Jeb! We hardly knew ye.
The 2016 election seems soooo long ago. There was a time, for about 15 minutes, when some wise people regarded Jeb! Bush as the front-runner. He had the name. The camera liked him more than it liked George W. And he had the money. Lots and lots of money. (One of my favorite photoshopped images from the campaign altered the text of a huge billboard from ‘Donald Trump is a moron. —Jeb Bush’ to ‘Burn all our donors’ money. —Mike Murphy,’ Murphy being Jeb!’s campaign manager.)
There was so much money sloshing around in Bush campaign coffers that it was hard to keep track of it all. But the Campaign Legal Center, a ‘bipartisan’ group whose business it is to cast a jaundiced eye over campaign finances, wondered about a $1.3 million contribution to the Bush Super-PAC Right to Rise (the link is still active but seems at the moment to be advertising gutters), run by Jeb!’s brother, Neil Bush. The contribution came through a Chinese entity called American Pacific International Capital (APIC), an international investment company upon whose board sat Neil.
As Mother Jones reported, not without glee, even though. the contribution came through the company’s American arm, it is owned by the Chinese and Neil Bush originally asked for the money from two Chinese nationals — Gordon Tang, the chair of APIC, and Huaidan Chen, a board member.
Tsk tsk. Federal Election law stipulates that a ‘foreign national shall not direct, dictate, control, or directly or indirectly participate in the decision-making process of any…corporation…with regard to…election-related activities.’ According to the FEC, Right to Rise, though Neil Bush, did just that. Result: one of the largest fines in the history of American elections, $550,000 for APIC and $390,000 for Right to Rise, coming to a grand total, ladies and gentlemen, of $940,000.
Rachel Maddow, the television entertainer, thought that was just dandy. I am not quite sure what to make of it, apart from what it says about the Bush campaign organization, on the one hand, and the risible obsession with Russian interference in the 2016 election to exclusion of the Chinese variety.