Media Obsessed Over Hillary Clinton's Wealth, Will They Do The Same For Jeb Bush?

Media outlets have described Hillary Clinton's wealth and the speaking fees she has earned as a “potentially serious political problem” and a “potential political liability.” Will they describe the financial dealings of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush the same way now that he is exploring a presidential run? And will they do in-depth reporting on the controversial business deals Bush has been involved in?

Jeb Bush Announces Plan To “Explore” Whether He Should Run For President

Bush: “I Have Decided To Actively Explore The Possibility Of Running For President.” On December 16, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush announced he would “actively explore the possibility of running for president of the United States” and revealed plans to establish “a Leadership PAC” for that purpose. [, 12/16/14]

Media Have Repeatedly Portrayed Hillary Clinton's Wealth And Speaking Fees Described As Possible Liability

Washington Post: Clinton Wealth Is “A Potentially Serious Political Problem.” In a June 22 news story, The Washington Post reported, “On her current book tour, the former secretary of state has traveled the country by private jet as she has for many of her speaking engagements since stepping down as secretary of state last year,” adding, “Her fee is said to be upwards of $200,000 per speech.” The Post speculated that “Such scenes reveal a potentially serious political problem for Clinton as she considers a 2016 presidential run: She and her husband are established members of the 1 percent, leading lives far removed from the millions of middle-class voters who swing elections.” [Washington Post, 6/22/14]

Washington Post: Clinton Wealth “Now Seen As A Potential Political Liability.” In a June 26 news story, The Washington Post reported that President Clinton “has delivered hundreds of paid speeches,” taking the Clinton family “to a point of such extraordinary wealth that it is now seen as a potential political liability if [Hillary Clinton] runs for president in 2016.” [Washington Post, 6/26/14]

Washington Post's Marcus: Clinton Has “A Money Problem.Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus wrote in a June 27 column that Hillary Clinton has “two money problems,” arguing that “The first is how you talk about it. The second is how you collect it -- or, to be more precise, the fact that you're still frenetically collecting it.” [Washington Post, 6/27/14]

NBC's Todd: Ex-Presidents Make Money Like This, Not Candidates Before They Run." In a July 17 appearance on MSNBC's Morning Joe, Chuck Todd stated of Clinton, “All of this book tour; all of these decisions to go out and basically make your post-presidential money before you run for--before you actually are president? Which is really what's going [on]. Ex-presidents make money like this, not candidates before they run.” [MSNBC, Morning Joe, 7/17/14 via The Daily Howler]

Bloomberg News: Clinton Earnings “At Odds With” Party Focus On Income Inequality. In a July 21 article, Bloomberg News reported: “Hillary Clinton has earned at least $12 million in 16 months since leaving the State Department, a windfall at odds with her party's call to shrink the gap between the rich and the poor.” [Bloomberg News, 7/21/14]

Washington Post's Cillizza: Clinton “Still Hasn't Found A Good Answer To Questions About Her Wealth.” In a July 29 blog post anchored by a video clip provided by the pro-Republican America Rising PAC, The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza wrote a post headlined, “Hillary Clinton still hasn't found a good answer to questions about her wealth.” Cillizza concluded, “Until she finds three sentences (or so) to button up any/all questions about her wealth, those questions will keep coming. And that's not the way Clinton wants to run-up to her now all-but-certain presidential bid.” [Washington Post, 7/29/14]

Jeb Bush Earned Millions In Speaking Fees, “Unapologetic” About “Expand[ing] Wealth”

Bush Earns “Around $50,000” Per Speech, Has Generated Millions Since Leaving Office. The New York Times reported on April 20 that Bush's corporate speech-making “appears to have generated millions” since he left office and that he “commands about $50,000 for his speeches, delivering more than 100 since 2007.” [New York Times, 4/20/2014]

Bush Opposed Affordable Care Act, Was Paid $2 Million By Company That Supported It. Bush opposed the Affordable Care Act, calling it “flawed to its core,” but the New York Times reported on April 20 that he “has earned more than $2 million for sitting on the board a company, Tenet Health Care, that has loudly endorsed the legislation.” [New York Times, 4/20/2014]

Bush Oversees Private Equity Funds Worth Millions. Bloomberg reported on December 11 that Bush is the chairman of several private equity funds:

Documents filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Nov. 27 list Bush as chairman and manager of a new offshore private equity fund, BH Global Aviation, which raised $61 million in September, largely from foreign ­investors. In November the fund incorporated in the United Kingdom and Wales­--a ­structure, several independent finance lawyers say, that operates like a tax haven by allowing overseas investors to avoid U.S. taxes and regulations.

