July 22, 2015

Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush want Planned Parenthood investigation

via @learyreports

Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio today joined calls for a Congressional investigation into Planned Parenthood.

“The videos speak for themselves," Rubio said a news release. "The cruel and callous language used by senior Planned Parenthood officials is sickening, shows a complete disregard for innocent unborn life, not to mention Planned Parenthood’s clients, and speaks to an organization that is morally bankrupt. There is simply no justification for an organization that fosters this kind of culture to receive a penny of taxpayer funding, and there should be a serious and impartial investigation into the grotesque practices revealed by the video.”

Bush, campaigning at a pregnancy center in Spartanburg, S.C., said: "It just troubles me that you would sell body parts. It just makes no sense to me." 

If president, he would call for a review of funding for any organization with a "deep political agenda," according to CNN.

Planned Parenthood says the videos have been edited and distort the truth.

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

Another campaign-finance complaint filed against Jeb Bush

via @learyreports

Campaign finance watchdog groups today sent another complaint to the Justice Department, arguing Jeb Bush is violating law for his involvement with a Super PAC run by longtime advisor Mike Murphy.

"Bush is doing precisely what the 2002 law prohibits: establishing and, through his agents, directly or in directly controlling an entity that is raising and spending non federal funds," reads a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch from the Campaign Legal Center and Democracy 21.

"This scheme goes to the heart of what the (2002 Bipartisan Camapign Reform Act) soft money provisions were enacted to prohibit. The public position taken by the Bush campaign that it is not “coordinating” with the Super PAC on its spending, even if it were correct, is irrelevant and a distraction from the real issue here, which is the scheme to violate the BCRA soft money provisions. Because this scheme involves knowing and willful violations of the law, the Department has an obligation to investigate it and take appropriate action."

Bush has faced several complaints, first for raising huge sums for the Right to Rise Super PAC as a non-candidate candidate. His campaign insists he has followed the law, and last week reports showed he paid nearly $400,000 out of pocket for "testing the waters" activity before becoming an official candidate.

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

Quinnipiac poll: Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush best Hillary Clinton in Colorado, Iowa and Virginia


Miami's two Republican presidential contenders, Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush, along with Wisconsin's Scott Walker, lead Democrat Hillary Clinton in hypothetical head-to-head match-ups in three key swing states, according to a new public-opinion survey.

The Quinnipiac University poll found Clinton trails or is statistically tied in Colorado, Iowa and Virginia with the three GOP candidates:

                               Colorado           Iowa            Virginia

Clinton                        38                    36                    41

Rubio                          46                    44                    43


Clinton                        36                    36                    39

Bush                            41                    42                    42


Clinton                        38                    37                    40

Walker                         47                    45                    43

In some cases in Iowa and Colorado, Democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont does the same or better than Clinton against Bush, Rubio and Walker, according to the poll, which has an error margin of 2.8 percentage points. The results indicate the 2016 general election could be a close one, assuming Democrats nominate Clinton and Republicans nominate Walker, Bush or Rubio.

Clinton has negative favorability ratings in all three states -- but they're better than Republican Donald Trump, the most negatively viewed of all presidential candidates, according to the poll.

Did a law pass under Bill Clinton to ban guns at military recruiting sites as Jeb Bush says?

A day after the shooting rampage at two military sites in Chattanooga that would ultimately take the lives of four Marines and a Navy petty officer, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush -- a Republican presidential candidate -- pointed the finger at former President Bill Clinton’s administration for a law that he said banned the carrying of guns by military recruiters.

The shootings took place at two sites -- a military recruiting office in a strip mall and a Navy Operational Support Center. The gunman -- Mohammad Youssef Abdulazeez, 24, a native of Kuwait who had lived in Tennessee for most of his life -- was shot dead by police. Authorities are investigating the killings but haven’t yet confirmed a terrorist motive.

Speaking at a Carson City, Nev., town hall on July 17, Bush said, "A law was passed, apparently in the Clinton administration, about whether, in recruiting offices … Marines or other military should be able to have guns. Apparently it is prohibited."

Bush was one of several Republican candidates to call for an end to such a gun prohibition. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, another GOP presidential candidate, also pointed blame at Clinton.

Bush’s claim raised two questions for us: Are guns prohibited at recruiting offices? And if so, is that due to a law passed under President Clinton?

See what PolitiFact Florida found and see Bush's full Truth-O-Meter record.

