Governor's Nonprofit Foundation Has Paid Pollster, Former Campaign Finance Chief
By Dara Kam
The Palm Beach Post
Thursday 29 June 2006
Tallahassee - Gov. Jeb Bush has used his recently revived nonprofit foundation to pay a former campaign finance director and two former campaign aides.
Although Bush has said his Foundation for Florida's Future is not a way of keeping his political machine intact after he leaves office early next year, recent disclosures on the foundation's Web site show that it paid:
- Nearly $99,000 to Ann Herberger, Bush's campaign finance director during two campaign and a longtime political fund-raiser for his family.
- Nearly $70,000 to Neil Newhouse of Washington-based GOP Public Opinion Strategies group for polling last October.
- $48,000 for "management services" to a lobbying and public-affairs firm whose staff includes Mandy Clark and Mandy Fletcher. Both worked on Bush's reelection campaign and on his brother's presidential reelection campaign.
- $23,500 for "legal services" from the Washington law and lobbying firm Patton Boggs.
- $20,000 in February to GOP political strategist Adam Goodman's The Victory Group Inc.
The foundation has spent about $320,000 of the $1.9 million it has raised since Bush revived it in the fall, according to its Web site. Those contributions have come from friends, former colleagues and campaign contributors, and even the prime minister of Haiti.
Bush also has tapped three "Rangers" - fund-raisers who brought in at least $200,000 for President Bush's 2004 campaign - to sit on the foundation's board: Zach Zachariah, a Fort Lauderdale cardiologist; Tom Petway, a Jacksonville businessman; and Sergio Pino, a Miami developer.
In Washington on Wednesday, Bush said the foundation's expenditures are within the law and that Herberger's salary comes from donations.
"It's all pretty transparent, complying with the new law," Bush said. "Ann Herberger gets money when she raises money. It's kind of how she makes a living."
But when asked about the subject of the $70,000 poll, Bush said, "I'm not going to tell you."
Bush had said he resurrected the foundation to campaign for a constitutional amendment to allow the state to pay for private- and religious-school tuition for children in failing schools, but lawmakers failed to pass a joint resolution that would have put such a question on the ballot in November.
Although Bush has said he will not seek public office in 2008, political strategists say the foundation will keep him from fading out of sight.
"The first time Michael Jordan retired, I bet he didn't quit working out. I bet he didn't quit playing basketball. You never know when you want to play again. And you want to be in shape if you think, 'I want to play a few seasons,'" said GOP strategist Mac Stipanovich.