Friday, October 08, 2004
In tonight's presidential debate, George W. Bush responded with shock when, in the context of a discussion of how rich folks often hide wealth in corporate structures that allow them to qualify for tax breaks as "small businesses," John Kerry mentioned the President's conflicting interests as both a self-professed (though laughable) "steward of the land" and owner of a timber company.
Bush jumped from his seat -- "I am the owner of a timber company? Want some wood...?" he smirked at moderator Charley Gibson.
The impression was that Kerry had made a mistake.
In fact, the mistake was the President's, who either baldly lied to the American people with a tremendous sense of self-satisfied conviction or more likely didn't even know his own financial holdings.
A real man of the people -- he owns a company with holdings of hundreds of thousands of dollars and isn't even aware of it.
But what's a couple hundred thousand dollars to a filthy-rich Bush heir?
Vindicating Kerry's claim took all of about 3 minutes, by going to the public record of President Bush's 2004 financial holding filing, available at opensecrets.org.
There one can find a listing for an asset on Page 8, Item 9 of Bush's filing for LSTF, LLC, which contains an asterisk directing the reader to an attachment explaining why the company has no listed financial data.
On page 14 of the filing, one can then find this attachment which reveals that LSTF is in fact a limited liability company with a little over $6,000 dollars in a Wells Fargo checking account and over $200,000 worth of trees as inventory.
Why does it have trees, Mr. President? Why because, as it reads on your own financial disclosure, that the company was "organized on 2-13-03 for the purpose of the production of trees for commercial sales."
Okay, so it's a timber company, George W. might retort with a Texas snort and a wink, but it doesn't mean he owns it!
Unfortunately, Bush's financial disclosure undermines that strategy too, reading that LSTF, LLC is co-owned by John Taylor and "The Lone Star Trust (George W. Bush, Grantor)."
It's often been remarked by friends and foes alike that the President is a "simple" man. But here again is evidence that Bush has a remarkable way of evading and denying even relatively simple truths.