July 21, 2015

Jeb Bush on crowded GOP debate: 'I don't know what else to do'


There's no question right now that Jeb Bush would make it onto the first 2016 Republican presidential primary debate Aug. 6 in Cleveland. Organizers plan to accommodate the top 10 candidates, based on an average of national poll results. Bush is near the top across the board.

"I hope I make it," Bush quipped Tuesday in South Carolina.

But he had no answers for a woman in Spartanburg who expressed concern that the GOP will exclude at least six candidates from the debate.

"If every candidate got allowed on the stage in a 90-minute debate, we'd all have four minutes of discussion," Bush said. "I just want to be in it."

He shared the woman's concern that some candidates who might have interesting things to say would be left out -- especially considering the error margin of the polls being used to make the decision of who's in and who's out is larger than the percentage-point difference in the candidates who make the cutoff and those who don't.

"John Kasich is an effective governor and has a great record, and he's the host governor of the first debate in Cleveland," Bush said of Kasich, the 16th candidate, who entered the race Tuesday. "It's odd.... I'll give a shout-out to Kasich if he's not on [stage].

"I just don't know they're going to come about picking Number Nine and Number 10. It's a pretty large. I don't know what else to do," he said. "Clearly, anyone who thought I was going to be frontrunner... I proved that wrong."

Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, former Miami-Dade registered lobbyists

via @learyreports

Here’s another thing Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush have in common: They have both been registered lobbyists in Miami-Dade County.

In 1991, Bush registered as a lobbyist in Miami-Dade on behalf of his real estate company with Armando Codina before he was elected to office, according to records reported on by the Wall Street Journal. Bush was representing Deering Bay residential development, which he and Codina sold after Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

Rubio was also listed as a registered lobbyist in Miami-Dade, from 1997 to 2005 while he worked for various law firms, mostly on land use. In 2003, Rubio was registered as a federal lobbyist while working for Becker & Poliakoff. His campaign told the Washington Post he did not recall filling out the document and that Rubio did not lobby. The firm in 2005 asked for the registration to be revoked.

Both Bush and Rubio say they were never really lobbyists in the generally accepted definition.

“Governor Bush was not working as a lobbyist,” spokeswoman Kristy Campbell told the Journal. “This was specific to the Deering Bay project where Governor Bush was a partner and the project required the Commission weigh in on permitting approval issues to move forward with work.”

Rubio’s camp has said law firms that did land use in Miami-Dade often registered lawyers “out of an abundance of caution.”

“In fact, all lawyers representing clients on land use matters are supposed to register as lobbyists,” campaign spokesman Alex Burgos told the Miami Herald in 2010, when Charlie Crist’s campaign tried to make an issue out of it. "While Marco worked on land use contracts and RFPs, he never met with elected officials to influence them on behalf of clients."

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

July 20, 2015

Jeb Bush as the anti-Donald Trump, as portrayed in campaign and super PAC videos


As a presidential candidate, Jeb Bush can't coordinate his message or plans with Right to Right USA, the super PAC he used as a fundraising vehicle for five months before launching his campaign.

But he can release videos and make statements making his pitch crystal clear to his allies.

Take a look at a web video Bush's campaign released three days ago and at one released Monday by Right to Rise. The point of both: Bush is the anti-Donald Trump, the grownup in the room who intends to paint a positive picture of the GOP.

"Come Join Us," by Jeb 2016


"Passion and Conviction," by Right to Right USA


Bush on Trump: McCain is a 'legitimate hero' and Trump 'ought to apologize'

Former Gov. Jeb Bush continued the chorus of criticism in response to presidential candidate Donald Trump's latest attention-seeking insults urged him to apologize to Arizona Sen. John McCain.

"He was in a POW camp for five years and could have gotten out early but said he wanted to stay to show respect for the other POW members," Bush said after his 30-minute speech to a crowd of supporters in Tallahassee on Monday. "This is a legitimate hero that has served his country lots of ways. Mr. Trump knows that. He should just apologize."

McCain, a former Navy pilot, was held by the North Vietnamese as a prisoner of war in the notorious “Hanoi Hilton.”  McCain was repeatedly tortured and spent two years in solitary confinement.

"I'm not into the process side of this,'' Bush said. McCain is "a legitimate hero for this country. He serves with distinction. Mr. Trump ought to reappraise what his thoughts are on that subject."

Bush, who called Trump's comments "slanderous" in a Twitter comment over the weekend, suggested there will be more of the same attention-seeking behavior from the flamboyant businessman.

"I think next week there'll be another one," he said. 

