This story by Ryan Grim about Jeb and Miami in the 80s is a must-read:
Jeb Bush personally lobbied the secretary of health and human services, while his father was vice president, on behalf of a Miami figure who would later flee the country accused of one of the greatest Medicare frauds in the program's history.
Bush pressed then-HHS Secretary Margaret Heckler to give the man's HMO a waiver so that it could accept larger sums of Medicare money than it otherwise would have been allowed, Heckler told The Huffington Post.
Miguel Recarey Jr., head of the health maintenance organization International Medical Centers (IMC) who often boasted of connections to the Miami Cuban mafia, paid Bush $75,000 in the mid-1980s. Bush has acknowledged receiving the payment but said it was tendered for real estate consultation. But the deal he consulted on was never closed.
It's quite a story. Let's just say that Jeb had some interesting buddies back in the day.
And it looks like he has some new lil friends that he's going to deploy against Hillary Clinton:
For his communications director, Jeb Bush is turning to a Republican operative who specializes in opposition research and runs a conservative outfit that has become a persistent thorn in the side of Hillary Clinton and other Democrats running for office.
America Rising executive director Tim Miller confirmed Friday that he is joining Bush’s new political action committee ahead of a likely White House campaign. The former Florida governor has been staffing up and fundraising as he explores a run.
[A] BBC documentary titled Digging the Dirt ... was filmed during the 2000 campaign and never aired in the United States. The film centers on a team of Republican opposition researchers —a species that has existed in politics for eons but had recently undergone an evolutionary leap. From deep within the Republican National Committee headquarters the BBC tracked the efforts of this team, whose job it was to discredit and destroy Al Gore.Political campaigns always attempt to diminish their opponents, of course. What was remarkable about the 2000 effort was the degree to which the process advanced beyond what Barbara Comstock, who headed the RNC research team, calls "votes and quotes"—the standard campaign practice of leaving the job of scouting the target to very junior staff members, who tend to dig up little more than a rival's legislative record and public statements.
Comstock's taking over the research team marked a significant change. She was a lawyer and a ten-year veteran of Capitol Hill who had been one of Representative Dan Burton's top congressional investigators during the Clinton scandals that dominated the 1990s: Filegate, Travelgate, assorted campaign-finance imbroglios, and Whitewater. Rather than amass the usual bunch of college kids, Comstock put together a group of seasoned attorneys and former colleagues from the Burton Committee, including her deputy, Tim Griffin. "The team we had from 2000," she told me recently, to show the degree of ratcheted-up professionalism, "were veteran investigators from the Clinton years. We had a core group of people, and that core was attorneys."
Comstock combined a prosecutor's mentality with an investigator's ability to hunt through public records and other potentially incriminating documents. More important, she and her team understood how to use opposition research in the service of a larger goal: not simply to embarrass Gore with hard-to-explain votes or awkward statements but to craft over the course of the campaign a negative "storyline" about him that would eventually take hold in the public mind. "A campaign is a lot like a trial," Comstock explained. "You want people aggressively arguing their case."
Maligning an opponent, even with his own words and deeds, is a tricky business; voters take a dim view of "negative" politics, and are liable to punish the campaign carrying out the attacks rather than the intended target.
Digging the Dirt provides a rare glimpse of how political operatives have learned to use the media to get around this problem, by creating a journalistic black market for damaging stories. During the first debate between Gore and Bush, in October of 2000, the BBC crew stationed itself inside the RNC's war room, filming researchers as they operated with the manic intensity of day traders, combing through every one of Gore's statements for possible misstatements or exaggerations. The researchers discovered two (Gore erroneously claimed never to have questioned Bush's experience, and to have accompanied a federal official to the site of a Texas disaster), and immediately Tim Griffin tipped off the Associated Press. Soon the filmmakers would catch the team exulting as the AP took the story.