in 2000 and 2004, the Wylys paid back . . . .

When I worked as a racketeering investigator for government, nothing was spared, including houses bought with purloined loot. Let there be no exception here. It's time to tape up the White House gate and hang the sign: "Crime Scene: Property to be Confiscated. Vacate Premises Immediately."

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