Jeb Bush vows to take on bureaucracy and revolving door of influence if elected

With Tallahassee as his backdrop, Jeb Bush vowed to “disrupt” the Washington establishment if he's elected president, by shrinking government, seeking a line-item veto, campaigning for a balanced budget amendment and imposing a six-year ban on the revolving door of Congressmen entering the lobbying corps.

"The ultimate disruption of Washington is to reject, as I do, the whole idea of a government forever growing more, borrowing more, and spending more,’’ Bush told 350 supporters at Florida State University. It was the first in a series of speeches intended to outline his priorities. 

Standing before a sign that proclaimed “DC Reform,” Bush took a subtle dig at some of his rivals – Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida, Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky -- by emphasizing his outsider status. He called for legislation to pay Congress only on days they show up for work and joked that "it would at least get them to show up for a vote."

He then launched a multi-part proposal that he said would reform Washington the way he changed Tallahassee. His proposals include many of the spending limits Republican candidates have been touting for decades -- asking states to ratify a balanced budget amendment, embracing the line-time veto, reforming government contracting, and imposing limits on agency spending.

But Bush offered a few updated approaches, based on his time in Tallahassee.

Noting that he was the first governor to make his budget available online, he said agencies should have to justify their spending and provide more transparency. Citing his push to reduce the state workforce by 13,000, he said he would shrink government payroll 10 percent by freezing hiring and then hiring only one worker to replace every three that retire.

He called for lobbying reforms, noting that in Washington "spending on lobbying has risen by more than 45 percent over the past decade, translating to $12.5 million per member of Congress at last count."

Referring to the Florida lobbyist reforms, backed by Bush but initiated in Florida by former-Senate President Tom Lee, he said he would end the revolving door of Congressmen getting jobs as lobbyists by imposing a six-year ban on the practice. 

"We need to help politicians to rediscover life outside of Washington, which – who knows? – might even be a pleasant surprise for them,'' he said. 

The friendly audience of supporters included former campaign and agency staff he had hired throughout his career -- many of whom have now become lobbyists. He nonetheless aim at the livelihoods of some of them calling them an "ambiguous class of consultants who lobby but call it something else."

"The definition of the term ‘lobbyist’ should be expanded to address the cadre of ‘government relations’ and ‘government affairs’ specialists now populating the Capitol,'' he said.

Bush blasted the federal civil service system as “ruled by inertia” where “people are hired, promoted, and given pay increases often without regard to performance.”

Continue reading "Jeb Bush vows to take on bureaucracy and revolving door of influence if elected" »

Jeb Bush promises to 'disrupt the establishment' and reform the civil service system

Borrowing a term from popular culture, Jeb Bush will tell a Tallahassee audience Monday that if elected president in 2016, he will not "preside" over the "establishment" in Washington but will "disrupt that establishment and make it accountable to the people."

In excerpts of his speech to a GOP audience at Florida State University, he is suggesting that will mean disrupting the civil service system, as he did in Florida with his controversial efforts to seek civil service reforms. 

"People are hired, promoted, and given pay increases often without regard to performance,'' he writes, according to excerpts of his speech released by his campaign.

"More than ever, it’s a system stuck in old ways, ruled by inertia, and unaccountable to the people.  And with over two million employees on the federal payroll, these problems carry a heavy cost, and a few serious reforms will go a long way."

As governor, Bush reduced the state workforce 13,000 by shifting state jobs to private contractors on everything from toll takers to personnel services. The exercise angered state employee unions and state workers and, according to a Herald analysis, he steered at least $667 million in state services and 9,787 jobs to the private companies.

Bush abolished the state Department of Labor and gave new contracting authority to all his agencies, especially the Department of Management Services. His successors, former Gov. Charlie Crist and Gov. Rick Scott, continued the trend and private companies now run state toll collections, law enforcement communications systems, Medicaid collections, payroll functions, mail services, prison canteens, janitorial duties, office leasing and even oversight of foster care for the state's neediest children.

The share of the state budget "outsourced" to private companies exploded -- and so did the Tallahassee’s cottage industry of executive branch lobbyists, who made a living off negotiating and capturing state contracts. Their clients rewarded the Republican Party with millions in campaign contributions during Bush's term, and continue to be a major source of revenue for GOP candidates. 

Bush's talk of performance measures is only one of a series of reforms the former governor is expected to announce at his 10 a.m. speech. More here. 

Here are more excerpts released by the Bush campaign:

Continue reading "Jeb Bush promises to 'disrupt the establishment' and reform the civil service system" »