BH Global Aviation is one of at least three such funds Bush has launched in less than two years through his Coral Gables, Fla., company, Britton Hill Holdings. He's also chairman of a $26 million fund, BH Logistics, established in April with backing from a Chinese conglomerate, and a $40 million fund involved in shale oil exploration, according to documents filed in June and first ­reported on by Bloomberg News. [Bloomberg, 12/11/14]

Bush: “Unapologetic” About “Expand[ing] Wealth.” The New York Times reported that since leaving public office in 2007, Bush has made an “unapologetic determination to expand his wealth, telling friends that his finances had suffered during his time in government.” [New York Times, 4/20/2014]

Bush Earned “At Least $3.2 Million” Sitting On Corporate Boards. The New York Times reported that Bush earned “at least $3.2 million in board fees and stock grants from publicly traded companies alone, records show.” [New York Times, 4/20/2014]

Bush's Current Salary “Exceeds $1 Million A Year.” The New York Times reported that Bush's current salary from Barclays, where he works as an adviser, “exceeds $1 million a year.” [New York Times, 4/20/2014]

Bush's Ties To Wall St Described As “Controversial”

Fox Business: Bush The “Only Major Candidate” With Direct Ties To Wall Street. Fox Business reported on April 9 that Bush is “only major candidate who has a direct tie to a big Wall Street investment bank as a paid advisor,” a reference to Bush's employment by Lehman Brothers and Barclays. [, 4/9/14]

Bush “Participated In” Efforts “To Prop Up Lehman Brothers.” The New York Times reported that Bush “participated in the fevered, last-ditch efforts to prop up Lehman Brothers, a Wall Street bank weighed down by toxic mortgage-backed securities.” In his role as a paid adviser, Bush “met with Carlos Slim Helú, a Mexican billionaire, as Lehman sought to persuade Mr. Slim to make a sizable investment in the firm, emails show.” [New York Times, 4/20/2014]

Bush Involved With Questionable Companies, Including One Engaged In Fraud

Bush Sued For Stock Manipulation After Serving On Board of Ideon Group. The St. Petersburg Times reported on September 20, 1998, that Bush served on the board of Ideon Group, a credit card fraud notification company. After Bush and seven other directors “agreed to sell Ideon to CUC International,” the company was sued “for stock manipulation and weak oversight.” Those suits were settled for $15 million. [St. Petersburg Times, 9/20/1998]

Bush Served On Board Of InnoVida, Whose Founder Pleaded Guilty To Fraud. The New York Times reported that after leaving office in 2007, Bush was hired as a paid consultant by InnoVida, later becoming a board member. He was reportedly hired to “confer[] credibility on the young start-up.”

It was later uncovered “that the leaders of InnoVida, a manufacturer of inexpensive building materials, had faked documents, lied about the health of the business and misappropriated $40 million in company funds.” The company “went bankrupt in 2011, its founder eventually went to jail and investors lost nearly all of their money.”

A lawyer who represented several of the company's investors argued that members of InnoVida's board of directors “had exercised little meaningful oversight of the company” in an interview with the Times. [New York Times, 4/20/2014]

Bush Served On Swisher Hygiene Board When Executives Said “Financial Statements Were Unreliable” And Accounting Practices Were “Inadequate.” The New York Times reported that “Mr. Bush sat on the board of Swisher Hygiene, a soap maker, at a time when, its executives acknowledged, their financial statements were unreliable and their accounting practices inadequate. That admission contributed to a plunge in stock price that has wiped out more than three-quarters of Swisher's value and touched off a wave of shareholder lawsuits.” [New York Times, 4/20/2014]